Vol 8, No.3
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Radio. The Loud One.
This is a tale of two media, one a distinguished newspaper for more than 200 years and the other rather loud.
Nordjyske Medier newspaper has occupied the Danish territory of Nordjyske since 1781, making it a few years older than the United States Constitution. The media company’s radio group hasn’t been around quite as long -- a mere 30 years.
And yet, they both share one large media house in Aalborg, Denmark, thanks to ample soundproofing that separates the noisy business of radio from the quiet business of newspapers. Floating floors isolate Radio Nordjyske and its Top 40 station upstairs from the printing business downstairs, but – and here’s where the story gets interesting – the two are very much connected in their day-to-day operation.
We are told that our WheatNet-IP audio network with E-6, E-1 and SideBoard control surfaces have something to do with that.
“We pull from resources in the whole organization,” says Henrik Poulsen, the CTO of Nordjyske Medier’s radio operation, which also has a television station in Denmark. “In the old days, it would mean a lot of cables, but with one BLADE and one Ethernet cable we are up and running before you can get heat on the soldering iron.”
Nordjyske Medier’s two radio formats, its predominantly talk format Radio Nordjyske and Top 40 ANR, feed 37 transmitter sites covering the territory of Nordjyske. BLADEs, or I/O units, make up the WheatNet-IP audio network distributed throughout the facility for quick studio changes twice a day and up to eight commercial splits at one time, which are managed using the utility mixers built into the I/O BLADEs. Each I/O BLADE in the network comes standard with two stereo 8x2 utility mixers and are used for splitting and summing the right commercial feeds to the right destinations in the 37-site network. Each BLADE is able to also detect silence, and can be programmed for automatic switchover to a live source. In order to keep 37 transmitters and two radio formats going, the group looked for “distributed networking with solid failover,” according to Henrik, who was told about Wheatstone after talking to Avit Systems in Denmark (now Mediability).
That was six years ago, when the media company rebuilt its entire broadcast suite and installed all-digital studios. It has since slowly, and quietly, built onto the WheatNet-IP audio system.
As soon as he could, Henrik added what he calls “a studio in a box” to handle live, remote shows for Nordjyske Medier’s two radio stations. This is made up of a small E-1 control surface for mixing, an I/O BLADE for routing sources and submixing and a Tieline Merlin codec (with built-in WheatNet-IP audio networking) for signal transport to the studio. Everything runs seamless on IP; no soundcards needed. He occasionally joins in on a Glass E virtual mixer app from his home computer to manage any issues remotely.
Meanwhile, at the studios, Henrik custom designed a touchscreen interface using our ScreenBuilder app for easily switching between the ANR studios and the Radio Nordjyske studios. The ScreenBuilder app has faders, meters, labels, buttons, clocks, timers and other widgets that are arranged on a PC screen and are defined and linked to elements in the network. “We bought the software and started designing the screen for the task of switching studios. One thing led to another, and today we’re not only switching studios, we’re also doing a ‘hotspare’ in the RCS Zetta system. We route mix-minus to our SML logging system for podcast and trigger the on-air signs,” says Henrik. (Hotspare is a function in the Zetta autiomation system that allows you to switch from one computer to another while on-air.) “We have dedicated PCs for each studio, and the Hotspare function moves the audio from one playout Zetta to another,” he adds.
Visual monitoring of all the audio sources running from the studios to the 37 transmitters is done using our IP Meters software for capturing peak and average levels in one screen.
Recently, the media company decided to expand the IP audio network even further in lieu of building home studios for voice-tracking talent. “Our approach is to have a simple solution at home using a browser and a microphone (with USB). From the RCS Zetta, the voice track is coming through our WheatNet as a single source, and we route that through the Aura8-IP, combining the voice track and the rest of the audio coming from Zetta on a (BLADE) utility mixer,” explains Henrik.
The WheatNet-IP audio network story continues at Nordjyske Medier.
What’s a Few Miles Between Studios?
“Turns out, there’s a BLADE for that,” says Bob Davis, the Director of Engineering for Bahakel Communications headquartered in Charlotte, NC. The group linked up three of its six TV stations over IP for live, daily production and recently connected in three FM stations 90 miles away using the EDGE network unit.
