Netherland’s Radio 538 in tune with Lawo

14.02.2017 - 11:01

Talpa Radio is behind some of the most popular radio channels in the Netherlands, and reaches more than 7 million listeners each month – nearly half of the Dutch population.

The broadcaster operates four stations – Radio 538, Sky Radio, Radio 10, and Radio Veronica – broadcasting via FM, DAB+ and satellite, providing another four DAB+/online radio stations, and more than 30 online-only radio stations and one TV channel on digital cable (TV 538). Listeners to Radio 538 and Radio Veronica can watch programs on screen, as they are also visual stations.

After ten years in service, the old NTP digital audio matrix needed to be replaced, and the Talpa Radio team started to look for new equipment. Jens Timmermans, Manager Technical Facilities of Talpa Radio: “We chose Lawo because of the quality. There are more installations in the Netherlands, some nearby, so we could easily research how satisfied other radio stations are with Lawo routing and control equipment. After our orientation phase we invited the Lawo team to give a demo.”

In addition to the replacement, in January 2016, the 538 Groep and the Sky Radio Group announced a joint venture, combining their channels. Timmermans: “When we knew that our company would become as big as described above we also knew that it would become necessary to keep an overview on all the critical signals in our facilities. That is when the combination of Lawo routing and VSM (Virtual Studio Manager) became our solution.”

This larger broadcasting setup is using a Lawo Nova73 at in its main facilities, and a Nova Compact for co-location (distribution to all suppliers). For video and SDI-embedded audio, the team purchased a Lawo V-pro8 solution. The VSM is running on two HP DL320 servers with two GPIO boxes, one hardware panel with rotary encoder, one software panel, and one RS232 box.

“The benefit for us lies in the ability of VSM to connect to our DHD broadcast consoles, Black Magic Videohub 288 and many other pieces of equipment. We are now flexible in the way we use our facilities,” Timmermans says. “Our six radio studios – four main studios and two backup studios – can be allocated according to the most efficient way of use, in combination with our broadcast consoles. Switching via VSM also ensures that, whenever a different studio is assigned to visual radio, the correct station logo is displayed. This is very important with regard to the brand awareness of our listeners and viewers.”