Waterman Broadcasting Adds Twin SSL Consoles In Fort Myers

FORT MYERS, FLA.—Waterman Broadcasting has installed two identical Solid State Logic System T audio production consoles –one for its WBBH-TV NBC affiliate, the other for WZVN-TV, the Montclair Communications ABC affiliate it operates under a local marketing agreement, in twin control rooms with a Tempest Control Rack for backup and disaster recover.

“The primary role of the station is news and we do, depending on how you want to count them, 19 to 21 newscasts per day over the two stations,” said Waterman Broadcasting director of production Bob Hannon.

“The two stations are in one building, the news staffs are in one building, but the shows are produced completely separately. It’s like working in the Ark: we have two of everything.”

Each console system consists of a 32-fader S300 control surface with a T25 256 path engine and 512 channels of I/O. The Tempest Control Rack serves as a backup that can be controlled via a desktop touchscreen.

The setup ensures the broadcaster does not have a single point of failure, an important design consideration for Waterman given Fort Myers’ hurricane-prone location. During a hurricane, the stations begin simulcasting the same programming on both channels.

The system Waterman installed enables the broadcaster to “do everything from one spot,” said Hannon. The flexibility of the S300 allows operators in one control room to access every audio source in the facility.

“It also lets us use one control room for x amount of time, have the other control room fired up and ready, let them take over, and that gives us time to do any preventive maintenance or just let things breathe in the first control room for a little while,” he said.

Hannon also identified ease of use as an important factor contributing to the broadcaster’s decision to select the S300. Most of Hannon’s 42-member staff are in their first jobs and have been trained in-house, making ease of use especially important.

While the S300 is “a powerful board,” he said, “it’s simple in its design, and that’s what drew me to it,” said Hannon.

"I’m a firm believer that the simpler you keep it the more you can do, the better your productions are, and the better your product is. And that’s what System T allows us to do.”

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.