Many educational institutions across the country have begun to realize that students need to be in an environment that will teach them what it�s really like to work in an industry, preferably one with up-to-date equipment. Often, when schools do this, broadcast students who work in these facilities can find jobs in radio and television right out of high school.
News, weather and sports features are researched by students who sit at the monitors in the foreground; that info is passed on electronically to on-air talent, who sit across the table (behind the monitors). In Jeffersonville, Ind., the Clark County School District operates three separate high school broadcast studios: One at Jeffersonville High School, another at Charlestown High School, and a third at New Washington High School. At Jeffersonville and Charlestown High Schools, television studios were also constructed to feed the local PEG channel.
The school district began its search for a frequency for both Jeffersonville and Charlestown early in 2014, in part because of the vision of Superintendent of Schools Dr. Andrew Melin, who has a broadcast background himself. Melin believes that successful high schools have successful media programs and has backed the plans with this in mind.
Thanks to an inter-local agreement with the city of Charlestown, a radio facility was built at the Charlestown High School in order to provide man power and equipment for a new on-air LPFM license owned by the city. Funding for the project was provided by local donations and use of a bond issued by the Greater Clark Building Corp. No referendum from the voters was required for this.
Tim Dench has been a teacher for over 42 years in both Kentucky and Indiana, and he also served as the project designer and manager for the equipment installation, in addition to teaching radio and TV production .
�WJHI, and WPMQ in Charlestown, represent an opportunity for our student to prepare for careers in the broadcast industry by working in a modern, state-of-the-art facility,� said Dench. �They also have a chance to participate in providing important local information to the people of our communities. We�re very pleased that our high school stations fulfill an important need in the Jeffersonville, Charlestown and New Washington area.�
The Clark County School District Board of Trustees decided it wanted to train its students the best way it possibly could. Therefore, rather than go the traditional route of used audio consoles and playback equipment, older computers and software that had long been obsolete, the district decided to purchase new studio equipment from Wheatstone.
�Darrin Paley at Wheatstone was a tremendous help to us,� said Dench. �He worked with us to provide drawings and specifications necessary for what we had in mind. By the time we had decided on everything, the system was basically designed, and all we had to do was facilitate the installation,� said Dench. �We never really hit any serious difficulties in implementing the equipment. Everything went together beautifully.�
EQUIPMENT AND PLANNING
The wiring rack is the central nervous system of the entire facility. This rack includes KVM switches and Cisco switches for the AoIP network, as well as the TV production equipment and PEG channel server. Each of the facilities have identical on-air and production rooms supported by smaller edit rooms. Six Wheatstone LX-24-2416 consoles are used for the control surfaces, the only LX-24s owned by a U.S. high school station. In addition, Wheatstone IP 88-3E/3AD/3A BLADE servers, plus M4-IP mic processors round out the control room equipment.
All the Wheatstone elements commonly connect through Cisco 3560CX-12 Ethernet switches. Wheatstone�s emphasis on IP equipment that�s compatible with existing IP products made the Cisco switch an easy choice for connectivity back to the common control area according to Dench.
Modern studio construction techniques were used extensively throughout the facility, including raised floors to facilitate wiring, separate HVAC systems for year-round operation of the studios, studs in the walls offset on six-inch centers with acoustical insulation between them, and triple-pane glass for studio soundproofing.
Custom-designed board op tables are also in the works. Several LED-lit tables are being built by students and staff, adding even more professionalism to the slick studios.
Each radio studio has identical racks. The racks were intentionally made to be shorter in order to maintain sightlines. The studios also provide audio to two full-time LPFM facilities. Under the call letters WJHI at 98.5 FM, which is licensed to the Clark County School District, the Jeffersonville High School facility provides news, information and coverage of local high school sporting events to the Jeffersonville community.
The other station, WPMQ(LPFM) at 99.3 is licensed to and owned by the city of Charlestown. The Charlestown High School facility normally feeds this station. However, the third Wheatstone facility, located at new Washington High School, allows students at that school to send their program audio to WPMQ also.
There are over 20,000 songs in the stations� music library. This allows students to design programs with just about any genre of music.
Enterprise Technical Solutions President Dave Dryer served as the integrator for the construction of the facility.
�WJHI is the most flexible, technically advanced and unique design/install for radio and TV studio that I�ve ever been involved with,� said Dryer.
TOWERS AND ANTENNAS
The WJHI transmitter rack Jason Bennett, owner of FM Expansion, LLC, was contracted for the erection of the towers and installed the transmitter equipment in rooms in existing buildings at Jeffersonville and Charlestown. The Jeffersonville tower, for WJHI, was erected at the high school, and the Charlestown tower, for WPMQ, was built at the Clark County School District vehicle facility. Nautel VS 300 transmitters were chosen for each station. Audio processing is done by internal Orban card in the Nautel transmitter.
