Wheat:News May 2023

WHEAT:NEWS May 2023 Volume 14, Number 5



NGroup’s Nostalgie+ became a hip new DAB+ station with a little help from our friends at SAVE Diffusion and this Beatles Abbey Road look-alike promotional campaign.

SAVE Diffusion, France, is a key Wheatstone partner and the systems integrator responsible for the Nostalgie+ new studio in Brussels, the first in the NGroup to go all in with WheatNet-IP. There’s so much about this studio project and this station that exemplify what our business is all about, starting with Nostalgie+ as one of the first DAB+ stations in Belgium. It launched its 55+ nostalgia format in November 2019 with a promotional campaign featuring iconic record covers like “Abbey Road” photoshopped with everyday listeners in place of the actual artists. 

Now, a little over three years later, Nostalgie+ has a market share that rivals top-10 stations in its local community.

Getting an “analog” age group to turn on and tune into digital DAB+ required a creative promotional campaign … and a flexible studio. The Nostalgie+ studio was completed late last year as part of a group-wide project to create new studios and renovate existing ones. The overall project included six studios equipped with a mix of physical and virtual LXE surfaces. We talk to SAVE Diffusion’s Paul Guibouret, who spearheaded the project, about what new workflows and techniques were used to house one of Belgium’s first DAB+ stations. 

WS: Tell us about the different studio requirements for a DAB+ station like this compared to other studios you’ve implemented. 

PG: The launch of a new brand in DAB+ is always full of unknowns, in this case the big one being will it do as well as its big sister, FM Nostalgie? The idea was to start with a small studio with maximum flexibility and scalability once all the new NGroup studios had been created and renovation of the old ones completed. The aim was to share the studios between the group's different brands. Thus, depending on the needs, it is possible to use a larger or smaller studio for Nostalgie+ but also for the other brands.

WS: We understand NGroup is using the AES67 protocol into the WheatNet-IP system. Tell us more about that. 

PG: NGroup already had an IP audio system, which we installed in 2010, so we are using AES67 to integrate some of the equipment they wanted to keep, such as the microphone processing, into the WheatNet IP ecosystem. We set up two AES67 clocks to have redundancy. We implemented the Blade 4s in order to have greater flexibility in the management of the AES67 flows that feed the DAB+ Paneda (multiplexer/encoder). 

WS: What has been the main advantage of adding WheatNet IP? 

PG:  As I mentioned, NGroup has been using another AoIP system since 2010, the main problem of which is the centralization of its intelligence. With the WheatNet IP system we have distributed AoIP intelligence. This is a real advantage that gives us maximum security and simpler deployment because the intelligence that we embed in a console, for example, is easily replicable in another console. In the event that one of the devices in the ecosystem fails, only its resources are removed from the system. This has no impact on the other capabilities distributed in each of the elements in operation. 

WS: How did that change the way you set up the Nostalgie+ studio in particular?

PG: With this new studio and the change of AoIP technology, we can take into account the new demands (multi-brand studio, studio bypass, simplicity of operation for users, etc.). For example, we decided that the LXE Wheatstone console would be the “conductor of the orchestra.” It is from its screen that the user chooses the brand that will be broadcast from the studio at that time, and it is this choice that will determine the right playlist on the different media of the brand (FM, DAB +, WEB, and so forth). The RCS system is also dependent on what the user chooses on the LXE in order to open up the workspace of the brand in question. All this was not possible with the old AoIP system.

WS: We understand that one of the challenges was getting as much as possible into a small space, and it was a “tour de force” getting a workable studio. Explain. 

PG: The Nostaglie+ studio is not very big, yet it must have the same functionality as a big studio. To optimize the space, we opted for a mixed control surface. All the main faders are physical, and we use the Glass LXE software for the virtual faders of the auxiliary sources like codecs.

WS: Were there other virtual tools and techniques you used to get more function out of the system? 

A01 2 Nostalgie ONAIRPG: Yes. We created several screens using Screenbuilder. One was for the studio part, which tells the users which brand is on-air for this studio. 


