Game Time for IMG College

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Most of our remote crews are using Telos Zephyr Xstreams as their primary method of connection. A lot of our networks are also using audio over IP with Comrex Access. We employ a Traversal Server account from Comrex to make it easier for any of the 40 rack or portable units we own to find one another whether in the field or our studios. Adding to that, we've pushed to have hardwired data added to the broadcasters reciprocal agreement in the Southeastern Conference as a trial. This gives our broadcast crews access to the big campus networks and a reliable connection back to the studio. Chris Crump and Comrex have been great in helping us set guidelines for what is needed. Our hope is to create a standard that the rest of the conferences can adopt in the coming years.

We started with 30 existing studio workstations before the merger. We have since added 13. We have two sets of identical studios. Our studio workstations are built in a cubical type environment, each able to produce feeds to any number of our networks. We use the Mackie Oynx 1640i, Telos Zephyr Xstream, Comrex Access or Matrix, DBX 1066 compressor/limiter, Airtools 6100 broadcast delay, Sennheiser HMD-25 for on-air and communication, and two PCs for automation and general use.

Jacob Potter, an IMG Audio producer, hosting the Arkansas Razorbacks football broadcast.

Jacob Potter, an IMG Audio producer, hosting the Arkansas Razorbacks football broadcast.

We converted six of our enclosed studios to Wheatstone E6 consoles, including our two studios in the front of our building visible from Trade Street. In those street-side studios, we installed E-6 control surfaces with a 12-fader layout. This layout gives onlookers an interactive experience by being able to listen to high-profile games broadcast on outside speakers, while displaying our impressive-looking consoles. In addition, we dropped the E-6s into furniture made by our local woodworker. Also in the studios are the IP 88AD Blades, Telos Zephyr Xstream and Comrex Access IP audio codec. We're using the Symetrix 528E mic processors and Yellowtec Mika arms for microphone and monitor support.

We use Audio Vault 9.20 for our automation much like many of our affiliates. With that, our producers are cutting game highlights using AVRPS, so we are able to share high quality audio across all of our networks, improving the information we can offer listeners - not just the score, but how it actually happened. Audio Vault is also sending GPIO commands to our backhaul for local automation contact closures and UDP or RS-232 commands for regional copy insertion. In our E-6 studios, we use Wheatnet's IP Driver to send and receive audio to Audio Vault, while avoiding the hefty costs involved with sound cards. This feature has worked great and will continue to become a staple in our facility.

Our biggest emphasis is being able to run any network from any studio at any given time. For Florida Gators broadcasts, for example, we'll dial in sources for the stadium talent, the producer, the tailgate show and the host (who is located in a different city). All of that (mix-minuses too) are programmed as an event to any of our E-6 consoles. At a moment's notice, we could pick up and move the entire broadcast almost seamlessly. Without the flexibility of Wheatnet, this would take significantly longer and potentially be noticeable to our listeners should it happen while we are on the air.

The flexibility of our design has also allowed us to handle impromptu special requests. During the BCS National Championship game, for example, actor Vince Vaughn happened to be there watching from the sideline. As a Notre Dame fan, Vaughn wasn't going to be available at halftime for an interview. Not a problem; our great Notre Dame remote engineer and producer, Bill Karambelas, fed the sideline mic back to us on another ISDN channel and Wheatnet's ability to route that audio into another studio allowed us to record the interview off-air for playback as if live later on.

Thanks to Wheatstone's Wheatnet IP, we've built an environment where IMG Audio can accomplish what was once thought impossible - bringing every listener a real-time, exciting college athletics experience each and every week.

Equipment List

Yellowtec Mika
Worldcast Systems APT Equinox
Wheatstone E-6, Event Scheduler, four-channel IP driver, Navigator, PC-XY-IP, WheatNet-IP88a, WheatNet-IP88ad, XYE-R-IP controllers
Tieline Commander G3
Telos Zephyr Xstream, Zephyr
Symetrix 528E
Sennheiser HMD-25
Mackie Oynx 1640i
ESE ES-289E, ES-185U
E-V RE-20
DBX 1066
Comrex Vector, STAC, Matrix, Hotline, BRIC-Link, Access
Clear Channel Satellite Services
Broadcast Electronics AudioVault 9.20
Barix Instreamer 100
Airtools 6100

Blevins is technical operations manager at IMG College.

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