Abidjan Focuses on Radio Training
     

Eurocom collaborator Tevane Frey trains staff in the radio studios at Félix Houphouët-Boigny University.
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — Félix Houphouët-Boigny University (previously Abidjan University), named after the first president of Ivory Coast, plays a vital part in the African country’s social, economic and cultural development.

Located east of the capital city in the suburb of Cocody, the university (www.univ-fhb.edu.ci) recently completed a major overhaul to its audiovisual facilities with the addition of six radio studios and a TV studio to be used for both broadcasting and training.

French systems integrator Eurocom Broadcast handled the facility upgrade, which was completed in December, just a few days before the start of the new academic year.

SCHOOL STUDIO
The project was coordinated by two of the university’s professors, one of whom, Sako Aboubakar is a professor of atmosphere physics. Aboubakar handled the gear selection and is in charge of information technology and broadcast. 

While there are many FM stations and some Web radio stations in Ivory Coast, Houphouët-Boigny University is the first university to run its own Web radio.

“We started from scratch,” said Aboubakar. “We began little by little and we are now dealing with the practical aspects,” he said. “The adviser to the president of the republic in charge of education, Diawara Adama, wanted to train audiovisual professionals in the studio as well as using them for broadcasting. This adds a cultural dimension.”

Aboubakar explained that they are now in the process of designing their program content and additional training offerings. “At first, we are mainly concentrating on professional training for radio engineers and presenters. Then, we’ll eventually expand to cover formatting, entertainment and news program production,” he said.

Equipment installed at the university.
With six control rooms, four studio facilities and two mobile units the university radio section is teaching radio professionals and students alike, and counted as many as 700 students the first year.

“Our mission is vast. We also aim to provide support such as qualitative information, with the objective of raising the level of broadcasters in general,” he said.

Both training and technical aspects are important to Aboubakar, who plans to also apply for an FM license. “Radio is a politically sensitive instrument, and only skilled professionals should be behind a mic,” he said.

According to Bruno Guers, Eurocom Broadcast CEO, the university contacted the French company in 2012 with the idea of revamping its facilities, and — once the technical aspects were finalized — Eurocom began on-site integration in 2013.

Guers explained that it took them six weeks after validation of the order to gather the equipment, test it, integrate it into the studio furniture in the Eurocom assembly factory and pre-cable it. When ready, they shipped the containers to Ivory Coast, where two Eurocom collaborators assembled and installed the gear on site in just two weeks. They then trained the local staff.

Tevane Frey helps university staff test the gear and functionalities in the Félix Houphouët-Boigny University radio studios.
The gear Eurocom supplied to Félix Houphouët-Boigny University included three Eurocom Packradio A1 turnkey radio studio kits, featuring a D&R Airmate studio console desk; one Eurocom Packradio A2 studio kit with a D&R Airlab studio console desk; one Eurocom Packradio WP2 package with a WinMedia broadcasting system; and two Eurocom Packradio A1-MHF mobile remote package with a 100 W Ecreso transmitter.

Emmanuelle Pautler reports on the industry for Radio World from Paris.

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