Bahakel Communications relies on our Dimension Three IP audio TV console with WheatNet-IP audio network located in Charlotte to handle the mixing, mic control and IFB for all three TV stations, two of which are located in Columbia and Myrtle Beach about 150 miles away. Recently, the group expanded on the WheatNet-IP audio network to transport audio over an eight-channel IP link from it three Columbia radio stations to its master control in Charlotte for EAS compliance. “We simply took the analog audio out of the TFT FM receiver and that goes directly into the Wheatstone EDGE BLADE. The audio goes over Ethernet to Charlotte feeding into a Wheatstone Aura8-IP BLADE for processing and then into the EAS generator,” explains Bob.
The EDGE network unit provides the necessary delay as a buffer to any latency shifts that come across the link and acts as an interface between the WheatNet-IP audio network and the EAS receivers.
Most important: “It doesn’t matter that it’s 90 miles away. It just works."
PR&E. Back in the Game.
If you had a chance to buy your favorite baseball or football team, would you?
Heck yeah, right?
When Wheatstone acquired PR&E last month, we experienced our own version of what it must be like to own the Patriots or Cubs or Name Your Favorite Sports Team Here. We’ve been PR&E fans for a long, long time. Many of us at Wheatstone watched PR&E from the sidelines as younger versions of ourselves, and we know personally what has gone into the PR&E name.
This is the studio equipment manufacturer that practically invented audio routing -- not IP routing per se, but certainly this idea of moving audio and logic and mix-minus around in a studio.
We’re PR&E fans to the core, but we wondered during the long, drawn-out acquisition process if we might be the only ones. Then, we announced the acquisition on a late Friday afternoon in February, and immediately we started hearing from other fans. Here are a couple of comments we discovered on Facebook just hours after the announcement.
“I’d love to see them return PR&E to what it was with the BMX line … but add AoIP to it.”
Dan Slentz, Radio Consultant, Miami Beach, FL
“Another fan of PR&E here.”
Jeff Tyler, Producing Engineer Tom Joyner Morning Show/Doug Banks Show and on-air talent, ABC Radio Network, Dallas, TX
Later, Jeff told us this: “The entire network facility on Montfort Drive in Dallas was built using 100% PR&E consoles 22 years ago …Those consoles were designed and built like tanks and had a two decade record of 24 hour a day use with a shockingly low failure rate.”
“I’m glad the brand has a good caretaker. Wheatstone still will help on Auditronics stuff (a previous Wheaty purchase). They are a good bunch.”
Patrick Roberts, Chief Engineer, KGOU-FM/University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK
The video interview up top with PR&E's Richard Maddox shows that even the guys who build the consoles day in and day out are fans. And it's fun to watch Richard's reaction to the first time he explored the Wheatstone factory (quite recently).
Building the Bridge
By Richard Lawn - Reprinted from Pro Audio Asia, March –April 2017
Albert Einstein’s evergreen comment that ‘curiosity has its own reason for existing’ was tailor-made for the audio pioneers of the 60s and 70s. Today, we live in a more disposable era within the Internet of Things, but the inventors of yesteryear forged their careers and their businesses by dismantling or even destroying equipment in the pursuit of seeing what made them tick. Balancing a passion for music with his technological inquisitiveness allowed Gary Snow in his late teens to earn a crust repairing guitar amplifiers. Having founded what was to become Wheatstone in the early 70s, his dynamism, attention to detail and enthusiasm have formed the solid and successful basis of this privately owned broadcast manufacturer.
Wheat @ NAB2017
We have a few surprises coming up this NAB show. We even expanded our booth size to fit it all in! Don’t miss it, booth #N6531.
Be sure to catch Steve Dove’s presentation Why 0.01% Distortion Sometimes Matters and 30% Often Doesn't on Sunday, April 23, at 1:30 pm in room N256
On Tuesday, April 25, at 2:30 pm, learn about Extending the IP Audio Network Across a WAN, by Wheatstone R&D Engineer Dave Breithaupt, in room N258.
Stay up to date - we'll be refreshing the linked page as we get closer to NAB 2017. Click here!
Come as our guest! Use the above passcode when registering for free admission to the exhibits.
Your IP Question Answered
Q: How does your WheatNet-IP audio network handle IFB?
