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Firehouse Fires Up RF for NBA All-Star Weekend

Firehouse Productions tackled RF duties for multiple broadcasts surrounding and including the game.

Chicago, IL (February 28, 2019)—Firehouse Productions, working with wireless spectrum managers Frequency Coordination Group (FCG), delivered audio to TNT, TBS and NBA-TV during the recent 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte, NC.

Cameron Stuckey of Firehouse was the primary RF technician, designing the wireless antenna system and managing frequencies assigned by FCG. “From the first game on Friday through the post-game awards on Sunday night, All-Star Weekend is a pretty hectic event,” said Stuckey. “There’s always something going on, and it’s our job to be prepared. Obviously, equipment choice is a key aspect to making it all happen.”

Behind the Scenes of the Grammys’ Live Sound

To that end, Firehouse supplied 24 channels of Shure Axient Digital as primary wireless systems. Half of those were dedicated to on-court music events, including pregame and halftime entertainment for all the weekend’s events, highlighted by the halftime show by hip-hop artist J. Cole on Sunday night. In-ear monitors for musical performances were all Shure PSM 1000 systems, with eight transmitter channels available to feed 16 P10R bodypack receivers.

“One thing we love about Axient Digital is its channel density,” says Stuckey. “That gives us the flexibility we need to pack channels closer together if we need to and makes it easier for the frequency coordinator to accommodate the systems brought in by visiting media and musicians.”

Eight more channels of Axient Digital were dedicated to tangential events around the games themselves, such as player introductions, bench reporters, fan interactions like T-shirt giveaways and dance cam, as well as the final award ceremony. The remaining Axient Digital channels were used by TBS for a special Saturday broadcast of the NBA web series Area 21, featuring live commentary on the skills challenge, 3-point, and slam dunk competitions by retired all-stars Charles Barkley and Rasheed Wallace with host Kevin Garnett.

Most of the Axient Digital systems in use were handhelds, with Shure KSM9 condenser microphone elements topping 17 AD2 transmitters. AD1 bodypack systems were used for the guitar and bass players accompanying Anthony Hamilton’s soulful rendition of the National Anthem and for hands-free miking of the Area 21 participants.

In addition, six channels of analog Shure Axient were deployed for TNT broadcast use.

Shure •