Facilities bring studios, station management and staff under one roof

HILVERSUM, The Netherlands — In January, Dutch public broadcaster Nederlandse Publieke Omroep (NPO) inaugurated its new Radiohuis (Radio House), located on the top four floors of the NPO building in the Hilversum Media Park, grouping all of the broadcaster’s activities under one roof.

On April 8, NPO Radio 1 and NPO Radio 4 moved into the new studios. “By combining the two stations, NPO has the option to share infrastructure like production and on-air studios, emergency power supply and security,” said Jurre Bosman, director of NPO Radio. “We created an inspiring and futureproof working environment; a central hub for our radio stations resulting in a dynamic landscape for our program staffers.”

NPO’s Radio 4 now has a vast daylight studio, offering room for live concerts with ensembles consisting of up to 10 musicians. “Another feature of the new studio is that we can invite audiences for our programs — and save on expenses for outside broadcasts in other venues,” added Bosman.

After an extensive tender procedure, the broadcaster selected studio integrator D&MS to design, build, test and supply a new and sophisticated ChyronHego visual radio platform for its Radio 1 and Radio 4 stations.

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“Most modern radio studios are already integrating AoIP, but many connections for the radio workflow are still ‘discrete audio’ and analog,” explained Jan Derksen, managing director at D&MS. “The Radiohuis is 100 percent IP, which is quite unique. NPO wanted to use very advanced technology with at least one year of proven functionality. With IP technology matured, and combined with our expertise, we have built an efficient and reliable platform meeting the radio makers’ demands.”

Derksen said that, by using AoIP, the totality of the broadcaster’s audio and video content can be used and controlled in all studios and control rooms, boosting station efficiency. “It just takes a simple click and presenters can retrieve their personal settings, whatever studio or production room they work in,” he continued. “By centralizing the station’s full software package, presenters use fewer displays in the on-air room or working environment. We also redesigned the complete technical and operational workflow with Lawo’s Virtual Studio Manager platform playing a key role.”

The complexity in terms of engineering and implementation required strict planning, said Eelco de Jong, D&MS project manager. “Logistical processes require very demanding preparation to meet the limited space and time. To coordinate the various requirements, we worked closely with the infrastructure builders. The result was more than worth the effort, and I think the Radiohuis is poised to become the blueprint for future radio studios.”

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Radio staffers are enthusiastic about their new working environment. “We now have an open link between the Dutch Broadcast Foundation, Nederlandse Omroep Stichting newsroom and the NPO Radiohuis,” said Radio 1 coordinators Wim Eikelboom and Peter van den Meerschaut. “The new NPO Radio 1 work floor has become the station’s beating heart and an inspiring environment.”

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