WHEAT:NEWS TV Nov 2015 - Vol 2, No. 8
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Creating a Duopoly News Operation. IP Required.
For the past few years, I’ve been working with a number of broadcasters in smaller markets who are combining news resources. Instead of having separate news operations for the ABC affiliate and the NBC affiliate, for example, they are combining the two into one news operation.
By combining all resources into one newsroom and creating a common pool of reporters in one broadcast center, stations have more reporting resources than they’d have separately, and at a significantly reduced operational cost. More important, the arrangement maintains the distinct style and voice of each.
It makes sense, particularly in smaller markets. But as a system integrator, I can tell you that it doesn’t get much more challenging than separately branded newscasts sharing the same studios—especially when it comes to the handling of audio.
IP Audio for Fast IFB, Studio Changeover
From a video perspective, it’s easy to overlook audio. But what’s often forgotten is the mix-minuses, and routing the correct IFB and mix-minus to the right talent. It doesn’t help that newscasts typically operate on a very tight news schedule. Turnaround time between, say, an ABC and a CBS branded newscast can be less than a minute and a half. That’s not much time to change out the anchors, the set, the graphics, everything…right down to the flag on the field microphone.
To handle the different audio mixing requirements of each newscast, I often recommend Wheatstone E-6 consoles and WheatNet-IP audio infrastructure. The E-6 is an IP console and the most-often used features are easily accessible from the surface, which has significantly reduced on-air mistakes. Yet, as part of a networked system, the console can access any source in the network, route presets to or from anywhere, and bring up another studio’s program bus – all of which make it perfect for dynamic studio environments like this.
The light bulb in my head went off when I saw that it made all the IFBs, all the mic sharing and all the studio swapping simple. I realized I could significantly reduce integration cost and improve simplicity for the operator. With this system, it is a press of a button to completely reconfigure a control room, GPI’s and On-Air lights, and more importantly, to reconfigure mix-minus to talent in the studio or IFBs to talent in the field.
Utility Mixers at Each IP Connection Simplify Mix-Minus
Unique to WheatNet-IP is that it combines integrated control with audio tools such as utility mixers at every BLADE in the network for any number of uses. For example, any WheatNet-IP BLADE contains I/O that allows access to any other I/O, mix engine, or PC based network audio driver. Utility mixers simplify the need for making specialty mix-minuses without tying up aux busses or risking operator error.
Routing, mixing, channel assignments and other parameters can easily be recalled by an operator at the press of a button. This means that the studios could easily manage multiple successive newscasts with live remotes, for example, each with their own separate audio so that each talent in succession would get the correct throw from the studio. Traditionally, I’d have to bring in a big IFB router to do the job or create complex patching. But with WheatNet-IP, it’s all taken care of with one or two button pushes from the console.
Most important is that the newscasts are able to preserve their unique voice, while saving significantly on operational and capital costs.
Kim Komando Goes IP Audio
Oh, the irony.
Kim Komando’s talk show about gadgets and computer technology was turned down by two broadcast networks in 1994 because they said computers and the Internet were a passing fad.
Of course we now know that IP is here to stay. And the irony? The Kim Komando Show, produced by WestStar, is now viewed on her television network streamed over the Internet, and it’s being distributed to 450 radio stations from a new studio facility that is – you guessed it – IP based.
The show started recording out of the high-tech facility in Phoenix last month.
Just about everything and anything audio related is hanging off of, routed through, or controlled by the WheatNet-IP audio network, including consoles, sub-mixes of audio, salvos to stop and start automation and satellite cues, even mic processing and IFB.
Each major studio is localized on its own edge Ethernet switch and has a WheatNet-IP BLADE-3 I/O, our IP access unit with audio tools such as processing and two stereo 8x2 utility mixers inside. That switch is in turn connected to a core Ethernet switch located in operations control.
Our Dee McVicker snapped these shots the day before the new studios went live.
Andy Calvanese Discusses WheatNet-IP for Television
Wheatstone's VP/Technology, Andy Calvanese, discusses some of the advantages of the seamless, built-in control layer of the WheatNet-IP audio-over-IP network when used in television applications.
- CBC (Rankin Inlet, NU) purchased an I/O BLADE for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.
- Mathrubhumi Publishing (Dubai, UAE) purchased three LX-24 control surfaces and WheatNet-IP audio network for Horizon Broadcast LLP.
- Advanced Broadcast Solutions (Los Angeles, CA) purchased an I/O BLADE to add to USC Annenberg School of Journalism's existing WheatNet-IP audio network.
- KTLA-TV (Los Angeles, CA) purchased a D-32 TV audio console and six SR-8 studio remote access units to add to an existing Gibraltar audio network.
- WDAV-FM (Davidson, NC) purchased an LX-24 control surface for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.
- iHeartMedia’s WWBB-FM (Providence, RI) purchased an IP-12 digital audio console, TS-4 talent station, and WheatNet-IP audio network I/O BLADEs.
- WGBH-FM (Boston, MA) purchased an LX-24 control surface and L-8 control surface and WheatNet-IP audio network for its station on Cape Cod.
- KRXI-TV (Reno, NV) purchased a Glass-E virtual mixer interface for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.
- Innovative Technologies, Inc. (Washington, D.C.) purchased two Series Four audio consoles for a project at the Pentagon.
- VOA (Washington, DC) purchased a BLADE through CEI to expand an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.
- Great Eastern Radio (West Lebanon, NH) purchased a Network EDGE for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.
- On Air System of Mexico purchased six E-1 control surfaces and WheatNet-IP audio network BLADEs.
- Agile Broadcast (Australia) purchased two E-1 control surfaces.
- Russia Today purchased an LX-24 and WheatNet-IP audio network BLADEs.
- KRDR-FM (Red River, NM) purchased an R-55e console.
- KMOM-FM/KABD-FM (Roscoe, SD) purchased an Air-1 console.
Wheatstone Audio Processing
- Leighton (St. Cloud, MN) purchased an M4-IP four-channel mic processor and two drivers for an existing WheatNet-IP audio network.
- Clyde Broadcast Products (Nairobi, Kenya) purchased an M4-IP four-channel mic processor and FM-55 audio processor.
- Radikal Elektronic Ltd (Istanbul, Turkey) purchased an additional M2 dual channel mic processor for Power Group’s existing L-12 console and WheatNet-IP audio network.
- Beasley Broadcast (Boca Raton, FL) purchased a VP-8IP multimode audio processor.
- Great Eastern Radio (West Lebanon, NH) purchased an FM-55 audio processor and M1 mic processor.
- Oakwood (Toronto, ON) purchased two Air-5 consoles and a VP-8IP multimode audio processor.
- KABC-AM/KLOS-FM (Los Angeles, CA) purchased a VoxPro system 5.
- Beasley Broadcast’s WNCT-FM (Greenville, NC) purchased a VoxPro system 5.
- KHKX-FM (Odessa, TX) purchased a VoxPro system 5.
- Entercom (San Diego, CA) purchased eight VoxPro system 5 upgrades.
Your IP Question Answered
A: These are audio tools and resources that are part of our I/O units called BLADEs, which are located at IP connection points throughout the WheatNet-IP audio network. For example, our BLADE-3s include multiband processing and two 8x2 stereo utility mixers. Having these tools at connection points means that they’re available and routable for any number of purposes, such as mix-minus and IFB creation, 5.1 processing, salvo and macro creation, and so forth. We also have separate HD-SDI de-embedder, MADI and mic preamp BLADEs.