DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania —
Dar es Salaam (“The Residence of Peace”) is the largest city by population in
Tanzania and in Eastern Africa. It is also Tanzania’s leading financial and
DM Broadcast custom-designed
accommodates all the equipment required to operate
Dira FM visual radio studio. In the foreground, the DJ set
CDJ900 multiformat media players.
Both the www.worldradiomap.com and
the www.radio-africa.org websites
report more than 30 FM radio stations are currently receivable in Dar es
According to Marco Giovannini, CEO at Italian
systems integrator DM Broadcast, the radio business in the city is healthy, and
several investors are entering the media industry, providing capital and
establishing new stations.
Dira Media Group Co. Ltd., owner of
Dira FM and Dira TV, based in Dar es Salaam, is one example. It recently
entrusted DM Broadcast with the turnkey supply of a new, integrated radio and
TV facility, designed and implemented for both independent and synergic
operation. The installation included a complete TV studio, with studio
equipment, cameras and a room to host the playout equipment, as well as a
complete visual radio studio.
“Dira FM is Tanzania’s first
station to adopt the visualization of radio,” Giovannini explained. The
station, which is currently carrying out on-air tests and expects to be fully
operational within the coming weeks, covers the metropolitan area of Dar es
Salaam via FM. The visual stream will be available via digital terrestrial TV.
Dira is also distributing the visual stream via the web too.
“We based our design of the Dira
integrated radio and TV facility on a really new concept,” Giovannini said. “A
single operator in the master control room can manage and combine the master
feed from both the TV and radio playout. Under standard operating conditions,
the radio master feed flows to the FM delivery chain, and the TV master feed
goes to the TV delivery chain.”
visual director working area
an AEV BSM
USB audio mixer, the Telos VSet6 phone
pad to manage the video feeds, and the DM Broadcast
with RDS encoder.
Simultaneously, the visual radio master feed
includes the audio from the FM radio feed and the associated video content.
When required, the master control room can deliver the audio track of the TV
feed as the main radio feed, thus also broadcasting the audio for TV via the FM
transmitter. The visual radio feed can also be routed to feed the video encoder
of the TV channel, preserving the original TV audio.
In addition, it is possible for the
complete visual radio feed to be broadcast as the main video feed of the TV
station, and vice-versa. “A dedicated audio and video mixer placed in the
master control room enables this flexibility,” Giovannini said, “and can also
act as a playout backup.”
DM Broadcast designed Dira FM’s
visual radio studio on a dual-layer concept. The core layer provides the audio
feed, while a dedicated additional layer provides a radio-flavored visual feed.
The audio layer is based around an AEV BSM Evolution USB audio mixer, featuring
four mic inputs, two line inputs and two telephone hybrids.
The studio features a DM Broadcast
custom-designed speaker and guest console that is equipped with four AKG
Perception 420 mics. The two telephone hybrids built into the AEV mixer are
currently not in use. DM Broadcast instead implemented a Telos VSet6 six-line
Dira FM will also produce live
shows, so studio equipment includes a DJ set with two Pioneer CDJ900
multiformat media players. The control room includes two JBL 305 monitors and
the DM Broadcast Vibe 6 six-band audio processor with an RDS encoder.
VIDEO FOLLOWS AUDIO
Mazzanti, L, commissioning
at DM Broadcast,
a training session for Hassan Kundamayi,
engineer at Dira Media Group.
The visual layer of the studio is shaped around
the DM Broadcast Fluo Radio Vision system, capable of ingesting and managing up
to four HDMI or SDI signals. Three Canon XA25 camcorders capture three
different angles of what’s going on in the studio.
A special pad connected to the Fluo
Radio Vision allows the person handling the station’s visual feed to manage the
cameras and the shots, choose the on-air camera, add graphic overlays, insert
logos, visual effects as well as picture-in-picture, for example combining a
video feed from the studio with video content captured live from the web.
The studio cameras can be
automatically managed by the Fluo Radio Vision system, which can switch to a
specific camera according to the mic in use (through voice-activation) as well
as when a predetermined event occurs. For example, when a telephone call goes
live, the Fluo Radio Vision can play selected graphic content over the video
When the Fluo Radio Vision detects
input signals on more than one mic, it performs the action included in the
presets for that particular radio show. It can, for instance, switch to a
panoramic camera or combine the video from two cameras into a
Multiple presets can be defined, in
terms of both actions to be performed following a specific trigger, and for the
positioning of the cameras within the studio, according to the specific show being
“We chose the Canon XA25, a broadcast-grade ENG camcorder,
because these cameras can also be used outdoors to produce both radio and TV
contributions,” explained Giovannini.
Giovannini is CEO at DM
“When just one DJ is in the studio,
one camera is enough to produce the visual feed, so outside production crews
can take with them the remaining two cameras.”
A single server as well as a single database
manage both video and audio content. The Filo Media Manager, also manufactured
by DM Broadcast, features a playout server for both audio and video files.
By default the Filo Media Manager
conforms to the “video follows audio” criterion. When the playback of the
selected audio file starts, the playback of the associated video content
starts. If no associated video content is available, the Filo Media Manager
switches to a specific video filler or to a random video filler, as well as to
a graphic image.
The Fluo Radio Vision system includes
a software application capable of organizing listeners’ SMS and social media
contributions. As soon as radio staff approves the received message for
publication, Fluo Radio Vision delivers it on the visual feed.
“We also provided Dira FM staff
with comprehensive training, to help them understand the great potential of the
visual radio concept,” Giovannini concluded. “Dira FM is Tanzania’s first
visual radio station, so we introduced them to the best visual radio practices
that have been adopted by radio stations all over the world.”
reports on the industry for Radio World from Bergamo, Italy.