Moving Along

ClearChannelSanDiegoStoryIt's hard to find a broadcast engineer these days who isn't on the move.

The closest candidate is John Rigg, director of engineering for Clear Channel in San Diego. And by move, we mean actual address move – as in, moving the studios to a new location. Otherwise, we're sure that Rigg is constantly on the move with seven stations and 40 studios under his care in one of the nation's top rated markets.

What we find unique about Rigg, besides his acute sense of humor, is that he's updating Clear Channel's broadcast facility on Granite Ridge Drive one studio at a time. More often, we find that broadcasters make sweeping routing and console changes only when they build out an entirely new facility in a new location. But not Rigg.

He started in January of this year, and when it's all said and done, Rigg will have overlaid a 40-studio analog infrastructure of punch blocks and wiring with IP routing and control surfaces. So far, he's changed out seven of the 40 studios with Wheatstone LX-24 control surfaces, which have been set up to resemble the group's older PR&E analog consoles because, as Rigg pointed out, "Our on-air staff have enough to worry about without us changing consoles on them."

We asked him how an ongoing project of this magnitude is different from the one-off projects he's done in the past. We wanted to know if updating by the studio felt like one big perpetual move-in day requiring major setup routines for every hardware, console or studio added, for example. He said future changes are simpler because of the automated software. "Adding new features or feeds are now software selections rather than reaching for a punch tool," he replied.

That's saying a lot considering Rigg has a 512 channel SAS router that he's integrating with the WheatNet-IP network. He's bringing digital audio in and out of the router with WheatNet-IP (WNIP) BLADEs, which are dynamically assignable on the WNIP network. The network is constantly in a state of flux as studios are added and others are shifted around on the network to make room for more.

We like to think that our WheatNet-IP discovery protocol has been a help to Rigg. As our seasoned WheatNet-IP users know, our AoIP system requires very little setup on the engineer's part. No prompting the system to scan for new devices, no adding new profiles every time there's a new console, and no administrative hassles with every new hardware addition. Just plug in the new BLADE access unit or console or other accessory, and the WheatNet-IP network takes care of it.

Every engineer should be able to move things around so easily.

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