Flexibility Is the Path of Wisdom

Wisdom Media Enjoys Life in a New Multimedia Facility in W.Va.
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Wisdom Media Enjoys Life in a New Multimedia Facility in W.Va.
Wisdom Radio's EquipmentWheatstone D-4000 console (2)

Wheatstone Bridge router

Yamaha 01V board

Enco DADpro32 (3 workstations, file server, raid array)

Musicam USA Prima 120 ISDN codec (4)

Telos Zephyr ISDN codec

Telos 2x12 phone hybrid

Orban Audicy audio editor

Orban DSE 7000FX audio editor

Fostex D-5 DAT recorder/player (3)

Panasonic SV-4100 DAT recorder/player

Panasonic SV-3800 DAT recorder/player (4)

Denon DN-C680 CD players (5)

HHB CDR850 Plus CD burner (2)

Tascam RW2000 CD burner

Sony MDS-E11 MiniDisc recorder/player

Tascam 122 MKII cassette recorder/player (3)

JBL 4208 speakers (8)

EV RE-27 microphones (9)

Neumann TLM 301 microphones (2)

Avalon AD2202 mic preamp

Intraplex STL Plus

Orban 8200ST audio processor

Eventide BD500 audio delay

Yamaha SPX-990 voice processor

Microboards Saturn II CD duplicator/printer

Telex ACC2000 cassette duplicator (3)

Sound Forge 6.0
With a global radio, TV and Internet facility operating from five buildings scattered across town, smooth operations and efficient communications can be difficult.

Such was the situation facing Wisdom Media, a worldwide media resource of information, entertainment and transaction services for the health and wellness community, based in Bluefield, W.Va.

Following its move into a $7 million building, Wisdom now broadcasts from state-of-the-art facilities. Work began in 2001; personnel moved into the new headquarters in November of last year.

Satellite and more

Wisdom's radio programming is broadcast over Sirius Satellite Radio and streamed on the Internet. Television broadcasts are sold to the C-band satellite dish industry, and are available via cable and satellite TV providers.

The radio side of Wisdom contains four studios: on-air, backup on-air/ production, interview and radio edit suite. Studio furniture and two D-4000 digital audio consoles were provided by Wheatstone, which also provided Wiremax wiring interfaces and the Wheatstone Bridge router.

(click thumbnail)Operations Manager Craig Moore and Chief Engineer Jeff Horne designed Wisdom's new media facilities.
Other major pieces of equipment include four Panasonic SV-3800 DAT recorders, five Denon DN-C680 CD players, four Musicam USA Prima 120 ISDN codecs, a Yamaha 01V digital console and an ENCO DADpro 32 system with three workstations, a file server and raid array.

At the core of Wisdom's infrastructure is a Wheatstone Bridge, which enables flexible studio operations. Five salvos have been configured by the staff for both daily and emergency operations. Machine control logic, audio routing, microphone switching, tally, mute and cough switches can be reconfigured with the push of a button.

"A nice feature of this system is that all of these router control functions are available from the console," said Chief Engineer Jeff Horne. Operations Manager Craig Moore adds, "Having a centralized routing system with salvos has made our lives much, much easier."

While the equipment in many large media facilities is installed by outside contractors, the engineering staff at Wisdom elected to do the project themselves.

"We had the expertise in-house, and it was something we all really wanted to do,." Moore said. "It turned out to be very challenging, but we learned a lot."

Wisdom's engineering staff of three was assisted with some of the computer projects by the IT staff; telephony personnel helped with the ISDN and T1 installations. An added benefit to the do-it-yourself approach, Horne said, is that the staff has a much better understanding of how the facility operates.

Customization

While many of the installations at Wisdom are off the shelf, there were requirements that demanded innovative solutions.

At the top of the list was the need to keep in mind the needs of television. Programs originating in the radio talk studios are simulcast on TV on occasion - a problem becoming familiar to many radio managers.

This required the talk studios to be equipped with standard track lighting and television lighting. The most difficult challenge, however, was creating low-profile mic booms that would not obstruct the camera's view of talent's faces.

"We took Wheatstone's mic risers and modified them to work with some aluminum parts of our own design," Horne said. "An added benefit to the custom mic booms was better sight lines between the talent and board operator position.

Documenting the studio furniture, signal flow and wiring in a large facility is a task unto itself. Horne used several types of software to keep track of Wisdom's infrastructure.

(click thumbnail)Carolyn Craft interviews a guest. The interview studio features custom mic mounts that don't obstruct talent's faces during TV simulcasts.
Studio furniture layouts were provided by Wheatstone in AutoCAD. Detailed graphics of the equipment in the facility, as well as signal flow diagrams, were created by Horne, also with AutoCAD. Documentation for the Wheatstone Bridge was done with spreadsheets using Microsoft Excel. Visio was used to create some of the rack layouts.

"In a large facility, it's important to be able to see things in two different ways," Horne said. "With the vast amount of wiring you need spreadsheets; but you also need a way to visualize the signal flow."

Building security isn't as much of a concern in the mountains of West Virginia as it would be in an urban area, although security guards and a card-key entry system are in place. Nevertheless, the events of Sept. 11, 2001, have shaped the planning of Wisdom's new facility. Moore explains:

"When 9/11 happened, we lost our audio feed to Sirius, which went through the World Trade Center," Moore said. "In the new building we have designed backup routes to Sirius, primarily with ISDN lines."

The planning and hard work that went into building Wisdom's new facility has paid off, they say; and the engineering staff is able to take a more proactive approach to their craft.

"In the old facilities, we got used to having catastrophic failures every week," Moore said. "Now we don't have those kinds of equipment problems, and we're able to focus on new projects."

Horne added, "Things are working so well, it's almost scary."

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