ATLANTA — Vision, plan and implement. Those are the minimum steps needed to complete most projects.
The vision was to move Dickey Broadcasting Co.’s three sports stations — WCNN(AM), 680 The Fan, WFOM(AM), 1230 The Fan 2 and WIFN(AM), 1340 The Fan 3 — into a facility with Cumulus Media Atlanta’s stations WWWQ(FM), Q100, WNNX(FM), Rock100.5 and WWWQ-H2(FM), 99X.
At WCNN(AM) 680 The Fan, monitors light up with BSI Op-X and WheatNet along with a Web feed.
The plan was to move all three stations’ studios, programming, sales, traffic and business offices without missing a beat. We had seven months to plan, budget, design, purchase, receive, install, reconfigure and move Dickey Broadcasting Co. to our new space. The implementation was made possible by teamwork and cooperation among everyone involved.
After several working versions of a floor plan for the consolidation, it was decided that we were going to construct one additional “talk” studio, and remodel five other studios to make it work.
The only way we could accomplish this was to have multipurpose studios. During the morning, most of the studios are used for morning show production. In the late morning, some of these studios change to commercial production, imaging and voice-tracking. In the evening, studios could change to pregame or network studios for Atlanta Braves baseball, Atlanta Thrashers hockey and/or Atlanta Hawks basketball on one or all of the three Dickey Broadcasting signals.
Key to the success of making this work was the installation of WheatNet-IP audio networking and Broadcast Software International’s Op-X radio automation system.
We needed to repurpose Harris Pacific Research & Engineering RMX Radiomixers from Dickey Broadcasting’s old location. We were able to install a new Wheatstone Evolution 6 console with three WheatNet IP Blades in the control room for 680 The Fan’s talk studio. We installed WheatNet IP Blades in two of the production rooms and three Blades in the Technical Operations Center.
This IP audio network allows any of the three Dickey Broadcasting stations to be on the air from any of these three studios or, just run in the “box” out of TOC with ESPN or Fox Sports programming and Op-X. WheatNet-IP together with Op-X is a powerful solution for satellite-programmed stations.
From a production standpoint, Op-X allows a much easier method of transferring files to the server and building clocks for live and automated programming.
The Op-X File Manager allows you to manage WAV files on your local PC and spots on the file server at the same time. Locally, you can assign spot titles, ISCI codes (if needed for commercial inventory), set beginning and ending dates and times and set segue tones. On the file server, you can edit the title and dates of any audio file without having to transfer it back to the local PC. You also can transfer large groups of files simultaneously and assign audio directly into a designated rotator (or “cart”) when files are transferred to the server. These processes are much faster than systems that require “real-time” dubs or utilize bulky file conversion programs.
The Op-X Clock Builder is far more intuitive than other comparable automation programs and allows simple build-out and management of hourly clocks. For stations that use automation, satellite shows can be built in the Clock Builder tool to manage closures and relays from a network satellite receiver. This allows even complicated talk-format stations (like news or sports talk) to switch between satellites while in automation without the need for a board operator. Complicated satellite formats can be translated into Op-X courtesy of the Clock Builder and run with precise automation.
The Op-X Import/Merge program allows a quick, simple way to import commercial and music logs onto the Op-X file server.
If your station’s clocks match the traffic manager’s export file, your entire day is pushed onto the server in a matter of seconds. You also can edit and modify the log once it is merged to the file server, allowing you to add or remove elements that may not have been in your clock initially.
If you want to add simplicity and reliability to your life, use Op-X and you won’t be disappointed.
Rob Jenners is production director for WCNN(AM).
For information, contact Marie Summers at BSI in Oregon at (888) 274-8721 or visit www.bsiusa.com.