New South Wales, Australia At Sky Channel, according to Chief Engineer Sam Cannizzaro, their talkback and communications system forms a key cornerstone of the broadcasting service they provide. “Sky Channel pioneered satellite television in Australia. We transmit via satellite to more than 5,000 outlets across Australia and in more than a dozen countries around the world. With these numbers, a comprehensive and reliable talkback system is critical.” He said.
Through the 1990’s Sky Channel as Australia’s leading multi-venue racing broadcaster used the RTS CS9500 system which, due to the company’s success, quickly needed expanding. “From 1999 onwards we have consistently grown as a company.” He added. “This included providing the new Sky Racing channel for the pay TV networks. The expansion meant more sources and the need for more talkback panels. We also use our talkback system as a confidence monitoring station for incoming feeds.”
With the need for expansion evident, Sky Channel purchased an additional 64x64 RTS Advanced Digital Audio Matrix (ADAM) CS from Magna Systems and Engineering.
“We’ve had a long history with Magna Systems”, explained Cannizzaro. “They have always been an excellent resource for us and know talkback very well indeed so we sat down with them and devised a way to ‘glue’ our two talkback systems together. The two frames worked well side by side but as we grew further, still lacked the capacity we needed.”
In search of a system that would meet all their requirements and give more efficient integration with their other in-house systems, Cannizzaro and his team set about researching the latest in talkback technology.
“We quickly came to the conclusion that there was a very strong case to replace our two existing systems with the new RTS ADAM system. This would fix any incompatibility issues, was an efficient single frame solution and more economical than buying another [ADAM] CS.”
With Sky Channel’s many remote partners ADAM’s easy VoIP functionality was a great bonus according to Cannizzaro. “We have partners in New Zealand, a remote studio and DR site in Ultimo. So, using our existing infrastructure and our new ADAM system we can now efficiently and cost effectively use VoIP panels to communicate between offices.”
The current Sky Channel 96x96 ADAM system provides in-house comms between master control, video tape rooms, edit suites, the Ultimo remote studio (via VoIP), several overseas partners and uses ISDN at racetracks to bring in comms which are then fed through talkback and IFBs.
Cannizzaro added, “We looked around at all the current talkback solutions and found that the ADAM system was backwards compatible so we could use our existing panels. It also came with Magna’s excellent local support and product knowledge. This was critical as, alongside our major redundancy provisions, it means we don’t have to worry about system reliability which is a huge bonus.”
Having reutilized all of their existing panels Sky Channel’s continuing success meant there was a further requirement. Cannizzaro added, “We needed panels with more keys and IFBs for Master Control and our Technical Directors, especially on our busy race days so we purchased an additional four 32-way keypanels. I am happy to say the system has been very reliable and we have had no issues with it. We will be looking to buy more VoIP panels as we link up with other remote partners across the globe and we now have a system that can easily accommodate this expansion. We are particularly pleased with the expertise and high level of service and support from Magna Systems who have made the entire project an incredibly efficient one.”
Photo & article credit: Magna Systems & Engineering
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