BBC Radio 5 Live completed its move from London to new purpose-built studios at MediaCityUK in Salford Quays during the last week and is now broadcasting using VCS automation, Studer desks and the MOS protocol, writes Kevin Hilton. The news, sport and current affairs radio station broadcasts in the UK on medium wave, digital radio and television platforms and online. Based on one floor of Quay House (pictured), opposite the central Studios TV building, the 5 Live facility houses four main studios, preparation suites known as workshops, a central production control space called The Hub, the newsroom and supporting production offices. Integration contractor IPE Systems, which also built the BBC Audio and Music studios at nearby Dock House and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra recording and rehearsal space and the multi-purpose studio in the Studios block, carried out the installation. The two big studios used for news and sport production, S11 and S12, are identical and alternate between programmes. Each control room houses a 48-fader Studer On Air 3000 desk. Between these two studios is a space for live performance and audience shows, which can be run from either control room. Studios S13 and S14 are smaller but based on the same principle. S13 is used for digital-only service 5 Live Sport Extra, while S14 works on World Service sports programming. The workshops feature 12-fader On Air 3000s with ISDN connections and are designed to be used by journalists for interviews and preparing reports. The various aspects of the VCS automation system, including newsroom and on-air productions, are integrated using the MOS (media object server) communications protocol. Production areas, including the central Hub lines and circuits control desk, are linked to the studios using Delec intercom. Talkback between the control rooms and studios is based on Studer panels. Webcasting is now an important part of radio and 5 Live uses a control system designed by BCD Audio, which switches cameras according to which mics are being used at any one time. www.bbc.co.uk/5live
5 Live at 20 - BBC radio news and sport into the 21st century
Radio 5 celebrates its 20th birthday on 28 March, with celebratory broadcasts from its main studios at MediaCityUK beginning this Sunday.