The Info List - Simulcast

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SIMULCAST, a portmanteau of SIMULTANEOUS BROADCAST, is the broadcasting of programs or events across more than one medium , or more than one service on the same medium, at exactly the same time. For example, Absolute Radio is simulcast on both AM and on satellite radio , and the BBC 's Prom concerts were formerly simulcast on both BBC Radio 3 and BBC Television . Another application is the transmission of the original-language soundtrack of movies or TV series over local or Internet radio , with the television broadcast having been dubbed into a local language.


* 1 Simulcasting to provide stereo sound for TV broadcasts

* 2 Other uses

* 2.1 Simulcasting of sporting events

* 3 See also * 4 References


Before stereo TV sound transmission was possible, simulcasting on TV and Radio was a method of effectively transmitting "stereo" sound to music TV broadcasts. In the 1970s WPXI in Pittsburgh broadcast a live Boz Scaggs performance which had the audio simultaneously broadcast on two FM radio stations to create a quadrophonic sound, the first of its kind. The first such transmission was in 1975, when the BBC broadcast a recording of Van Morrison 's London Rainbow Concert simultaneously on BBC2 TV and Radio 2 (see _It\'s Too Late to Stop Now _).

Similarly, in the 1980s, before Multichannel Television Sound, or home theater was commonplace in American households, broadcasters would air a high fidelity version of a television program's audio portion over FM stereo simultaneous with the television broadcast. PBS stations were the most likely, especially when airing a live concert. It was also a way of allowing MTV and similar music channels to run stereo sound through the cable-TV network. This method required a stereo FM transmitter modulating MTV's stereo soundtrack through the cable-TV network and customers connecting their FM receiver's antenna input to the cable-TV outlet. Then they would tune the FM receiver to the specified frequency that would be published in documentation supplied by the cable-TV provider.

With the introduction of commercial FM stations in Australia in July 1980, commercial TV channels began simulcasting some music based programs with the new commercial FM stations and continued to do so into the early 1990s. These were initially rock based programs, such as late night music video shows and rock concerts, but later included some major rock musicals such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Blues Brothers when they first aired on TV. During the mid 1980s the final Australian concert of several major rock artists such as Dire Straits were simulcast live on a commercial TV and FM station. The ABC also simulcast some programs on ABC Television and ABC FM , including the final concert of Elton John with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra .

The first ever concert "simulcast" was Frank Zappa 's Halloween shows (October 31, 1981), live from NYC's Palladium and shown on MTV with the audio-only portion simulcast over the FM "Starfleet Radio" network. Engineered by Mark Pinske with the UMRK mobile recording truck. A later, notable application for simulcasting in this context was the Live Aid telethon concert that was broadcast around the world on July 13, 1985. Most destinations where this concert was broadcast had the concert simulcast by at least one TV network and at least one of the local FM stations.

Most stereo-capable video recorders made through the 1980s and early 1990s had a "simulcast" recording mode where they recorded video signals from the built-in TV tuner and audio signals from the VCR's audio line-in connectors. This was to allow one to connect a stereo FM tuner that is tuned to the simulcast frequency to the VCR's audio input in order to record the stereo sound of a TV program that would otherwise be recorded in mono. The function was primarily necessary with stereo VCRs that didn't have a stereo TV tuner or were operated in areas where stereo TV broadcasting wasn't in place. This was typically selected through the user setting the input selector to "Simulcast" or "Radio" mode or, in the case of some JVC units, the user setting another "audio input" switch from "TV" or "Tuner" to "Line".

In the mid to late 1990s, video game developer Nintendo utilized simulcasting to provide enhanced orchestral scoring and voice-acting for the first ever "integrated radio-games" – its Satellaview video games. Whereas digital game data was broadcast to the Satellaview unit to provide the basic game and game sounds, Nintendo's partner, satellite radio company St.GIGA , simultaneously broadcast the musical and vocal portion of the game via radio. These two streams were combined at the Satellaview to provide a unified audiotrack analogous to stereo.


The term "simulcast" (describing simultaneous radio/television broadcast) was coined in 1948 by a press agent at WCAU-TV, Philadelphia. NBC and CBS had begun broadcasting a few programs both to their established nationwide radio audience and to the much smaller—though steadily-growing—television audience. NBC's "Voice of Firestone" was an early example. Toscanini's NBC Symphony performance of 15 March 1952 is perhaps a first instance of radio/TV simulcasting of a concert, predating the much-heralded rock concert simulcasts beginning in the 1980s.

Presently, in the United States, simulcast most often refers to the practice of offering the same programming on an FM and AM station owned by the same entity, in order to cut costs. With the advent of solid state AM transmitters and computers, it has become very easy for AM stations to broadcast a different format without additional cost; therefore, simulcast between FM/AM combinations are rarely heard today outside of rural areas, and in urban areas, where often the talk or all-news radio format of an AM station is simulcast on FM, mainly for the convenience of office buildings in urban cores which easily block AM signals.

During apartheid in South Africa , many foreign programmes on SABC television were dubbed in Afrikaans . The original soundtrack, usually in English , but sometimes in German or Dutch was available on the Radio 2000 service. This could be selected using a button labeled simulcast on many televisions manufactured before 1995.

Radio programs have been simulcast on television since the invention thereof however, as of recent, perhaps the most visible example of radio shows on television is _ The Howard Stern Show _, which currently airs on Sirius Satellite Radio as well as Howard TV . Another prominent radio show that was simulcast on television is _Imus in the Morning _, which until the simulcast ended in 2015, aired throughout the years on MSNBC , RFD-TV and Fox Business Network , in addition to its radio broadcast distributed by Citadel Media . Multiple sports talk radio shows, including _Mike however, he simulcasted only the first three innings of Los Angeles Dodgers games at Dodger Stadium and other National League Western Division parks. As a result of his retirement, no MLB team uses a simulcast now.

The practice is more prevalent in the National Hockey League where 2 teams currently simulcast:

* The Buffalo Sabres with Rick Jeanneret and Denis Potvin * The Dallas Stars with Dave Strader and Daryl Reaugh

Simulcasts via satellite can be a challenge, as there is a significant delay because of the distance - nearly 50,000 miles (80,000 km) round-trip - involved. Anything involving video compression (and to some extent audio data compression ) also has an additional significant delay, which is noticeable when watching local TV stations on direct-broadcast satellites . Even though the process is not instantaneous, this is still considered a simulcast because it is not intentionally stored anywhere.

( Multiplexing —also sometimes called "multicasting"—is something of a reversal of this situation, where multiple program streams are combined into a single broadcast. The two terms are sometimes confused.)

In horse racing , a simulcast is a broadcast of a horse race which allows wagering at two or more sites; the simulcast often involves the transmission of wagering information to a central site, so that all bettors may bet in the same betting pool , as well as the broadcast of the race.