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SSL Enters the Eye of the Hurricane

Florida’s WBBH and WZVN stock up on consoles in case of emergency.

Fort Myers, FL (January 23, 2019)—Waterman Broadcasting, owner of Fort Myers, FL-licensed NBC affiliate WBBH-TV and operator of Montclair Communications-owned ABC-affiliated WZVN-TV, has installed two identical Solid State Logic System T audio production consoles in its twin control rooms alongside a Tempest Control Rack for backup and disaster recovery.

“The primary role of the station is news and we do, depending on how you want to count them, 19 to 21 newscasts per day over the two stations” explains Bob Hannon, director of production at Waterman Broadcasting. “The two stations are in one building, the news staffs are in one building, but the shows are produced completely separately. It’s like working in the Ark: We have two of everything.”

Phoenix Goes West with FOH Engineer Matt West

Two identical console systems serve the two channels, each comprising a 32-fader S300 control surface with a T25 256 path engine fitted with 512 channels of I/O. A third system, a Tempest Control Rack (TCR) that can be controlled from a desktop touchscreen, has been installed as a backup.

“We do so much news that we cannot have a single point of failure; it’s that simple,” says Hannon. “We bought one S300 for each control room and then we have a TCR that can go into either control room in case of catastrophic failure.”

This being Florida, during a hurricane event—Irma’s eyewall passed over the facility in 2017—the two stations will start to simulcast and broadcast the same programming out on both channels, although they continue to use both studios while they can. “We bought System T with that in mind,” says Hannon.

“Hopefully, we won’t get another storm till after I’ve retired in 13 years, but if we get pushed into that scenario again, we’ve got a system where we can do everything from one spot; the flexibility of the 300 means that I can work in one control room but access everything in the house. It also lets us use one control room for x amount of time, have the other control room fired up and ready, let them take over, and that give us time to do any preventive maintenance or just let things breathe in the first control room for a little while.”

Solid State Logic •