Radio 1 Offers Stage for Local Artists
ANTWERP, Belgium — For the sixth consecutive year, Dutch-language public broadcaster VRT’s
Radio 1 (www.radio1.be) staged “Radio 1 Sessies”
(www.radio1.be/programmas/radio-1-sessies), a week-long series of live concerts with homegrown
artists and guests.
Musician and singer Raymond van het Groenewoud invited his friends on stage during Radio 1 Sessies. Credit VRT
This year’s event took place Nov. 11–15 at the Trix
venue in Antwerp. VRT recorded the sessions for live broadcast and streaming,
and program content for the broadcaster’s OP12 thematic TV channel.
For VRT engineers and technicians, Radio 1 Sessies involves
quite a bit of logistics and staff. In
addition to a mobile audio studio, the broadcaster also installed a live radio
studio backstage at the venue, plus a TV production truck. During the live
event, the technical crews remained on site from 11 a.m. to midnight.
With artists such as Dez Mona, Johan Heldenbergh,
Johan Verminnen, Bent van Looy and “Dutch” Rick de Leeuw acting as session “curators,”
each of the five concert nights swiftly sold out. The session’s formula, which
consists of the curators inviting well-known guests, such as Helmut Lotti, Raymond
van het Groenewoud, Paul Michiels (Soulsister) and Admiral Freebee, is popular
among the audience. Host Luc Janssen also interviews each of the curators on a
side stage next to the public.
Radio 1 Station Manager Filip Pletinckx — Credit VRT
VRT audio engineer Raf De Clercq, who has been with
the Radio 1 Sessies project since day one, handles the mixing of the live music
in the VRT M1 digital multitrack mobile. “We use a multichannel split on stage,
routing into either analog or MADI. All of the music channels are routed to
M1’s Stagetec Aurus console for the music mix. We also channel the audience mix
(applause, etc.) to the Radio 1 studio where the program’s technicians blend the
live music content with presentations and interviews from the side stage,” he
with Pro Tools 10 and a JoeCo MADI multitrack recorder for later use — for broadcasts
or CDs and editing in the VRT studios.”
The temporary radio studio at the Trix is equipped
with a DHD RM4200 D broadcast console, which
controls the stereo music mix from M1, the ambience mix and the jingles and
interviews for presenter Luc Janssen. Interviews take place during stage changes,
resulting in a three-hour nonstop show, broadcast live on Radio 1 from 8 to 11
The Radio 1 Sessies audience enjoying the music of Rick De Leeuw’s (R). Credit VRT
De Clercq explains that the Stagetec Aurus is
configured with 64 channels — not excessive considering the number of
musicians and instruments, but by sharing guitar amps and drum kits, he managed
to avoid creating a massive production on stage.
Audio rental firm Imec supplies live sound on stage.
“It’s the sixth year we have been assigned this project,” said Frank Geerts,
system tech at Imec. “I must admit the current configuration of d&b audiotechnik
array cabinets is a bit oversized for the location, but then again, the
combination of the line array speakers, the sub arrays and cardio subs is a
substantial improvement for the radio mix. The use of cardio subs and the
directivity of the monitor speakers drastically reduces front-of-house sound on
stage and radio mix crosstalk.”
Geerts adds that they selected the d&b audiotechnik
range of speakers because of their excellent speech-intelligibility — the entire
system was configured without any extra equalizing and only minimal use of
filters. Imec used a Digidesign console for the front-of-house mix FOH mix and
a Yamaha PM1D as monitor console.
VRT Audio Engineer Raf De Clercq at the helm of the Stagetec Aurus console in the VRT
M1 mobile. Credit Marc Maes
1 Sessies is an important project for us as a station,” said newly appointed
Radio 1 Station Manager Filip Pletinckx. “The concerts illustrate our
commitment toward domestic music production. For the artists, the high-quality
environment, the original music lineup (with guests invited on stage) represent
an amazing introduction to a huge and diverse audience.”
Marc Maes reports
on the industry for Radio World from Antwerp, Belgium.