Hebden Bridge, U.K. (March 8, 2006)–Calrec Audio has announced that cable news provider MSNBC is up and running with two identical 64-fader Calrec Alpha digital consoles at the MSNBC broadcast center in Secaucus, N.J. The Calrec desks are used to mix such programs as Hardball with Chris Matthews, The Abrams Report, Rita Cosby Live & Direct, and Imus in the Morning.
Both installations had to be undertaken within a tight 48-hour timeframe to ensure the 24/7 news provider was never without an audio desk. MSNBC’s engineering staff performed the operation from Friday night to the wee hours of Monday morning over two separate weekends, one for each console. The Alphas have replaced two digital consoles the network had been using for almost 10 years.
“We could not afford to be down beyond our 48-hour installation window, and that’s where the coordination between Calrec and the network installation team was crucial,” said Tim Canary, manager of engineering at MSNBC. “Calrec provided on-site configuration and training weeks in advance of our changeover and commissioning during the final integration. They made sure everything was running perfectly before going live.”
MSNBC uses the two Alphas to accommodate its overlapping production schedules, moving the primary mixing duties back and forth between each control room. For example, when one show is live-to-air, the other room is used for preproduction and pre-taping. In larger productions, one room can be used as a sub-control room for the other. The consoles also act as backup for each other. “In a situation where production needs change, you can seamlessly move to another room,” said Canary. “It’s important that there is continuity between the rooms–that’s why the boards were outfitted exactly the same.”