An audience of millions

Pin a world map to your wall, put on a blindfold, and throw a dart at the map. Grab a shortwave radio and take a plane to wherever the dart landed. Switch on the radio and start twiddling with the tuner. Chances are, you’ll pick up China Radio International (CRI).

CRI, a state-owned radio network of the People’s Republic of China, embodies the "think big" approach. Every day, its 50+ shortwave transmitters pump out 290 hours of programming worldwide — in 42 languages, no less. Those transmitters target just about every corner of the globe, from Tirana, Albania to Houston, Texas.

Broadcasting all that content takes some serious back-end equipment. This week, NTP Technology A/S, a Danish manufacturer of high-end broadcast products, announced that CRI is expanding its broadcast center with NTP 625 audio routers, controlled by the QNX Neutrino RTOS. Not surprisingly, these routers are equipped for 24/7 operation, with full monitoring capabilities, hot-swapping for all modules, and redundant power supplies.

A view inside the CRI broadcast center. An NTP 625 audio router is in Bay 1, at the upper left.

I did some digging, and it turns out that QNX-based systems control hundreds of other radio and TV stations in the United States, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, the UK, and other countries in Europe and Asia. Vendors offering QNX-based broadcast automation systems include Aveco, Harris , IBIS Transmission Automation, Thomson Grass Valley, and, of course, NTP Technology.

I now realize that hundreds of millions of people worldwide watch TV broadcasts controlled by QNX. On the one hand, that’s pretty cool. On the other hand, shouldn’t those millions of people get off their bums, walk out the door, and, well, do something?

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