CBC/Radio-Canada's French Radio Service Upgrades Facilities

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Transition to a fully digital infrastructure enables centralized network operations

The Pro-Bel I/O in the radio equipment room

The Pro-Bel I/O in the radio equipment room

Radio de Radio-Canada's new Lawo/VSM system also supports extensive remote access provisions. "The entire MCR is a virtual setup," Leduc explains. "Via IP protocol, the system can be controlled with ease from any place in the world and, as one would expect, includes an elaborate system of protection and security mechanisms. With full remote access to the system in the event of a crisis, operators have the ability to patch into the network and run everything remotely should the occasion ever arise – making our radio operations more secure than ever."

Actual on-air feeds are handled by Radio de Radio-Canada's Harris 8200 Series automation system. "Interfacing with our Harris system was another crucial aspect of this project," Leduc says. "Here too, the combination Lawo/VSM setup manages production and routing feeds for all content going through the Harris system and includes stop fades or V fades of signals for smooth signal transition. The VSM supports integration for apology and router control, and enables our existing radio consoles to control the router directly."

An eye on the future

The Lawo core in the radio equipment room

The Lawo core in the radio equipment room

CBC/Radio-Canada's French Radio Service is now in the process of expanding the system by 18 more Dallis frames and additional buses. In August, another 14 on-air output busses were added and an additional expansion phase will add roughly another 44 on-air output buses in 2011.

"We are extremely optimistic about the opportunities the new combination Lawo/VSM system provides," Leduc says. "The new Lawo router control system replaces our aging, analog master control room infrastructure, including a massive patchbay that consisted of approximately 11,000 patch points that were being handled manually, with a much more efficient system that offers the ability to grow as our requirements evolve."

The Harris, Dalet, VSM, Avocent systems in the TV equipment room.

The Harris, Dalet, VSM, Avocent systems in the TV equipment room.

"The new system airs all of the programming for Radio-Canada's Première Chaîne, including its top-rated morning show "C'est bien meilleur le matin" ("It's better in the morning") as well as its entire sister Network Espace musique's programming. While there remains much to do, our new equipment is already providing return on investment. Though we are presently in a temporary control room setup as additional renovations are being made, I fully expect the new system to dramatically increase operating efficiencies. I'm really looking forward to December when the bulk of the renovation and construction will be completed and we can settle into our newly upgraded facilities. With the integration of our existing consoles and studios, our new setup provides decentralized access to any signal throughout our complex, and this provides increased functionality and efficiency throughout the entire CBC/Radio-Canada system."

VSM Alarm Status Panel

VSM Alarm Status Panel

VSM XY Panel

VSM XY Panel

VSM Alarm Processing Panel

VSM Alarm Processing Panel

Equipment list

VSM (Virtual Studio Manager) control software: VSM Control GmbH (L-S-B Broadcast Technologies)
Lawo Nova 73 HD router x 2 with Dual Self-Healing Star topology, 3 DSP cards and 19 Dallis I/O cards
Pro-Bel HD series MADI System 3 Controller x 1
Avocent 5010 KVM management system x 6
Studer model 963 analog console x 5
Studer On Air 2000 digital console x 5
Studer On Air 3000 digital console x 5
Harris 8200 Series Automation System with two master servers and three pairs of device automation

Maycock is the owner of Mountaincrest Communications, Downey, CA.

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