WRBS Pushes Pathfinder to the Limit

Baltimore broadcaster finds extreme flexibility and reliability with Axia Pathfinder Core PRO

BALTIMORE — As a contract engineer, I work with many stations to help them to get their studios set up and workflows functioning the way that they desire. One particular project that turned out well recently was the work that I did with WRBS(FM) in Maryland.

Axia xNodes and the Pathfinder Core Pro in the racks.

Axia xNodes and the Pathfinder Core Pro in the racks.

Before I came to their plant, they were using a standard AudioVault automation system, and in an emergency situation they had to run cables across the floor from a second studio up through the ceiling in order to patch through. When I came onboard, I was able to use a couple of Telos Alliance xNodes as well as the Axia Pathfinder system to accomplish the same thing. This facility is now almost entirely an Axia plant, and we’ve used Pathfinder Core PRO there to make the most of their remote and backup system capabilities.

Their vision was to be able to switch sources in and out seamlessly, in any situation. Most stations these days are manned by a single engineer or contract engineer, and it’s important to have flexibility built into the system in case of an emergency situation when there isn’t an engineer on site. To interact with the Pathfinder system, the Axia Element consoles in WRBS’ facility have Axia SmartSwitch modules in them and they have Axia 10 and 17 button routing control panels. The 10-switch panel is used for AM stations for switching between EAS events, different studios and audio sources. The 17-panel switch is used in the transmitter room and offers extreme flexibility by allowing WRBS to switch out any station, studio, computer, different VMixes from the Powerstations, and more. I also use Pathfinder for silence-sensing, programming timing, and in an emergency, it’s just one button to press to get a signal back on the air. When you’re in the transmitter room, you just reach up and press one button and, Bam! Back on the air. It’s a fast and elegant solution and provides the time necessary to look into solving the source of the problem.

We are also using the system with our PPM encoders so we can easily switch between them in the air chain. This also goes for any studio, AudioVault, or backup AudioVault that we want to put on the air with the push of a button. The Pathfinder virtual button panel is an extremely flexible solution for when we need to control things remotely.

The author, center, is shown with Cornelius Gould of the Telos Alliance and Peter Allen, chief engineer for WRBS.

The author, center, is shown with Cornelius Gould of the Telos Alliance and Peter Allen, chief engineer for WRBS.

I’ve been working with Pathfinder since the first version and it has evolved in so many ways that it’s almost impossible to wrap my mind around. As we say, “There is more than one way to skin a cat with Pathfinder Core PRO.” Axia just released a new 1RU appliance and VM version; I’m sure I’ll be working with those in the not too distant future.

Any time we’ve run up against an issue or a capability we’d like to see in the product, we take it back to Telos Support where the conversation carries back to the developer who has always been there to provide support and solutions. It’s been incredible to be part of the evolution of the product.

For information, contact Cam Eicher at the Telos Alliance in Ohio at 1-216-241-7225 or visit www.telosalliance.com.

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