And two others were designed for the technical team in order to give them a real-time view of the state of the different studios and the audio chain of the different brands.

Nostalgie AudioChain


Nostalgie AudioChain

WS: Tell us about SAVE Diffusion. We know you as one of the most experienced integrators we’ve worked with here at Wheatstone. What skills do you bring to studio buildouts? 

PG: SAVE Diffusion is known as a pioneer in the integration of AoIP solutions for French radio stations. We realized our first integration in 2006 and we now offer Wheatstone, the most complete AoIP studio system in the industry. Our team has an exceptional reputation for robust and scalable infrastructures. We provide on-site integration, skills transfer, and technical assistance.  

SAVE Diffusion will be showing off the Wheat at this year’s Les Villes Du Radiotour, with stops in Lille on June 1, Toulouse on October 5, and Marseille on November 16. SAVE Diffusion also offers detailed one-on-one training and product presentations remotely. For details, contact Paul Guibouret at pguibouret@savediffusion.fr


 Bonneville SF

Managing the logistics of a single studio project is one thing, but managing projects in various stages at six locations? There were certainly pain points as Bonneville’s engineering team stepped deeper into the systems integrator role to renovate studios for all 22 stations in six markets. 

For example, the San Francisco project couldn’t be broken out into phases and had to go all in at once because of a hard cutover into a new facility… just as COVID hit. “San Francisco was a big one because we were removing and downsizing square footage and then COVID hit, so it was hard to bring in people and get things done in time,” recalled Jason Ornellas, Regional Director of Technology for Bonneville International.  

Then, as San Francisco wound down, phase one began in Sacramento as they built out the WheatNet-IP core infrastructure and brought RCS Zetta automation online in the existing facility. “Most of the core we did all in phase 1, so when we brought in more consoles and more Blades, it was all plug and play. We had all our core built in and all our IPs built in, so as we added to the WheatNet environment it all auto populated as designed,” he added. 

Next up: a three-month marathon installing two markets all in one quarter, back-to-back, with less than a two-week break in between.

“Phoenix and Seattle both have sports stations, and they intermingle, so it didn’t really make sense to spread that out; we couldn’t very easily change out half of the system,” explained Bonneville Regional Director of Technology Aaron Farnham, referring to sports station 98.7 in Phoenix and Seattle Sports 710 AM.  “It was a pain point for a few weeks as we went through everything in one shot. That was the best way to handle interconnectivity issues, whereas if we tried to spread that out it would just create three times the work.” 


Bonneville SeattleThe six-market studio project was one of Bonneville’s most ambitious group projects (for background, read last month’s Bonneville on Being Their Own Systems Integrator). The engineering team started with Bonneville International’s headquarters in Salt Lake City, home to iconic KSL News and where Farnham knew the operation like the back of his hand, right down to the idiosyncrasies of each talent. They established what was working and what wasn’t in the facility’s current state. Wheatstone’s senior sales engineer Jay Tyler sketched out rough workflows from the WheatNet-IP ecosystem of 200+ elements, with input from Sacramento CE Joe Foft as the one in the group most experienced with Wheatstone studios. 

They “WheatNet-ized” three on-air rooms and a few auxiliary spaces in the first phase. For phase two, they jumped to the second floor, and completed five more on-air studios and a handful of production rooms. They finalized the last of the production rooms in phase three, for a total of 17 studios, including a new podcast studio with backup control room for popular Bonneville podcasts such Cold, an Amazon original.  

To roll out the plan to five other markets, regional engineers Farnham and Ornellas became the senior project managers to market CEs Robert Fields, Joe Foft, David Liu, David Hertel, Josh Harstad and Brad Hart. 


Bonneville Denver

Using the Salt Lake City location as a guide, each market CE evaluated his facility and workflows and then designed a facility that worked for their market and talent. Components included talent stations, button panels, mic processors, and scripting software, plus a number of technology brands for integrating existing codecs, camera automation, and audio editors into the WheatNet-IP audio network through the ACI protocol. 

