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 NEW YORK, April 8 /PRNewswire/ -- When Cincinnati Reds right-hander Jose Rijo threw the first pitch of the 1992 baseball season at Riverfront Stadium, all that's new wasn't on the field.
 CBS Radio opened its 17th season of doing the Game of the Week by delivering its broadcasts using new advanced digital technology. The result: a crisper crack of the bat for an estimated 7.5 million listeners and a telecommunications cost savings for CBS that would bring a smile to the face of every general manager in the major leagues.
 CBS put the traditional satellite and long distance voice circuits on waivers and called up the full-duplex, digital capability of MCI Communications Corporation's Switched 56 service to backhaul its broadcasts from major league parks across the country to CBS facilities in New York. CBS has installed equipment that digitizes and compresses the announcer's voice before it is transmitted across MCI's advanced digital network at the price of a regular voice call.
 Gone are the satellite trucks that used to be parked next to the stadium, the numerous technicians, and the cost and complexity that was associated with as many as four satellite and long distance backhaul feeds between New York and the broadcast site at around $2,500 per feed.
 Also gone is the noise and interference that was often associated with these feeds.
 Higher Quality & Lower Costs
 "Backhauling is tremendously expensive for us and all networks," commented Tony Masiello, vice president of technical operations for CBS Radio. "Now we'll offer our 175 plus stations and listeners a higher quality product and be saving about 70 percent of last year's cost."
 CBS, he said, is benefiting from the quality of MCI's all-digital network, as well as the capabilities and rate structure of Vnet, the telecommunications firm's virtual private network service used by CBS. MCI's pricing, Masiello noted, is less than one-tenth of what was previously paid for satellite costs for backhauling.
 According to Don Heath, MCI vice president of data marketing, "MCI Switched 56 technology has grown rapidly in the last few years because users can send high speed data at voice call rates without incurring a surcharge for data transmission. The CBS application for broadcasting sports and news events is one of many new applications for MCI Switched 56 service," said Heath. "The high quality and affordability of MCI Switched 56 has also made it a popular transmission choice for videoconferencing users."
 Unlike dedicated circuits, Heath explained, MCI clients such as CBS pay only for the duration of the call. Users connect and disconnect the call as easy as any long distance caller.
 The Case - The Key
 The key to CBS Radio's ability to access MCI's Switched 56 service at major league baseball stadiums is the network's design of a compact, portable Switched 56 traveling case. The case is six inches deep and only slightly larger than a briefcase. It includes a modem, codex, a digital service call-up unit (DSCU), the power supply and power cord.
 Simply stated, the equipment converts CBS's analog voice signal to digital information for transmission from stadiums via MCI to its New York studios. There the broadcast is mixed, commercials added, and digitally uplinked to a satellite for transmission to all network and affiliate stations. The stations convert the digital signal back to analog for broadcast to listeners. Because the equipment is full duplex, the Switched 56 also carries two-way communications between New York and the broadcast site.
 CBS produced six of the traveling cases that have already been successfully used at the NCAA Basketball Tournament, the Masters Golf Tournament, and on-site at news stories such as the New Hampshire primary and the trial of Los Angeles policemen in Ventura County, Calif. CBS also used MCI Switched 56 service for the Super Bowl.
 Masiello, who directed the design of the traveling case, explained that with MCI's installation of MCI Switched 56 circuits at each major league park, backhauling is a much simplified process.
 Plug In & Go
 "We didn't get caught up in the Mr. Wizard aspects of the technology," Masiello said. "We simply took advantage of the technology and cost savings that MCI offered us -- and made the system fit what we needed to do."
 This season CBS will send the case a couple of days in advance of the game to a local technician at the site of the broadcast. The technician will install the case in the broadcasting booth by plugging into the AC and powering up the counsel. After input and output are plugged in, the technician simply dials a MCI Switched 56 circuit in New York through the local phone company.
 According to Andy Vallon, manager of technical services for CBS Radio Network, "MCI Switched 56 has worked so well for the network that it has been installed in all the CBS-owned and operated stations, as well as in the London and Tokyo bureaus." In addition, Vallon says CBS has plans to use MCI's new Switched 56 service to Canada when it broadcasts home games of the Toronto Blue Jays and Montreal Expos.
 KMOX Using Technology
 One CBS station has enthusiastically adapted MCI Switch 56 for its baseball use.
 KMOX in St. Louis will use MCI Switched 56 to broadcast 42 St. Louis Cardinal road games in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh.
 "We're using Switched 56 for 50 percent of our Cardinal broadcast road schedule this season, and by next year we hope to do all 81 away games on the system," said Paul Grundhauser, manager of technical operations at the station.
 Because of the high quality and low cost, KMOX is attempting to get Switched 56 included in the National League's reciprocal agreement so it will be available in all ballparks, Grundhauser said.
 KMOX uses the same equipment as CBS but packages it differently. The station will use Switched 56 twice on each broadcast. First, the program will be backhauled from the visiting city to St. Louis. After mixing, it will be sent by Switched 56 to KMOX's uplink facility in Jefferson City and on to the 123 stations that make up the Cardinal Radio Network in 11 states.
 -0- 4/8/92
 /CONTACT: Frank J. Walter of MCI Eastern Division, 212-326-4321, or Corporate News Bureau, 800-289-0073/ CO: MCI Telecommunications Corporation ST: New York IN: TLS SU:

AH-OS -- NY060 -- 6280 04/08/92 13:01 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 8, 1992

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