Photo: Mark Thompson during the show

When KLOS's Mark Thompson and Brian Phelps from the 'Mark and Brian Show' in Los Angeles decided to retire, ending 25 years at the top of the market ratings, Mark realized a new opportunity was now available for himself. He would continue his passion for talking to and building a growing, yet already sizable and loyal listening audience. In this new endeavor he could continue listening to opinion and discussing topical views much as he did from the KLOS success that he was leaving. He recruited his entire family as host participants with his wife Lynda as his co-host for a daily family issues podcast presentation.

Norm Avery, Director of Engineering for Cumulus Media - Los Angeles at KABC & KLOS, who provided technical design & consulting services for this projec, told us: "Mark's studio near Charlotte North Carolina was set up to provide a connection with his co-Host Brian in KLOS's Los Angeles facility. From this home studio he had control of a number of mixing and switching functions and effects located remotely in LA. When the decision was made to convert the home studio into a full functioned recording and distribution center a plethora of new hardware and services needed to be obtained. One of the first questions Mark had and his largest concern was: how will I be able to take phone calls from my listeners? Before formulating an answer to that question and while trying to provide satisfying answers to questions that immediately followed such as: how many callers can be on at the same time? Will the callers be able to hear each other? Are you sure can I see the screeners comments? Can I put the callers on-air myself? and Do we need to buy a PBX now? I had already determined that AVT's MAGIC Telephone Hybrid line of products included a model suitably sized and priced for his application.

Calming fears and reassuring there would be no necessity, expense or complexity needed to install a PBX and phone instruments and deliver a solution for each of the other strategic needs he requested, I suggested we use AVT's MAGIC TH6 Telephone Hybrid System. The MAGIC TH6 accommodates six caller lines that can be optioned from POTS, ISDN or VOIP and was the perfect size for his use."

With any of the phone service configurations you choose to use with the TH6 none will require that you use a PBX or expensive proprietary and specially configured telephone extensions. All of the telephones interconnect for answering, screening and processing a call - be it on air, on hold, gathering caller data or forwarding to another line - can be easily accomplished with nothing more than a few simple connections to your mixing console or mixer router engine if desired. If you want a private handset or operator's type headset the TH6 has jacks already there for you to plug into. Additionally your call screener is able answer and screen callers through the call screening computer. With the 'Pre-Talk' streaming option no audio wiring is needed at the call screening location.




The single rack space system arrives with individual hybrids, digital echo cancellers, AGC and expander audio stages on every caller line. This processing produces superb and consistent audio even when all lines are conferenced together and every caller can hear the in-studio hosts and all other callers with great clarity.

There is a software defined mixing and switching matrix that allows the system to service two independent studios simultaneously. Each studio can be assigned two faders and with a separate caller screening audio channel for each program. Or if you want each caller line can be assigned its own audio output into your console. The TH6 provides plenty of audio interface with 4 digital and 2 analog I/O's in addition to 2 wired handset/headset connections. Optionally, up to 4 pretalk streaming clients can be used without additional audio cabling.


Norm Avery adds: "While we did not use the Magic TH6 as a true two studio system we made use of second studio connections to allow us to configure these I/O's so that the identity of selected caller voices could be disguised by altering them with an external effects generator. The system can be configured to auto-answer calls and move callers to hold to hear the main program, an external hold signal or a pre-recorded message stored in the system. Also standard are GPI/GPO connections."

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The TH6 arrives with a fully featured call screening software package. Ideal for use with a touch screen the display is clear and bold for the presenter to easily select a caller on-air and then return to hold or drop. There is no need to go to another vendor for screening software that does the job you need accomplished. As many as 4 workplaces can be optioned for on-air and screening control. Other available software options include a 'game show' DTMF analyzer that can determine which caller has responded first with the correct a DTMF button push. The optioned VOIP system can further be upgraded to include 'HD Voice' that allows 7 kHz bandwidth to be received and transmitted on calls to and from telephones that are HD Voice compatible.

So here the conclusion of Norm Avery: "We have to admit, our expectations in regard to this product were quite high - and still the MAGIC TH6 has exceeded these expectations. We can only recommend the product as well as AVT's fast and competent support before, during and after the installation. If you want quality and sophisticated simplicity, you should go and get some MAGIC."