Part of a dramatic revitalization of the station’s facilities, the new Lawo equipment has significantly enhanced CHUM radio’s operating efficiencies. The single Lawo zirkon radio console serves as the primary on-air desk for the station while the remaining thirteen crystal consoles—in a variety of sizes and configurations— are used for other on-air studios, production rooms, vocal booths, and similar production-related functions.
Lane Steinhauer, CTV’s Director of Broadcast Engineering, discussed key considerations of the re-vitalization project. “It was time to renew the station and position it both for now and future expansion,” states Steinhauer. “Tight integration with parent company CTV’s other radio and TV properties was essential. Therefore, we were looking for an all digital plant with the ability to easily interface to digital devices from several manufactures. By having all audio file based, file transfer is now accomplished via wire—including storage and archiving. With the Lawo equipment, audio is handled digitally via MADI while system control is managed over IP (Internet Protocol). Our new system is digital from the microphone all the way to the transmitter. This enables production to have full control over the sound and, in radio, sound is everything.”
One of the interesting capabilities resulting from the new Lawo-based facility enhancement is the Intercom Matrix feature integral to the Version 3.0 operating software for the Lawo zirkon and crystal series consoles. Lawo’s new Intercom Matrix feature enables the consoles to be configured as a series of panels that function as a smart, well integrated, and very economical radio intercom system. Equally important, all consoles integrate with RCS radio automation systems.
With their new all-digital system, routing and cabling has been dramatically enhanced and, as a result, has expanded the station’s capabilities. Steinhauer commented on the Lawo approach to networking, “Lawo has a proven record in the router world for audio, and the Lawo audio boards performed all the functions we were looking for and more. For all intents and purposes, a fiber cable connects each audio room to the rack room. This replaces all the audio, control, and other cables that are traditionally run in the massive cables troughs and has streamlined our system considerably. Further, the ability to conduct remotes from other properties was considered vitally important and the Lawo system provides us the ability to be almost anywhere and be part of the system.”
Before focusing his attention back to station related business, Steinhauer offered this assessment of CHUM radio’s new Lawo-equipped facility. “Training is important for the operations staff,” notes Steinhauer. “Although the operations staff was a bit apprehensive at first, they soon learned to appreciate the clean sound, the system’s ability to make fast configuration changes, and its overall level of flexibility. With our new setup, a request for a change is normally just a few seconds away on a computer—versus the traditional process of pulling cables, adding DA's, punching down cross connects on bix blocks, etc. The Lawo system’s sound quality, flexibility, and the ease of use have made this a success story.”
About CHUM Radio
CHUM Radio is a division of CTVglobemedia, Canada's premier multimedia company with ownership of CTV, Canada’s #1 television network, and The Globe and Mail, Canada’s #1 national newspaper. CHUM Radio is one of Canada’s most successful radio companies, operating 34 radio stations in 16 markets throughout Canada, including CHUM FM, Canada’s # 1 radio station.
Lawo is a manufacturer of digital audio networking systems and consoles for a wide range of applications from small to large scale audio production in television and radio, post production, and live sound. Established in the 1970s, the company’s manufacturing center is located in the Rhine valley town of Rastatt, Germany. For additional information on Lawo’s plug-in integration and all Lawo products, visit the company online at www.lawo.ca.
Photo info: Image of a CHUM Radio engineer at work in front of the Lawo zirkon radio console.