A: If you have an existing IFB intercom system, you can interface it directly into the WheatNet-IP audio network using our MADI unit. Or, you can use the WheatNet-IP audio network as your IFB backbone. We have utility mixers built into the system’s I/O units, known as BLADEs, so you can create mix-minus anywhere in the network. Either way, IFB can be preset, controlled and triggered from any IP console in the WheatNet-IP audio network.
Soundfusion (Johannesburg, South Africa) purchased two IP-12 digital audio consoles.
Entercom (Seattle, WA) purchased 12 LX-24 control surfaces with WheatNet-IP audio network I/O BLADEs.
Rogers Broadcasting (Winnipeg, MB) updated to NAVIGATOR 3 through Ron Paley Broadcast.
Bell Media (Sherbrooke, QC) purchased an LX-24 control surface, M4IP-USB four channel mic processor and additional I/O BLADEs for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network through Marketing Marc Vallee.
Leighton Broadcasting (Grand Forks, ND) purchased four TS-4 talent stations and a SideBoard control surface for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.
Radio DNA (Minneapolis, MN) purchased a TS-4 talent station and I/O BLADE.
CBC Radio (Windsor, ON) purchased an I/O MADI BLADE for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network through Marketing Marc Vallee.
Leighton Broadcasting (St. Cloud, MN) purchased a WDM audio driver, I/O BLADE and VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor.
Seneca College (Markham, ON) purchased NAVIGATOR 3 software and a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor through Ron Paley Broadcast.
Bell Montreal (Montreal, QC) purchased an E-6 control surface, two M4IP-USB four channel mic processors and additional I/O BLADEs for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network through Marketing Marc Vallee.
RCN (Colombia) purchased an IP-12 digital audio console.
Boston Community Access & Programming (Massachusetts) purchased an IP-12 digital audio console.
CBS (Philadelphia, PA) purchased three SideBoard control surfaces and I/O BLADEs.
Bauder Media (Norway) purchased an LXE control surface and I/O BLADEs.
Townsquare Media (El Paso, TX) purchased ten WheatNet-IP audio network I/O BLADEs to be used with an RCS Zetta automation system.
iHeartMedia (Boston, MA) purchased three LX-24 control surfaces, three E-1 control surfaces, three L-8 control surfaces and WheatNet-IP audio network I/O BLADEs.
WGGB-TV (Springfield, MA) purchased an SDI card for expansion onto an existing Wheatstone network
Cox Media (Athens, GA) purchased four IP-12 digital audio consoles and four IP-16 digital audio consoles with WheatNet-IP audio I/O BLADEs.
C-Span (Washington, DC) purchased an L-8 control surface with WheatNet-IP I/O BLADEs.
Audio Solution (Taipei, Taiwan) purchased an Air-1 audio console.
Marandee Broadcast Engineering (Los Angeles, CA) purchased an R-55e audio console.
Georgia-Carolina Radiocasting (Toccoa, GA) purchased an Air-4 audio console.
KKIN-FM (Aitkin, MN) purchased an Air-4 audio console.
WFLM-FM (White City, FL) purchased an Air-1 audio console.
Booker T Washington Community Center (San Francisco, CA) purchased an R-55e audio console.
Wheatstone Audio Processing
Acadia Broadcasting (Moncton, NB) purchased an M4IP-USB four channel mic processor BLADE for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network through Ron Paley Broadcast.
WYYC-FM (York, PA) purchased an FM-55 audio processor.
CKBW-FM (Bridgewater, NS) purchased an FM-55 audio processor through Ron Paley Broadcast.
Oakwood Broadcast (Mississauga, ON) purchased an M2 dual channel mic processor.
Durham Radio (Oshawa, ON) purchased an Aura8-IP multi-mode processor and AM-55 audio processor through Ron Paly Broadcast.
Service Broadcasting’s KKDA-FM (Dallas, TX) upgraded five VoxPros and added a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor.
WNDV-FM (South Bend, IN) purchased a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor.
Summit Media (Birmingham, AL) purchased a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor.
CBS’ WNCX-FM (Cleveland, OH) purchased a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor.
KTSU-FM (Houston, TX) purchased a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor.
Entravision (Denver, CO) purchased a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor.
KGBY-FM (Sacramento, CA) purchased a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor.
SiriusXM (New York, NY) purchased a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor.
Bell Media (Victoria, BC) purchased three VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editors through Oakwood Broadcast.
iHeartMedia (New York, NY) purchased a VoxPro6 digital audio recorder/editor.