Swiss private broadcasters RadioFr and La Télé have completed the construction of a brand new, all-IP broadcast centre for their radio and television operations, using Lawo broadcast equipment and the design and installation services of SLG Broadcast AG.
For 30 years, French-language Radio Fribourg, German-language Radio Freiburg, and regional La Télé Fribourg TV programming originated from two separate facilities in Fribourg. A decision to renew and upgrade the facilities in 2019 provided an ideal opportunity to combine the two operations into a new location; dubbed “MEDIAParc”, the 3,000-square-meter facility occupies two floors and in addition to radio and TV studios, hosts a number of digital media distribution platforms which complement RadioFr’s over-the-air broadcast services.
SLG Broadcast, who have worked with RadioFr for more than 15 years, was retained to design and construct the new broadcast facilities. SLG was responsible for the MEDIAParc concept, project planning, installation, and commissioning. A complete review of both IT and broadcast technologies was undertaken to make certain that RadioFr took full advantage of the synergies provided by an IP-based studio environment. Standards-based networking was specified, with AES67 supported for audio and SMPTE 2022-6 for video.
Equipment from many Lawo product lines – Radio, video and live audio – was used to give RadioFr the operational flexibility demanded by their workflow.
To enhance the sharing of audio between TV and radio operations, fibre-optic cables connect all areas. Audio from the TV studios is easily available for radio production, while cameras installed in the radio studios for Visual Radio services can also be accessed by the television production crew. Shared functions – such as studio talkback, master clocking, monitoring, and phone codecs were centralised in the tech core for full-facility use.
The Audiomatrix, the heart of MEDIAParc’s operations, is what makes this audio sharing possible. Connecting all broadcast resources, the Audiomatrix gives operators access to programme output buses for both Radio Fribourg and Radio Freiburg, plus auxiliary mixing busses for performances, rehearsals and other special needs. For flexibility and redundancy, twin, interconnected Audiomatrix sections run in parallel: radio and TV studio feeds, plus the Lawo Nova routers, playout PCs and phone systems are connected to Audiomatrix #1 via MADI, and to Audiomatrix #2 via AES67 — making it possible to switch audio seamlessly between studios.
The Audiomatrix also has access to outputs from all three editing studios and a remote feed from the RadioFr OB van. Codec Control software from SLG unifies selection of codecs, phone hybrids and studio feeds, enabling OB talent to remotely access in-house codecs without need for an operator in the main studio.
Another feature unique to MEDIAParc is an audio production setup tailored to the needs of show hosts with impaired vision. Lawo RƎLAY VPB Virtual Patch Bay software, running on audio editing PCs, is programmed to automatically send audio to either the editing suite or one of the on-air studios while simultaneously switching the monitoring, recording and playout sections of the consoles as needed.
“MEDIAParc is the first all-IP media house in Switzerland, and as such it represents the successful realisation of an ambitious vision encompassing cross-media workflows,” said Marc Straehl, CEO of SLG Broadcast AG. “RadioFr wanted all-IP infrastructure for both radio and TV sides of the house. They wanted to virtualise the production environment, so that editorial PCs could contribute programming directly via the network. And they wanted standardised, future-proof solutions. As TV and radio stations share more and more resources, this type of seamless integration is what broadcasters require. Lawo’s standards-based technology, together with SLG technical know-how, helped make the RadioFr vision a reality. We look forward to the design and deployment of many more such projects in the future.”