The Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC) has selected Studer OnAir 1500 hybrid broadcast and production consoles to upgrade its global chain of smaller BFBS (British Forces Broadcasting Service) radio stations, serving Britain’s armed forces around the world.
The first order for seven of the 12-channel/12-fader desks was confirmed by Quentin Howard, SSCV director of Television & Technology, with consoles destined for the UK, followed by Germany and Gibraltar.
At the heart of the BFBS Radio operation are three core music and speech radio networks heard in over 23 countries worldwide via 70 FM transmitters, via satellite reception and internet streaming. These are supplemented by a network of local BFBS stations in eight overseas locations and a further ten community radio stations on UK military bases, where many of the OnAir 1500s are destined to go.
SSVC’s headquarters in Buckinghamshire is home to seven newly refurbished digital radio studios which run on a completely AoIP Livewire core, connecting through MPLS and Vsat contribution links to its other radio studios. The site also houses SSVC’s extensive television playout facilities delivering 12 channels of TV to British Forces overseas, a military film archive unit, the new Forces TV 24 hour live news and features channel, its digital cinemas business and national DAB radio station.
The Corporation’s TV and Radio services are multiplexed and uplinked from the Bucks HQ to four DVB-S2 satellites covering 16 time zones, that are either received direct or rebroadcast through TV and radio distribution technology.
According to Howard, a former commercial radio CTO and DAB executive, his goal for BFBS was to create a cutting edge broadcast infrastructure by moving to IP based production platforms. Having arrived at SSVC four years ago, Howard and his executive team won an MOD contract to deliver the armed forces radio and TV services. “The Cap Ex enabled us to refresh the studios as our radio facilities were way behind the curve. We now have a leading global network of digital studios and can broadcast from anywhere to anywhere, responding to fast-changing military and civil situations by making use of the latest desk-top and field production tools.”
The first six OnAir 1500 consoles have been deployed on military bases at two studios in Shorncliffe (Folkestone) for BFBS Gurkha Radio, two in Germany and two in Gibraltar. “We hope this will rise to 12-15 over the next year or so as we complete our worldwide studio refurbishment programme,” confirmed Howard. The desks are linked together in pairs for simple I/O sharing via Studer RELINK, and are easily switchable from studio to air without the need for a central switching matrix.
In summary, Quentin Howard stated, “This is the first time SSVC has adopted Studer mixers and by introducing these new tools, and copying across a standard configuration we are ensuring that no-one has to relearn the desk.
“The Studer platform is proving popular with our presenters, who like its sleek profile and ergonomics. As a former radio presenter myself, I know what a difference this can make to your show.”
Pictured are Harman Studer's Simon Roome (left) and with SSVC's Quentin Howard, SSVC.