Non-Commercial Station Installs Audio-Over-Ethernet Studios
13 April 2004, Cleveland Ohio, USA
WEGL-FM, the student-run station at Auburn, Alabama’s Auburn University, was one of the first stations to install an Axia Livewire-powered studio audio network during the winter of 2003. We spoke with Marc Johnson, Chief Engineer of WEGL, to find out more about their Axia system.
Axia: Marc, thanks for your time. Would you tell us a bit about your radio station and how the Axia products are being used?
Marc: WEGL Radio is Auburn University’s student-operated, student-funded, and student-managed radio station. We’re a 3,000-watt Class A non-commercial station at 91.1 MHz, and we’ve been broadcasting since 1971. We have a very diverse staff, giving us the unique ability to put many different musical tastes into our programming. We’re a collection of many formats on one station. Our constant underlying mission is to break new artists before MTV or commercial radio stations.
We built a brand new control room out of one of our old production rooms, so we were able to remain on the air while we installed, tested, and trained our staff on the Axia equipment. We installed an Axia SmartSurface studio controller with Studio Mix Engine, a GPIO Node, and two Analog Line Nodes in our new control room; we’re using two more Analog Line Nodes to tie our existing analog mixing consoles and production rooms into our Axia system.
Axia: So what led you to choose Axia for your new studio?
Marc: Our mixing consoles were severely out-dated and were in need of repairs with parts that were no longer available. So we started looking for a replacement, and we stumbled across this great new technology and decided to go with it. It was no problem convincing Auburn University to go with Axia because WEGL, being a student-run station, is a learning atmosphere; that applies to both on-air and our equipment.
Axia: How did installation go? Did it take a long time?
Marc: The equipment came straight out of the box and was on the air in a matter of hours! The installation could not have gone smoother. I had already run the network cable prior to the equipment arriving, so once we unpacked it, all we did was place the new gear, plug in the power, and connect it to the network. After that, it was ready to go on the air. And let me tell you, the engineering staff was very grateful for the negligible amount of wiring involved — compared to building a studio the old way, this was a complete slam-dunk. They actually made a video of the installation and put it on the Axia website (at www.AxiaAudio.com - Ed.)!
Axia: You sound pretty pleased about the way the equipment went together; did the Axia products themselves meet your expectations?
Marc: Yes. From the overall appearance of the equipment to the functionality of the completed system, the Axia products exceeded all our expectations. There really couldn’t be an easier system to install. Axia was able to take their vision of a networked studio connected with Ethernet and turn it into a quality product. From manufacturing and design to implementation, they gave us a system that continues to exceed our expectations.
Axia: Have you run into any problems with the system?
Marc: Not a major problem, but we did come across one that you might run into if you are incorporating an Axia system into a larger network; it was centered on a multicasting traffic problem with Auburn University’s OIT. Auburn University’s Networking Department didn’t like the fact that the Axia system multicasts ARP packets over the network, so we fixed the problem by having the Axia system’s HP Procurve 2626 switch utilize Layer 3 routing capabilities in order to keep the multicast traffic off Auburn’s network.
Axia: What about the talent? How do they like the new gear?
Marc: They really enjoy it. Any new equipment takes some training, of course, but other than general operational questions, things have been pretty smooth.
Axia: Thanks for your time, Marc.
Marc: My pleasure.
For more information, contact Clark Novak at +1-216-241-7225. You can also browsewww.AxiaAudio.com, or email Inquiry@AxiaAudio.com. Axia products will be displayed in the Telos booth, N1416, at the NAB convention in Las Vegas.
Axia, a Telos company, builds network-based professional audio products for broadcast, production, sound-reinforcement and commercial audio applications. Products include digital audio routers, DSP mixers and processors and software for configuring, managing, and interfacing networked audio systems.