Technology revamp for Swiss Radio 24


Swiss systems integrator, SLG Broadcast (SLG), has provided a complete broadcast
centre for Radio 24’s new complex in Zurich, including IP-capable fit-out of two
broadcasting studios, a layout-studio, a stage, 24 editors’ workplaces and
integration of the station’s OB vehicle.

Regarded as a “most modern studio’ at the beginning of the 1990s, the privately
operated radio station had outgrown its old location by 2012, and was no longer at
the cutting edge of technology. Since then, the Lowenbrau area of Zurich has
provided an ideal new space – not more than 360m from its old location. Here, SLG
constructed an entire studio complex at the beginning of 2013 in the time-honoured
“blue hall’ in the Lowenbrau area.

In a record-breaking construction period of just two months, two state-of-the-art
broadcast studios and associated equipment rooms were built, plus 24 editors’
workplaces, some with an audio-over-IP connection. Rounding out the facility, is a
layout studio and a stage for small performances, a digital-signage-system for TV
and informational, displays and an automatic camera system for webstreaming.

Both studios are identically equipped, using Lawo sapphire mixing consoles. These are
each fitted with 12 faders and include a central module that can be operated by the
host. Additionally, each desk is complemented by an additional 4-fader module for
the news presenter or co-host, each with its own overbridge and configurable
touchscreen. In the production studio, a Lawo crystal was installed to mix live
performances on the stage and record them to a Pro Tools DAW. The crystal and the
DAW are both connected to the central router via MADI.

It was also possible to include the station’s OB van in the new facility. Built six years
ago as a VRS (Virtual Remote Studio), this has been incorporated into the new
technical environment by adapting its software. VRS enables the hosts and technical
staff to access services in the broadcast studio from a remote location, as if they
were present in the facility. Reference monitoring is taken care of using PMC
“twotwo’ loudspeakers.

For telephone phone-ins, Radio 24 uses an extensive Broadcast Bionics PhoneBox
installation, which handles all call routing and messaging as well as social media

Studio 1 is equipped with four HD-SDI-cameras, with the vision mixer able to switch
the right camera onto the webstream – triggered by the fader position of the Lawo
consoles. Through this feature, visitors to the Radio 24 website can watch what is
happening in the studio.

Marc Straehl from SLG Broadcast says: “The technical solutions for radio are so
advanced that we were able to provide open workspaces, integrate moving pictures
and audio, and route the program via mouse-click to different distribution paths.

Thus, Radio 24 is able to produce programmes in a global and modern way, not only
using the phone but also the social media streams that are available at the host’s
console. And although the station produces global programming, it remains close to
the people of Zurich.’

In addition to the PhoneBox system and a multitrack editor, five of the 24 editors’
workplaces have complete IP-connection to the Lawo router, including intercom
access to all studios. Thanks to the Lawo JADE virtual audio control center, routing
for phone interviews, multitrack editing and intercom is always readily accessible at
the editors’ workplaces. JADE takes care of the connections between all of the audio
streams within the PC – something that has not been available before – and presents
them on operator-friendly buttons without the need for the editor to go into the
details of the routings.

Huge TV monitors – soffit-mounted in the walls horizontally and vertically in the
studios and control rooms – display up to three different sources on split screens.
These cover everything from digital TV output to websites and VisTool pages, which
are shown with level or status information of the consoles or the studio clock
Marc Straehl concludes: “Radio 24 has leap-frogged two generations of technical
progress, and is really at the edge of technology now.’


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