WDDH: The Big Dog Gets a Facelift

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Finishing touches

When all the equipment changes were finally in place, minor updates were made to each studio to improve the atmosphere. The rooms were outfitted with new carpeting, both on the floor and the walls, and new lighting.

One of the custom gold-plated microphones

One of the custom gold-plated microphones

There was one more touch the owner wanted. Heindl had decided that the microphones in his control rooms would look better with a gold finish. I was given the task of contacting Electro-Voice to inquire as to how we could obtain golden microphones, like the ones we have seen in use on a certain syndicated talk show. After speaking to several folks at Electro-Voice - being bounced from person to person, some of them chuckling at me - we decided that a new golden microphone was probably not going to come from Electro-Voice.

The station already used RE-27s, so it was decided that we would try to get them plated on our own. We stripped the RE-27 microphones down to the metal enclosures and sent them to a plating company. For a reasonable price, they came back with a durable 24-karat gold plating that looks stunning.

Network troubles

Several weeks after installation, panic occurred. The station suddenly lost audio, and the building LAN went down.

The furniture maker routed the station logo into the cabinet doors.

The furniture maker routed the station logo into the cabinet doors.

When I got to the station, I noticed that the port on the Ethernet switch that was connected to the Axia network was completely flooded. Unplugging this port restored both the station LAN and the audio. The crisis was solved for now, but administration of the Axia system was now cut off from the building LAN.

When the system was installed, the Livewire network was bridged from the rest of the network and connected at the station Ethernet switch. This kept the Livewire traffic away from the LAN but still allowed administration. The real-time clocks in the Linux-based PowerStation units need to be kept synchronized. This is performed using NNTP from an external time server.

A call to Axia confirmed to me that this is a problem, and that I should configure a separate computer to act as a NNTP server and put two network ports on that machine - one connected to the station LAN and one to the Livewire network. This configuration has proven to be completely trouble-free, and administration of the PowerStation units is available via the NNTP server computer.

-- continued on page 4

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