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Harris Helps Indianapolis Score
When Chris Owens joined the National Football League franchise Indianapolis Colts at the beginning of the 2001 season, the new manager of programming and production placed an in-house production studio at the top of his wish list. So it is only fitting that his wish came true a few weeks before Christmas with the installation of a brand-new production facility by Harris Broadcast systems installation experts at the Colts Union Federal Football Center, the football team's offices and training facility.
Owens says the new production studio is not a minute too soon for his production schedule. “We were producing our shows and spots at our flag ship station, WFBQ-FM/Q95 which is about a 45-minute drive from here on the other side of town.”
About four years ago, the Indianapolis Colts management decided to bring all their advertising and marketing efforts in-house. Since that time, the need for advertising spots, promos and programming has grown in leaps and bounds. The Colts purchase time from all the media outlets for their TV preseason games, regular season Sunday radio games and programming during the week.
According to Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Ray Compton, the Colts are leading the way to the NFL future with their marketing effort. He says, “Jim Irsay, the Colts owner, has been very progressive in his thinking. I guess that you could say that we are at the front end of the wave because of that. And as our sales have grown, we have grown more self-sufficient and expanded our offerings, and this has enabled us to uncover new revenue streams.”
Compton says that it will be a big plus having a production studio at the training facility for the marketing team to have increased access to the players and coaches. It also makes it easier to tailor advertising pitches to sponsors who are more than glad to have the football staff involved in their advertising message. Compton says, “In today's economy, you have got to be more competitive. It's nice to be able to offer these kinds of perks.”
Owens is responsible for producing: Colts Weekend Warm-up (which Owens hosts), every Friday on Sportsradio WNDE 1260 AM from 6 to 7 p.m. at a T.G.I. Friday's; The Bill Polian Show, Tuesdays from 6 to 7 p.m. on Q-95 featuring the Colts' team president; Colts Daily Update on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on WNDE; and the eight-hour game day broadcast on Q-95 (five-hours of game day programming for the Colts' 19-station network). The Colts marketing department also produces a Monday Night television show at 7:30 p.m. on WRTV with the Jim Irsay. And you can add to the list season ticket sales spots, charity promotions, cyber training camp updates, requests from NFL Films and ESPN, and recording news conferences and player interviews for sound bites posted on the web, to programming material that Owens and the marketing department handle.
Owens is also happy to be able to create promotional spots for the many charity events (50 and counting) that the Colts support including the Marines' “Toys for Tots” Program and the United Way. Owens produces a fifteen-minute community segment for each Sunday pre-game show that showcases and promotes the charity events during the football season.
When Owens was looking for advice on broadcast systems professionals to equip and install his new studio, he turned to consulting engineers, Scott Fenstermaker and Dan Mettler from the Colts' flagship station, WFBQ. Mettler and Fenstermaker worked with Owens to develop a studio concept, and Harris Broadcast was at top of the list for implementing their ideas. When it came time to choose a console, Harris Pacific made Owens' top choice, the AirWave Broadcast Console, and the decision was fairly simple.
Owens says that the last three stations that he had worked at all had Harris Pacific AirWave broadcast consoles, “I am very comfortable with the AirWave. It's not complicated, and it's easy to use. You never know when ESPN is going to call in looking for interviews, and it's nice to know that if I have an intern to handle it, he doesn't need a big manual to operate the AirWave. Everything is clearly labeled.”
Owens also likes that the Airwave's size leaves room for future expansion but doesn't have button overkill. With the Harris Pacific Airwave, Owens has 20 input modules at his fingertips, including modules for the Orban Audicy, cassette machine and personal computer. The console has a Telco input/output module that has manual and automatic selection of mix-minus and offline telco recording and postproduction. All the panel modules are hot swappable and can be removed and re-installed while the power is on.
The console also features a microphone preamp module with five high-performance transformerless preamplifiers, each with independent trim, selectable phantom power and balanced line level output, all-electronic audio switching, convection cooled power supply and gate array logic with built-in machine interface.
Since the studio is also Owens' office, the Harris Custom Furniture cabinet is a special design that addresses the needs of an on-air and production studio as well as well as an office. Generous amounts of open and enclosed storage for books, binders, and computers was provided in addition to the usual complement of rack spaces to hold studio equipment at hand for the Operator. The cabinet accommodates up to three guests. The Colts specified a slighter taller height of the countertop than most sit-down cabinets. Since many of the guests for the programs are NFL players, the need for extra space was very important.
The Harris custom-wiring package installed for the Colts presents a combination of operational flexibility, expandability, and value. The wiring harness was fabricated in the Harris shop. The harness and all the studio equipment were installed in the cabinet, and the system was run through functional testing in one day. With Airwave module audio connectors independent of module logic connectors, adding or changing machine start remote control cables was an easy task.
For the telephone-based system, Owens chose the Telos Zephyr ISDN Audio Transceiver. The Zephyr makes ISDN an easy and effective tool for broadcast and audio professionals, with full bandwidth and equal quality in stereo and mono.
The Zephyr system includes: an ISDN terminal built-in with connection to the telephone network via a single modular cable; 50 user-programmed auto-dial sets include codec section settings and the numbers of the remote locations you can dial; and bi-directional, RS-232 serial data at 9.6kb/s for communications and control, which are transmitted simultaneously with the program audio.
Compton, Owens and the Indianapolis marketing staff are glad to have an in-house production facility. Everyone feels that the possibilities are endless when it comes to the advertising and marketing program for the Indianapolis Colts. Ray Compton says, “We are at the beginning of a new era for the team.”
Owens adds, “I can't tell you how pleased I am to have this position and the new studio. The Harris people did a great job. I'm the luckiest guy in the NFL…until Super Bowl XXXVI that is.”
Design Engineering and Testing:
Installation and Testing:
Hector Maldonado & Adrian Jenkins
Harris Custom Studio Furniture
AirWave Broadcast Analog Console
Harris Wire and Integration
Sony PCMR500 DAT machines (2)
Tascam 112MKII Stereo Cassette recorder
Audiometrics 16000B Distribution Amplifier
Sony MDS-JB940 Mini Disc Recorder
Denon 961FA CD player
Electro Voice RE20 microphones
Symetrix 528E Voice Processors
JBL Control 5 Monitors
Sony CDRW66 CD Recorder
360 System Instant Replay
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