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NPR Building Move Spurred Audio Routing, Other Changes

PRSS, other NPR engineers discuss updates at PREC

Employees of National Public Radio’s Distribution Division are still ticking off their punch list a year after their move to the new building on North Capitol Street.

And that’s OK, says Mark Murphy, director of engineering for NPR Distribution, which manages the Public Radio Satellite System. The move was a good thing, he says.

Murphy told attendees at the Public Radio Engineering Conference in Las Vegas that PRSS is going through several transitions. For example, the way the uplink equipment is laid out has changed because employees were able to use fiber optics to carry the signal from the roof antenna on down to the Network Operations Center.

NPR also used the opportunity of new space to shift from analog to digital audio routing, along with the rest of the company. “All audio in this building is now digital,” said Murphy. 

“The move gave us an opportunity to start fresh and use the latest equipment available. Today, we’re in a much better place than if we had tried to do the same modernization without moving,” he added.

And what has he learned through the move process? “It’s worth it to do to things systematically. We managed to do that but the temptation to cut corners and rush gets stronger” the closer to the move date. He recommends fighting that urge, and having the discipline to carry out your plan, rather than just responding to the crisis of the day. Keeping up with documentation is important also.

Murphy is one of several NPR employees who spoke about the move at PREC2014.

Some 75 engineers and other station employees signed up this year to attend, according to the Association of Public Radio Engineers, which organizes the pre-NAB Show event.

NPR Ops Center Move Called “Smooth”