NBC rang in the holiday season with its 10th annual "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" telecast recently, a broadcast event surrounding the lighting of the 75th Christmas tree to stand on the spot. RF specialist Kevin Sanford of Wireless First used an array of Sennheiser equipment for the event, seen by a live audience at Rockefeller Center and televised as a one-hour network primetime special and two-hour WNBC local telecast.
Co-hosts were Nick Lachey, Al Roker and actor/singer Ashley Tisdale, all using Sennheiser SKM 5000s or 5200s with SK 250 miniature body-pack transmitters. Musical artists Tony Bennett, Josh Groban and Taylor Swift used Sennheiser SKM 5200 wireless handhelds with Neumann KK 105 S capsules. One dozen Sennheiser Evolution G2 personal monitor systems were also on hand.
Wireless First’s Kevin Sanford, who has been providing wireless services to the event for a number of years, said, "On that show, I have two sets of EM 3032 receivers with multiple antennas, so I can have redundancy. I had superfluous receivers down on the ice rink that covered the rink and the host positions, then I had another set of receivers at 50th Street that covered 49th and 50th Streets."
Co-host Roker likes to engage the crowd, Sanford said, which required uniform coverage of the entire area. "There were two sets of a dozen receivers with split antennas in all different directions so I could cover everything. I never really know what's going to happen. Al may suddenly decide to talk to the audience. It's a very loose outline, so we have to be prepared."
The six-block Rockefeller Center complex is an RF-intensive environment, encompassing WNBC and NBC network broadcast facilities in the GE Building plus the adjacent Radio City Music Hall. "I kept seeing this broadband data in the 700MHz range every hour or so. I'd watch the noise floor go up 30dB for about five minutes then drop back down.” But, he said, the Sennheiser gear was up to the task. "The show was flawless," he said.
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