The Studio Shuffle

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Setting up the infrastructure

All the audio trunk lines between the studios and TOC were pulled using stranded, shielded CAT-5e. This cable allowed us to run both analog and digital audio, without the need for 110ohm cable. We ran 12 pairs of CAT-3 for the telephones, (12) CAT-5e for network, and then (10) stranded, shielded CAT-5e, (40 pairs) to each room. There were also tielines between the AM talk studio and AM control room and talk studio and AM production that could be used as a backup control room. Even though there was a router, we still ran tielines. All the stranded CAT-5e was terminated to Krone blocks.

The RCS computers for all studios were to be installed in the TOC to eliminate the fan noise in the control rooms. We put 30' tails on the new Whirlwind XLR panels, installed the rack panels in the rear of a TOC rack, and brought the tails out to the Krone blocks on the back wall. This was used to manage the XLR pigtails from the RCS computers. We then cross-connected the audio for the RCS to the local control rooms via the tielines. Gefen EXP-5500 extenders were used for the monitors and keyboards.

Studio time

After all this preliminary work, the AM production studio was the first permanent studio to be completed. It would act as a temporary AM control room while that room was being built. The Studio Technology crew arrived onsite to install the furniture for that room. Upon their arrival, we laid out the console (Wheatstone E6), mic stands and headphone jacks. We decided not to use equipment turrets on top of the countertops, as Creekmore was looking for a sleek, clean look to the studios, so all of the equipment had to be installed in racks underneath.

A neat rack is an easy-to-access rack.

A neat rack is an easy-to-access rack.

While Studio Technology was working in the AM production room, Creekmore and I set up two E6 surfaces on card tables in the TOC, linked them with the E-Sat cages and got the network up and talking.

Once we knew everything was working together, the daunting task of naming all the sources and destinations (ins and outs) on the E6 system began. I started with a generic input list and made each studio the same as much as possible. (i.e. mics1-4, CD 1, CD 2, RCS, phone, etc.) Same for the outputs. Program A output was always on the first output card in the cage, then control room, headphone, and so on.

The production studio is a scaled-down version of the other studios.

The production studio is a scaled-down version of the other studios.

Once all the source gear in the studios was wired, it was time to start configuring the E6 control surfaces. I had spent a lot of time with the air staff learning just what they do and how they do it. I knew it was going to be a big change when they got in the studio with a surface instead of a standard console. Since the E6 control surface is essentially a router, every source and destination was available in every control room, but this was way too overwhelming, plus it opened up possibilities for potential problems in dialing up the wrong source or destination. We limited the source visibility on each surface to only those sources needed by the respective stations.

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