At Jeffersonville, a Shively 4-Bay half wave spaced Versa2Une antennas was used. The Charlestown transmitter site has the same antenna, but in a 2-Bay version.
The STLs for both stations are Barix 500 series units. EAS compliance is achieved through Digital Alert System�DASLPFMR low-power FM decoders with built-in receivers.
This screenshot shows the DJB radio automation system at work. �Our automation system is DJB Radio. We chose them because they are industry veterans with a vast depth of experience and knowledge of broadcasting,� said Dench. �They helped us design a state-of-the-art facility that allows for teaching, right through to the execution of on-air content. Their system allows for students to browse, play, edit and record audio, and build their shows from their very own desktop position, while keeping the on-air isolated for rock-solid reliability.
�This system allows me, as a teacher, to have every student involved in a radio production, all at one time. I�have never had a radio system flexible and powerful enough to do this. Keeping students engaged is one of the keys to our success.�
Dench went on to say that the DJB Radio system is very easy to learn and understand, even to students with no prior experience. The flexibility of the system has allowed the design to be the exact system the schools needed.
�The level of support through DJB Radio has been incredible,� said Dench. �These guys�know broadcasting. When I call them, they are available and always talk to us on the appropriate level. Some sales and tech support people talk over your head, or they don�t really listen to you. Not with DJB Radio. They�re always ready to help and have even offered some tips that I never would have thought of on my own.�
The system integration between DJB and Wheatstone had never been done before. All consoles have starts and stops, tally lights, on-air signage and can control routing of audio. At a touch of a button, an operator can switch studios either for maintenance or simply for shows.
During the day, Studio #1 is typically used, since it is visible in the school area. At night, Studio #2 is used because it is visible from the gym/activities area of the school. This maximizes the station�s exposure to potential supporters (it also functions as a kind of VIP skybox during games) and showcases the station to the community.
Mike Moore, the mayor of Jeffersonville, is one such avid supporter of the station.
�I�m excited to see Jeff High School�s pursuit of a radio station. This makes me proud to be the mayor [supporting] a progressive educational opportunity our children will be undertaking.� said Moore.
Thanks to the efforts of the Clark County School District, students can take advantage of an education in broadcasting second to none. It�s expected that many students will continue on to college to study broadcasting and communications, while others may go straight into the industry.
�We wanted to make a statement with this radio and TV station,� said Dench. �This program benefits not just the schools and the students, but the entire community.�
This project shows how community groups and school districts, working together, can create opportunities not just for students to learn how to work in the broadcast industry, but also benefit those in the surrounding area simultaneously.
Equipment list for WJHI and WPMQ
Adobe Creative Software
ASUS computer monitors
Blackmagic Design 4K Micro Studio Cameras with remote control
Boostr Digital Displays Remote Sports Desks
Bose Surround System
ClearCom IFB and Intercom system
Cisco 3560CX-12 Ethernet Switches
Cisco Phone System
Editors Keys Backlight Keyboards Adobe Edition
Ergotron monitor arms and brackets
Eventide BD600W Broadcast Delays
Inovonics 730 RDS Encoder
Inovonics 635 for Off Air Monitoring
Inovonics 402 RDS Sign Driver
Inovonics LED Sign
JK Audio Remote Mix 4 sports field mixers
Mackie HR 824 Audio Monitors
Mid Atlantic Racks
Neumann BCM 705 Microphones
Mid Atlantic UPS
O.C. White low profile mic arms
Panasonic Interchangeable Lenses
Rolls RA 163 Audio Distribution Amps
Rolls RS81 AM / FM RDS Tuner
Samsung 32 inch LED HD TV/ Monitors
Samsung 75-inch� LED HD TV/Monitor
Sennheiser HME 26-II sports headsets
Smith�s Laminating Shop custom student work stations
Sony MDR 7506 Headphones
Sony PS-HX500 High Resolution USB Turntables
Stanton C402 CD Players
Tascam SS R200 Digital Player/Recorders
Tascam CDR 200 Digital Player / Recorders
Wheatstone LX-24-2416 Consoles
Wheatstone IP88 Series BLADE Servers
Wheatstone M4-IP 4-Channel Mike Processor
WheatstoneTS-4H Talent Turret
Whirlwind Custom Engraved Rack Plates and Patch Panels
Barix 500� as STLs
Digital Alert System Model� DASLPFMR
Nautel VS300 FM Transmitters with Internal Orban Card
Shively 4-Bay half-wave spaced Versa2Une antenna (at Jeffersonville High School)
Shively 2-Bay half-wave spaced Versa2Une antenna (at Charlestown)