ABERBARGOED, Wales Voice FM is a community radio station founded in January 2006, the primary initiative of the Youth Activities Project, led by the Gwent (Wales) police department and supported by Caerphilly County Council, Gwent Association of Voluntary Organizations and help from local schools and community groups.
The station can be heard permanently online at www.voicefm.co.uk and during part of the summer on FM. We offer educational, social and creative activities for all people living within the community, which is an area that is recognized as having problems associated with social and material deprivation.
When looking to equip an on-air studio for use at Voice FM we chose a Sonifex S2 radio broadcast mixer and the entire S2 Solution turnkey furniture and cabling package.
Sonifex products have a solid reputation in the industry and looked the best for our purposes. Having worked as a radio presenter before becoming a police officer in 1995, I had used Sonifex equipment. I knew that they were reliable and easy to use, which is essential when being used by both children and adults alike, most of whom are not trained in broadcasting.
We have found that those who are initially intimidated by being in a radio studio, soon learn how to drive the desk with confidence and ease.
The Sonifex S2 has a number of features that make it ideal for use by community, student and small-scale commercial radio stations.
First of all, it is simple to use, with automated control of speaker muting and on-air and mic-live sign switching and fader start of ancillary equipment such as CD players and PC-based automation systems.
For Internet broadcasting, the S2 has simultaneous analog and digital outputs with a S/PDIF digital output, which can be connected directly to the sound card of a PC for Internet streaming. There are a range of input and output channels and the mixer is built to the customer’s specification, allowing the flexibility of configuring the mixer for any radio application whilst minimizing the costs involved.
The S2 has two main audio busses, allowing broadcasting on the main PGM bus and simultaneous recording on the AUD bus, with bus output selection on each module.
When setting up the studio, the directions for installation were relatively easy to follow; on the only occasion we had to ask Sonifex a question, they were only a telephone call away. The staff is warm and approachable, and provide you with a swift response.
As a result of this, when we secured funding for a production studio and the station, the decision to install a second Sonifex S2 Solution package was never in doubt.
Local children and young people get the opportunity to use the broadcast equipment as schools often use the station to develop the literacy, teamwork and communication skills of their pupils. As many as 30 students can occupy the studio as they research, write and broadcast their projects. We now have more than 300 pupils a week working in the studios during term time.
I would certainly recommend Sonifex products to anyone considering a project similar to ours, or for those within the industry yet to try it.
Dylan Jones is Chair and project manager for Voice FM.