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Alpha Broadcasting's New Downtown Digs
While dual glass panes provide very good noise rejection, they also present a new problem: Keeping the inside surface clean and clear. To keep the views unobstructed, an access panel was included in the window design. The hatch can be removed and resealed as needed for cleaning.
And while attention was given to outside windows, Hadfield was also considering windows between studios -- or actually a lack of them.
The studios in the facility are arranged around the exterior of the floor in clusters rather than all being lined up in one section. The separation allows each station to retain its unique identity. Each station has at least a control room and voice tracking booth, and sometimes a talk studio. Rather than install windows between each one, Hadfield wanted to eliminate the potential noise leakage of a large window and use virtual windows: A large-screen monitor and a camera between studios.
Hadfield was very close to installing the system, but changed his mind while driving on the freeway. A small rock hit his windshield, and while there was no damage, the familiar smack reminded him that when a window fails, it fails open. When a camera or monitor fails, it fails closed. The air staff needs to be able to see room-to-room at all times, and he didn't want to add a layer of complexity and maintenance by needing to service a video monitor in the middle of the night.
In his research he also noticed that digital closed camera systems have a slight video latency. This delay would likely cause some confusion between the talent and the editors/directors.
Redundancy was a key design factor for the facility. The router nature of the Axia system, like all router-based systems, provides an immediate layer of redundancy. The STLs also have redundant links in place. But Hadfield wanted redundancy on power as well, and not just having a generator on standby. His power redundancy scheme starts with all racks and studios having a dual ac power feed. The main feed comes through 180kW diesel generator transfer switch. The secondary feed comes in directly from the power company. This provides emergency power when the power company has a problem, but it also provides an easy way to keep things powered if the generator's transfer switch needs to be taken offline.
-- continued on page 3
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