Behind the Scenes: Relevant Radio Engineers

The Relevant Radio® network has grown leaps and bounds in the past few years and has spread across the entire country. With a larger network to manage, our Engineering team has had no shortage of work to do. From fires to alligators and everything in between, Relevant Radio engineers certainly have some good stories to tell!

Relevant Radio Los Angeles transmitters
Relevant Radio Los Angeles transmitters

Relevant Radio currently operates 106 different studio and tower facilities that broadcast to 101 different AM and FM signals. That includes 207 radio towers! Andy Disterhaft, Senior Director of Engineering and Operations, and his team of engineers across the country do an excellent job at maintaining these many facilities.

They’re the ones who travel from site to site to do maintenance work, equipment updates, security improvements, and even emergency fixes. Their dedication is the reason that Relevant Radio stations are so reliable day after day, year after year. But things happen that even we can’t anticipate.

Hurricanes, tornados, fires, and other disasters have been known to cause the occasional problem for a Relevant Radio transmitter or tower site. Storms and strong winds can cause damage to equipment or loss of power. Early this year, a building housing the transmitters for two Relevant Radio stations in Florida burned to the ground. Our engineers are working to rebuild the stations and bring them back on air.

Relevant Radio transmitter site on flood plain in Minnesota
Relevant Radio transmitter site on flood plain in Minnesota
Cow grazes outside Relevant Radio facility
Cow grazes outside Relevant Radio facility

Facilities are located all across the country, from the wetlands in Florida (our engineers are always on the lookout for alligators) to the plains of Texas and Midwest farmlands where cattle graze the land around the radio towers. Some of the transmitter sites are located in flood plains and are built up on stilts to avoid flooding. Engineer Aaron Cox shared that one site in Missouri is only accessible by a mile-long kayak ride at certain times of the year.

Engineer Aaron Cox paddles to Relevant Radio station facility
Engineer Aaron Cox paddles to Relevant Radio station facility

In addition to the field engineers, network engineers Paul Kessler and Marty Jury specialize in keeping the network on air and deliver our audio feed to stations across the country. They oversee the complex equipment that brings network audio from a Relevant Radio show host’s microphone in the studio to Master Control, the technical hub of the network. The audio then travels to an uplink dish in North Carolina, up 20,000 miles to a communication satellite, back down and across the country to your radio. And the over 40,000 mile journey takes just a few seconds!

The dedicated Relevant Radio engineering team works quietly behind the scenes every day to ensure that you can tune in to your favorite Relevant Radio programs anytime, anywhere. What a gift!

Transmitter site during flood season
Relevant Radio transmitter site during flood season
Relevant Radio transmitter site and towers in Wisconsin
Relevant Radio transmitter site and towers in Wisconsin

 

Photos courtesy of Relevant Radio engineers Andy Disterhaft and Aaron Cox.

Lindsey Kettner serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a wife, mother, and graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she studied journalism and advertising. She writes daily at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.