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Smaller Consoles Are Likely Trend in Future

Walden: ‘Is it heresy to ask in some stations if the console is obsolete?’

Radio station studios of the future will have smaller consoles and more flexible studio designs to meet changing needs and to keep costs under control.

That was according to engineers assembled for this week’s session “The Modern Multiplatform Radio Station,” part of the Broadcast Engineering Conference at the Radio Show in Chicago.

CBS Radio’s Glynn Walden asked rhetorically, “Is it heresy to ask in some stations if the console is obsolete? Can an automation system be programmed to automate a router to create an environment to give talent the ability to concentrate on entertaining without having to deal with technical baggage?”

Greater Media’s Paul Shulins agreed, saying in some cases, big consoles are in the way — even being used as storage for computer keyboards resting on top.

An ergonomic challenge is what to do about the multitude of LCD monitors now being used in stations, several panelists agreed.

Engineers also discussed where the next crop of technical talent is going to come from and recruiting methods. Cumulus Media’s Gary Kline said, “We advertise to keep a bank of résumés for when we do have a job open up.”

WNYC/WQX New York’s Jim Stagnitto said New York Public Radio married IT and traditional broadcast engineering to create a new department with four people on-call 24/7.

“We decided we needed someone on the spot for problems.” The four “are experienced in all of our systems, even the digital recorders we send out with newspeople,” he said.