Pictured are Eddie Hedge at left, Lyle Hathaway and Robert Butler (seated) of KERA’s engineering staff.
KERA TV-13, the public broadcasting member station serving the northern Texas Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, recently installed a 16+8-fader Solid State Logic C10 HD Digital Broadcast Console in its Production Control Audio Room.
KERA is independently owned and operated by North Texas Public Broadcasting, Inc. that also operates sister radio stations KERA 90.1 FM and KKXT 91.7 FM. The C10 is used on live to air and live to capture local TV news and interview programming broadcast to the estimated six million viewers in the coverage area.
“As with all not-for-profit organizations, keeping an eye on the bottom line for equipment upgrades is of primary importance,” says Robert Butler, chief engineer for KERA TV. “The thing that is so remarkable about the C10 is that it gives us incredible power, great sound and many more features than its nearest competitor for less cost. You don’t see that very often – more console for less money. This is critical in these trying budget days for not-for-profits.”
The station relies on freelance engineers and KERA staff to operate the console, so ease of use was also a deciding factor for KERA. For example, the Dialogue Automix system is proving very valuable for both the pledge drives and talking head-type shows.
“Dialogue Automix makes it easier for someone who is not a trained audio engineer to ride the mic levels and mix a show,” states Butler. “If our freelance engineer is not available, we now have several people who have been trained by the factory to operate the C10 and use that feature. We also really love the Eyeconx display where the operator has an actual picture of the sound source under the channel meter. The ease of use of the C10 really services the reality of our staffing and we don’t feel that, with the current level of use, we need a dedicated staff audio engineer right now.”
Though the majority of the work done with the C10 is for television productions, KERA plans to use it for a live band performance in conjunction with KKXT-FM. When a larger performing group is scheduled for a radio broadcast, KERA will make available its TV production room to handle the job. The C10 can be used to mix the group and send a stereo feed back to the radio station for live broadcast.
“We put in the C10 HD because we needed to move to a digital console with 5.1 capabilities,” continues Butler. “The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is changing its affiliate mandate to include more locally - produced programs in 5.1 surround. We also don’t know what additional requirements the FCC will add in the future, so we are not just buying an audio console, we are also buying an audio insurance policy. We know that the C10 HD will be able to meet all the demands we make well into the future.”
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