With multipurpose arenas like the Sportpaleis and Lotto Arena in Antwerp, Forest National in Brussels and Ethias Arena in Hasselt; theatres in Ghent, Antwerp and Hasselt; and the Versuz nightclub, also in Hasselt, the Sportpaleis Group hosts some 550 events per year, attracting over two million visitors.
“The Sportpaleis is a strong and reputable brand, combining a diverse musical profile with an image of high quality and success,” comments Jan Van Esbroeck, general manager of the Sportpaleis Group. “We want to spread those values on the FM band, broadcast by [our new radio station] Sportpaleis FM. The station will offer a non-stop format of new pop and rock music, focussing on artists taking to the stage in our arenas.”
Van Esbroeck explains that Sportpaleis FM’s playlist will be similar to the musical diversity in the group’s venues: “The basic idea is to offer a speech- and commercial-free programme with news bulletins, teasers for upcoming events and concerts and information on artists.”
As a next step, the station wants to switch to a mobile studio set-up in the Sportpaleis (or any other venue) for live broadcasts and reports from the concert site.
Sportpaleis FM’s technical studio is based on Broadcast Partners’ AerOn radio automation software (pictured). “I’ve worked with the software in the past, and this is a perfect solution for Sportpaleis FM,” says radio consultant Jan Hodister. “The system includes a playlist generator, commercial planner and play-out system. The station’s signal is channelled via a StereoTool low-latency audio processor and IP protocol codecs to the 87m-high Antwerp Tower building, the location of the Broadcast Partners transmitter and antenna park.”
Sportpaleis FM began broadcasting on 1 September from a studio in Antwerp’s old dockyard neighbourhood.