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Inside WestwoodOne at the Super Bowl

While diehard radio road warriors might not be surprised, most anyone else probably would be surprised to see how compact the WestwoodOne radio operation at the Super Bowl XLVIII was. WestwoodOne provided the radio coverage of the game.

Despite handling play-by-play and color commentary along with several sideline reporters, the crew sending out the signal picked up by hundreds of stations and satellite uplinks for international distribution was essentially shoehorned into a single suite. The console running the show was a Yamaha 02R96v2.

The main honchos herding the audio cattle were: Raul Velez, system architect; Al Rosenberg, audio mixer; Bob White, RF coordinator, logistics; and Dave Sniff, field and external location coordinator. However, they were not alone.

Raul Velez explains, “The show takes months of planning and the crew begins to arrive the Sunday prior to the game.”

Once up and going, he says, “The show is mixed on a Yamaha 02R96v2 console handling the 24 on-air inputs.” Feeding the Yamaha are Sennheiser HMD-25 headsets from booth announcers — routed through Studio Technologies Announcer Stations.

Outside of the booth eight wireless microphones and five wireless IFB channels utilize Lectrosonics hardware.

Overall system communications IFB and intercom duties were handled by a 24-port RTS Cronus digital matrix. Off-air source monitoring and recording was done with Aviom hardware interfaced directly from the Yamaha console.

Once everything was mixed together, Velez says, “Primary and backup Telos Zephyr xStream ISDN codecs handled the game broadcast. There was a backup Comrex Matrix POTS codec and Comrex Access IP codec also online as hot backups. A ‘Net Return’ feed from the N.Y. studio was backhauled and fed to the stadium as well as the personal radio receivers from ‘Live Sports Radio’ that WestwoodOne provided to all fans.”