Bonneville Phoenix moves its three-station operation

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The complexity of Bonneville Phoenix operation is apparent with just a short visit to the new facility. It would be next to impossible to operate as it is today had it remained in its downtown space.

Technology is similar across the three suites. Each on-air studio includes Harris custom furniture with a host and producer position; the host has a Stereomixer digital console with RE-27 microphone for on-air/production use, and a technical director is situated behind a Harris PR&E RMX Digital console with 28 input channels.

The RMX Digital is an ideal console for talk and sports programming. The technical directors often simultaneously bring in multiple remote sources. This is especially true for Sports 620, the flagship station for Arizona Diamondbacks baseball, Arizona Cardinals football, Phoenix Suns basketball and Arizona State University sports. The RMX Digital is a powerful, programmable console that offers instantly changeable mix buses so technical directors can juggle multiple remotes from various arenas, restaurants or other remote locations; and create mix scenarios on the fly in challenging situations.

Each workstation in the newsroom is used to produce news clips for KTAR-AM-FM and KPKX-FM.

Each workstation in the newsroom is used to produce news clips for KTAR-AM-FM and KPKX-FM.

Remotes are brought in a number of ways, with 8kHz equalized program loops from around the valley, including talent homes, Metro Traffic, Chase Field, United Airways Arena and a KTAR studio located on the Chase Field Plaza. Four Marti STL receivers are located on two nearby mountains to pick up and backhaul audio to the studios for the news department, sports department and a traffic airplane. The Martis are also regularly utilized for remote broadcasts in conjunction with a Comrex Access, with no send latency and minimal latency on the IFB return.

On-air hosts, producers and news reporters working out of the news wedge studios all rely heavily on Wireready for audio editing and news production. The Wireready system provides integrated text and audio for news and sports reporters. Stereomixer allows hosts and reporters to bring in Wireready sources, produce content and route that content to the RMX Digital for play to air; and subsequently onto the Vistamax networking system for distribution to other studios, if desired.

Operators can divorce the Stereomixer from the RMX Digital via a simple source selector if the host or reporter prefers to go direct to air from their positions. Similarly, the Stereomixer can separate from the RMXdigital for production purposes during breaks or downtime. Stereomixer consoles are also used in two Pro Tools-equipped production studios (a third, production B, uses a Harris Netwave console), the newsroom, a Tivo recording studio and an imaging studio.

Other equipment present in the on-air and production studios include Air Tools 6200 dual-channel microphone processors, a Telos 2101 Desktop Director, Mackie HR824 powered studio monitors, Mackie HRS120 studio subwoofers, Marantz compact flash recorders, and Tascam 1RU professional CD players. Harris World Feed Panels in each studio also provide additional inputs and outputs for TV stations or other external media productions.

The Pro Tools-equipped imaging studio sets the sound for the station, using specialized equipment to enhance the talent's voice during breaking news. The imaging studio is an exact replica of production A and production C, with the exception of a Neumann microphone and a Manley voice processor instead of the usual Electro-Voice/Air Tools system.

Talk wing, news and Web

The lobby provides entry to the news/talk wing on the left and the music wing to the right.

The lobby provides entry to the news/talk wing on the left and the music wing to the right.

The complexity of the KTAR-AM/FM operation extends far beyond the on-air and production elements.

News/Talk 92.3 KTAR-FM is a rapid-pace operation that alternates between day parts, airing news in the morning and talk in the afternoon. The news team is comprised of three on-air talents and a technical director. The talk talent requires at least 30 minutes of studio preparation prior to going to air. Separate morning and afternoon studios minimize the confusion and provide a seamless air transition.

The non-stop action between these two suites — not to mention the third studio suite for Sports 620 KTAR-AM — partially motivated the decision to establish a KTAR Command Center. The Command Center overlooks all three studio suites. It is home to the news editor and news managing editor, both of whom have a commanding view of everything happening in the various studios.

More importantly, the Command Center is the bandleader for the newsroom. The editors control the dispatching of news reporters and communicate with the sports department. The Command Center is equipped with most of the technology found in the on-air and production studios, and can send and receive audio to multiple studios and workstations over Vistamax.

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