The European Broadcasting Union’s (EBU’s) Eurovision team working in Haiti is enabling worldwide transmission of live and edited reports on the earthquake which has devastated the country. More than 50 networks from around the globe are using Eurovision’s services in Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.
During peak European evening hours, seven satellite paths have been transmitting simultaneously using two flyaway dishes and a truck-based uplink. Signals are downlinked at Eurovision’s American headquarters in Washington and switched on to the organisation’s worldwide fibre network for distribution to Europe and Asia.
Nine satellite phones are being used in Haiti to enable feedback to correspondents’ earpieces and to co-ordinate transmissions. All major formats are available for tape and disk feeds, and portable standards converters are on site for customers who flew from Europe with PAL equipment.
Eurovision used chartered planes to get one flyaway from Washington and to move another from the Bahamas. Cameramen were flown in from the United States, Mexico and Cuba. Production staff came from Washington.
To keep the operation going, a shuttle bus drives between Port-au-Prince and Santo Domingo in the neighbouring Dominican Republic to bring in supplies of food, fresh water and fuel for generators. Staff sleep in a consignment of tents and mattresses which was sent down from Washington.
Bill Dunlop, Head of Eurovision operations in the Americas, said, “Getting equipment into the country and operational tested the ingenuity of staff both in Washington and on the road. Since arriving in Port-au-Prince the team has shown tremendous commitment, providing service day and night despite having no proper sleeping or washing facilities.’