KVM over IP radio studio installation

A KVM over IP radio studio has been installed at the Belgian radio station NRJ.  "During the design and research for the new facilities we had to take into account that we wanted to achieve maximum compatibility with the current on-air studios of Nostalgie and the future NRJ studio", says Luk De Groote, technical manager of both radio stations.

De Groote decided to collaborate with RadioStudio.be, a company that specializes in the integration and rental of broadcast equipment and Intronics, specialist in KVM solutions.

Extra scalability through use of IP network

“The message was clear,” said Callebaut. “NRJ België wanted a futureproof on-air solution with full AoIP and compatibility. I suggested we use Lawo’s Ravenna-compatible technology for the two new studios. The keyword was scalability. In the past, you had a specific console or audio matrix and a fixed number of in/out’s. Today, we’re talking IP — the only limit being the bandwidth of your network.”

The assignment included the building, installation, acoustic design and technical integration of two studios for NRJ, with the option to use one for Nostalgie in a DHD setup. All content sources had to be interchangeable between the twin facilities and both radio products, requiring seamless, swift switching between both, without the audience noticing.

Both studios were equipped with scalable systems that NRJ Belgium needs: to increase the number of simultaneous channels from 10 to 35, without the need for additional devices.

Adderlink offers flexibility and minimal latency

“We started from the basic idea not to have one single computer in the on-air studio,” underlined De Groote. “Software and systems that are running in the studio are connected over IP via KVM to the master control room.

Intronics supplied the KVM system. “The big advantages of implementing KVM are security, with all sources in a climate-controlled and dust-free environment, ergonomics (one module in the on-air room instead of computers), and multitasking, allowing multiple users to work simultaneously on the system, from any location,” explained Yves Van Hullebusch, account and project manager KVM at Intronics Belgium.

“For NRJ, we used the Adderlink XDIP PoE models from Adder Technology: Six pairs of compact KVM receiver modules per studio, running completely over IP with a minimal latency of less than 25 ms. The system is extremely flexible as you don’t need any management servers — it can be expanded by means of Layer 2 switches. Every module is a standalone power-over-Ethernet unit, functioning either as transmitter or receiver. NRJ België’s on-air studio is among the first in Belgium implementing the XDIP solution, as it is a new platform.”

In the NRJ studios, 30 Adderlink XDIP units are used to display full HD images from the computers located in the MCR, on six screens. Two are configured for DJs or co-hosts and two have Zenon playout software, an editing screen for recordings, and a multipurpose screen to select a common source like the MultiCAM Radio system or a clone of the Zenon playout screen.

In less than two months, a completely new FM channel network has been built up from scratch. A lot of attention has been paid to the design of the network in order to guarantee maximum coverage within the criteria of the license.

Visual radio: radio broadcast on tv

With one of NRJ’s owners being SBS Belgium, operating three TV channels in Flanders, the introduction of visual radio was evident. “NRJ’s morning show, hosted by Kim and Michaël, runs on the ZES TV channel between 6–9 a.m. using a MultiCAM Radio visual radio system,” said De Groote. “We are already using the system for Nostalgie using an AES soundcard. We moved three Panasonic AW-HE130 HD SDI cameras to NRJ’s on-air studio and installed the Lawo R3LAY VSC, capturing the audio feed for AoIP.”

“It’s been 10 years since a new radio station in Flanders was launched and it’s amazing we managed to get NRJ on the air in such a short time span,” commented Tom Klerkx, managing director for NRJ and Nostalgie, “I’m proud of our tech team, who did the job. The basic product is now on track and we’ll continue refining the details in the coming months.”

About NRJ

NRJ is a Belgian radio station that has been broadcasting digital (DAB+, digital TV, streaming) in Flanders since September 2018. NRJ broadcasts from Antwerp and is a sister channel of Nostalgie. Both channels are owned by SBS Belgium and the publishing house Mediahuis.

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