Merlin Media Updates on a Very Short Schedule

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One challenge for many stations, regardless of format, is the struggle between business phones and on-air phones. For WWWN, one system does both. Radio Systems adapted a Panasonic phone system for broadcast use. This system can access PRI and POTS lines, includes an intercom function and has all the features of a traditional office phone system. With some minor modifications it has been adapted for broadcast. Four extensions are assigned to Telos hybrids on air, so any calls to the station – on air, newsroom or business office – can be routed to on-air use. Once aired, calls are put on hold so they can be picked up as needed. This eliminated needing a separate business phone and on-air phone system.

WWWN air studio

WWWN air studio

Making the switch

Only 35 days elapsed from the day the new format plans were announced until the format was switched. The last 10 days of this period were used to actually install and configure the new equipment. Once it was on the air, small tweaks were made as they became apparent. For example, additional clocks were needed in new sight lines. Strobe warning lights were moved. A second automation system monitor screen was added for the on-air cohost. Berger notes that a few items weren’t completely ready for the cutover, but the staff has been professional about the process to implement the small changes.

While layering a system on another system is not usually the ideal solution, it worked for Merlin because it provided the fast turnaround the company needed while preserving the existing infrastructure. The stations’ lease will be renewed in 2015, and the current plan is to implement a facility-wide upgrade at that time. But for now, the all-news format is up and running and on the air.

Patrick Berger (left), director of engineering for Merlin Media Chicago, and Dan Braverman, president of Radio Systems.

Patrick Berger (left), director of engineering for Merlin Media Chicago, and Dan Braverman, president of Radio Systems.

Equipment List

RCS NexGen
SAS 64000, 32000
Shure SM-7B Wheatstone A6000, A7000 consoles for on-air

Axia Livewire
Comrex Access
Middle Atlantic racks
Radio Systems CT-2002, StudioHub+, integration services
RCS NewsGen
Telos Hx1

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