BBC Depended on Dante for U.S. Election

The BBC World Service established a temporary production and distribution facility within its Washington, D.C. bureau for the U.S. Presidential campaign, utilizing Dante networking to manage and deliver live coverage to radio audiences worldwide.
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Washington, D.C. (December 9, 2016)—The BBC World Service established a temporary production and distribution facility within its Washington, D.C. bureau for the U.S. Presidential campaign, utilizing Dante networking to manage and deliver live coverage to radio audiences worldwide.

The use of Dante by the BBC World Service—the world’s largest international broadcaster—contrasted with its use of a legacy contribution and distribution architecture for live U.S. presidential election coverage four years ago. “It’s a big difference when you remove the labor of running hundreds of copper analog audio circuits,” said Matthew Page, engineering manager, BBC. “Four years ago, we had three broadcast studios sharing contribution sources, all connected by copper multicores, analog talkbacks and analog audio routers to switch mix-minus feeds. That was a lot of equipment and heavy cable, all of which had to be connected on site.

“This year, we configured most of the equipment in London, then connected it on site with readily available and inexpensive network cabling. We saved hundreds of hours of rigging and testing on location, and thousands of British Pounds overall. It was lightweight enough to mostly carry on the plane, which reduced our shipping costs by 80 percent.”

The complete system featured 17 Dante-enabled devices including 128x128 intercom/IFB, AES and analog I/O and broadcast mixing consoles, all enabling the distributed routing of hundreds of circuits with built-in redundancy for immediate failover to a secondary network.

Inside the facility, the Dante network supported connectivity between the temporary studio in the basement-level conference room and smaller studios in the main bureau on the eighth floor. “We had Dante connectivity between our talkback panels in the temporary facility, and our intercom matrix in the main bureau,” said Page.

Dante was also used to route over 30 incoming contribution feeds, with associated mix-minus, from various IP and ISDN codecs.

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