“We wanted to standardize but we didn’t want it to be cookie cutter one location to the next; we knew there would be differences,” said Ornellas. 

Bringing all those building blocks together into one standardized system that would serve the entire group as well as each individual station in each of the six markets required several layers of teamwork. 

Team building was nothing new to the Bonneville culture. In recent years, CE duties and IT duties were tightly interwoven to create a more shared ownership of the final broadcast product, balancing RF, IT and engineering management. “There’s tight integration between the IT lead in each market, known as the Technology Solutions Engineer, and the CE who mainly handles the RF and engineering management in each market. We want our Chiefs to cross over to IT and our IT to cross over to RF,” said Ornellas.  

The more they can grow the team through knowledge and training, he said, the more it benefits the company in shared resources. For a project of this magnitude, that same thinking extended beyond the Bonneville walls, to its vendors like Wheatstone. 

“Jay, Andy and the technicians at Wheatstone know the system. Our market engineers know the workflows for their stations and their markets. All that, combined with Aaron and I keeping it all moving in a certain direction, made this project possible,” observed Ornellas. 

When it came time to stage each location’s entire pre-configured WheatNet-IP system at the Wheatstone factory, market CEs were flown into New Bern for a final run-through and signoff. “Our Chiefs were able to go over the entire system at the factory before it shipped. If they had a question, they could just walk over to the technician there and they could push buttons and know what talked to what. That made things go a lot smoother when the system arrived onsite for installation,” said Ornellas. 

That one-on-one also resulted in valuable feedback for Wheatstone, which in turn resulted in several product enhancements. 

One such enhancement was the addition of an LXE console headphone panel for conveniently plugging in headphones.  “(Wheatstone Technology Manager) Andy Calvanese drafted up the headphone panel with us and in two days, it was manufactured and shipped. That’s the beauty of the kind of partnership we have with Wheatstone,” said Ornellas. 

Another enhancement was the use of touchscreens in place of the console meterbridge. “We now have these three-channel LXE wedges that each have their own screen that looks like a meterbridge but are actually touchscreens,” said Farnham. 

Market engineers were given documentation showing each console, I/O Blade, and Ethernet switch with wiring and signal flow throughout, which was used as the blueprint for installation and will be updated periodically as new additions and signal flows are added. 

Check back here next month as Bonneville engineers reach the top of the learning curve to finish out all six markets.

Planning a studio project? Download our new ebook Studio Project Planning Guide for tips on design and project flow.


NAB Booth

WHEAT IS IN THE HOUSE:  Quite a few new studio projects got their start here, in booth W3000, where broadcasters met with our studio experts, support technicians and R&D engineers to bounce around ideas and experience what’s new in console and virtual surfaces, AoIP routing and control, and cloud software applications. The NAB show is a great opportunity for our customers to meet the development engineers who design their consoles and studio systems. This year, our cloud development engineers were on hand to talk about new broadcast server and cloud applications that can be added on at any time. 

LAYERS STREAM RUNNING ON AWS: New this NAB show − Layers Stream running on AWS. Here’s Jay Tyler with a quick explainer of Layers Stream, one of the first practical uses of cloud for broadcast demonstrating stream provisioning, audio processing, and metadata support. Shown are streaming instances running in AWS data centers, all controlled through a browser-like user interface.

Layers Stream is part of the Wheatstone Layers Software Suite and won an NAB 2023 Radio World Best of Show award.

 Nab voice 1 lion JK two handed

ONE FOR EACH HAND: Here, our Jeff Keith is showing off two compact processors that we introduced at the show, the Audioarts Voice1 voice processor on the left and the Audioarts Lion FM/HD audio processor on the right. This is the first show for our mighty Lion, which really rocked the booth with its impressive new processing algorithms, and a first for Voice1, a nice little voice processor that goes easy on the budget. 

