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Lawo and its local partner GloCom have helped Bahrain Radio revamp its studios. With seven radio stations, the broadcaster embarked on the modernization project to update its facilities and bring them into the digital realm. Its entire facility has been refurbished, from nine radio studios and control rooms to the master control room and central apparatus room, with a parallel overhaul of furniture, equipment, automation systems, radio library and acoustics.
Dubai systems integrator GloCom was tasked with the overhaul in the midst of the pandemic lockdown. “This project was contracted to us in October 2019, but COVID-19 resulted in severe challenges in terms of shipments, permits to work on-site and so on – but we worked closely with the customer and our logistics team to circumvent this,” explained Zahid Mirza, president and chairman at GloCom Ltd.
“There were also technical and operational complexities for GloCom to address. The channels were on air. Shifting one studio system to the other and ensuring people were happy with the set-up and removing the bulk of spaghetti wire was quite challenging.”
The project was signed off in October 2020. For GloCom, one of the biggest challenges was managing the workflow of the Quran station. “With our highly qualified engineers, and with support of the MIA team, we achieved that without an operator. With the successful integration of the RCS automation and Lawo, all the stations played the Azan on time for one calendar year, without any delay.”
GloCom also digitized the department’s radio library archive.
From Analog to Digital
By deploying digital solutions in all areas of the facility, the radio section of the Ministry of Information Affairs (MIA) has essentially migrated out of an analog environment, notes a press release.
“Bahrain Radio is one of many projects the MIA has completed in recent months, with more due for completion this year and next,” said Eng Abdulla Ahmed Abalooshi, assistant undersecretary for Technical Affairs at the MIA.
“Our radio station and studios were built in 1980. They were really old, and we used to have the occasional breakdown with no support available for them. All our FM and AM stations are processed in these studios and go through the MCR; our radio channels are also available on satellite and OTT. With this project, we have transferred our entire radio technology to a digital platform and have added a few elements that will make life easier for the production people in our radio department,” he explains.
At the core of the set-up is a Lawo-based MADI architecture that covers all seven on-air studios and allows the control room to serve as a self-operating studio.These on-air studios can also be connected to two of the production studios for music or drama. A third production studio has been redesigned for mix-mastering. All seven on-air studios are designed to enable any FM station to log in and go live from any studio.
The Master Control Room includes a 15 FM station automation system with full redundancy, which allows the department to scale up in the future and add another six FM stations. It also includes four 80’’ LED walls, a new Lawo VisTool for audio monitoring and a Lawo VSM monitoring solution. The facility replaced its legacy Dalet system with the latest radio automation system from RCS.
The studios are connected with the MCR through fiber (MADI) with physical AES/ANA cables for redundancy. The CAR was also designed with a centralized audio router (MADI) from Lawo.