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November 2012 l 33

Dalet workstations installed in VRT’s Radio 2

showing the presenter scratching himself between records. Camera installations in studios are increasingly sophisticated, based on video switchers connected to the audio outputs of microphones so the shots follow who is speaking. BCD Audio was one of the first companies to address this new area and now produces two systems: the Webcast 4, with four PAL or SDI inputs, and the Webcast6 (six PAL or SDI inputs). BCD director Mike Law says the PAL versions can use low-cost camcorders in situations where the cost of SDI is prohibitive. “Both use audio voice trigger inputs from the mixing desk, taken from the aux busses. It intelligently selects the correct camera, depending on the audio trigger levels, and the time it has been on a camera already.” The BCD system has been installed in studios at Radio 5 live’s new centre in Salford but the new Radio 1 studio area at Broadcasting House in London features an installation based on Blackmagic Design hardware. The company’s ATEM 2 M/E production switcher was installed by CVP in one studio for the Official Chart Show online. This controls six robotic cameras and two DVD players for music videos, as well as graphics, and is similarly triggered from the mic outputs. Ian Betson, managing director of

installation company AV Resilience, says visualisation is a weapon radio is using to fight back against TV and YouTube. Betson is currently appraising the Dutch VidiGo Visual Radio system, which has


Belgium’s Flemish language public broadcaster VRT is replacing the production systems for the main broadcast centre of pop and general interest network Radio 2 and its five regional stations. This involves installing over 200 Dalet workstations and 33 Dalet On-air systems, running on the Dalet Radio Suite. The system will work with a

centralised media asset management (MAM) program to control all programmes and information associated with them. Material can be encoded for a variety of platforms, including DAB, DRM and HD Radio, as well as repackaged for podcasts and distribution online and to mobile devices. “This upgrade will advance our radio

operations into the next generation,” comments VRT project leader Bart Lamberigts. “Dalet Radio Suite gives us the flexibility in terms of infrastructure, metadata and workflow management along with the level of reliability and redundancy we require. For instance, our regional sites will

to reflect changes in the way people listen and use radio today. “Stations don’t have listeners any more,”

states Dan McQuillin, managing director of Broadcast Bionics. “The stations want as much interactivity as possible and that means through Facebook, Twitter, emails

“Stations don’t have listeners any more. The stations want as much interactivity as possible and that means through Facebook, Twitter, emails and text as well as the phone” Dan McQuillin, Broadcast Bionics

been installed at Radios 1 and 2 in the Netherlands and was shown in a new version at IBC 2012.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND INTERACTIVITY Radio has always had an interactive element, first through listeners writing letters to DJs and then through the telephone, making the phone-in show and listener participation quizzes a staple on the airwaves during the 1970s and ’80s. This made the telephone hybrid ubiquitous in radio studios, providing the link between the phone system and the broadcast world. The next move on from the hybrid was the call handling system. This allows the production team to log who is on the line and what they want to talk about, all of which is available to the presenter on a screen in the studio. Broadcast Bionics’ PhoneBOX is widely used for this and has now been upgraded

and text as well as the phone.” McQuillin calls the stage for this new form of communication “the social studio” and it forms the basis of PhoneBOX v4. This displays messages coming into the station and can be sent to anywhere in the building and divided into different categories, or channels. These include Tweets or FB posts about the programme, the music and artist being played and news or entertainment information. “The audience is ahead of broadcasters in social media and they want this,” McQuillin comments. “They can communicate with the radio station and the programme is able to see who is getting in touch, so they can contact them in the future if there’s something coming up they might be interested in.” McQuillin says this makes for

“bidirectional bandwidth” between the audience, who are now doing more than just passively listening to the radio, and

connect to Brussels for production but Dalet cache servers in each region will ensure that playout is immune to any

network problem that might occur.” The system is due to be fully implemented by early next year.


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