 NAB John Davis

JOHN DAVIS TALKS CLOUD AT BEIT: John Davis covered key factors for a successful studio cloud migration plan in his session during the NAB BEIT conference. As a Wheatstone technical support engineer who spends a good amount of time in the field helping our broadcast customers with studio projects, Davis give us several pointers on server software, backup sites and other practical solutions for easing into a more software centric operation. 


NUG EYE OPENER: It wouldn’t be an NAB show without a NUG gathering. Several hundred broadcasters showed up to the annual Nautel User Group. Here, our esteemed Radio World editor Paul McLane opened NUG with his observations on AI and what’s new at the show, including Wheatstone’s new Lion audio processor and Layers Stream running on AWS. 

NAB VoxPro  

VOXPRO ON BOARD:  This is what happens when you listen to your customers! Brian Kerkan with Z Ministries, Florida, wondered if we could integrate the VoxPro controller into his new LXE console. And since we happen to have fabrication, engineering, and manufacturing all under one manufacturing roof, why not? Sketch VoxProHe sketched it out (shown above) and along the way, added a touchscreen. (“Because a multi-function screen is perfect for things like switching between the call controller and VoxPro editor,” said Kerkan). Just about everyone agreed that VoxPro is right at home as part of the LXE console. 

FADER ON DOWN TO THE RADIO.CLOUD BOOTH: When we weren’t “clouding” around in the Wheat booth with our Layers Stream, we checked in on our LXE console surface and our friends in the Radio.Cloud booth. Here’s founder Christian Brenner doing some cool synchronized fader moves with our LXE console at the Radio.Cloud booth and his software running in AWS. 

Just before the NAB Show, we announced a unique partnership with Radio.Cloud that makes it possible to produce live shows entirely in the cloud from an LXE console in the studio or a Glass LXE virtual console from anywhere in the world. (Read Cloud Control Just Got a Lot More ‘Handy). 

Best of Show

BEST OF SHOW CLOSER: We're especially proud of this year’s Best of Show award recognizing our Layers Stream software. Wheatstone engineers have always bridged that gap between broadcast and IT, but this year's cloud achievement with our new Layers Stream running on AWS is a huge bridge to cross for our industry. Congratulations to our cloud R&D engineering team and to our many customers who continue to believe in us.



As you’ve no doubt heard by now, MaxxRadio was broadcasting live interviews on a local HD channel and online at maxxradionow.com from the Las Vegas Convention Center. Josh Bohn and his company, The MaxxKonnect Group, ran MaxxRadio from a WheatNet studio and even did a “remote” broadcast every now and then.


MaxxRadio Live
Program originated from this L-12 console and routed via Tieline Gateway and MaxxKonnect Prioritized LTE routers to TMG’s HQ in Alabama. It then routed through their onsite WheatNet system, and then on to Beasley’s studios in Las Vegas, also a full Wheat shop, before going to the transmitter site and out to air on KKLZ’s HD2 channel. By the way, that’s Wheatstone furniture and the MG-1 processor on the main mic. And in the racks are our M4IP mic processor and two SS8 button panels that are doing the switching for programming and monitoring at the booth.

The MaxxKonnect Group The MaxxKonnect Group is a proud Wheatstone integration partner. Visit www.maxxkonnect.com or call Josh or Joe at 205-598-1200 to see how they can help with your next Wheaty project!

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The Wheatstone online store is now open! You can purchase demo units, spare cards, subassemblies, modules and other discontinued or out-of-production components for Wheatstone, Audioarts, and VoxPro products online, or call Wheatstone customer support at 252-638-7000 or contact the Wheatstone technical support team online as usual. 

The store is another convenience at wheatstone.com, where you can access product manuals, white papers and tutorials as well as technical and discussion forums such as our AoIP Scripters Forum

Compare All of Wheatstone's Remote Solutions

REMIXWe've got remote solutions for virtually every networkable console we've built in the last 20 years or so. For basic volume, on/off, bus assign, logic, it's as easy as running an app either locally with a good VPN, or back at the studio, using a remote-access app such as Teambuilder to run.

Remote Solutions Video Demonstrations

Jay Tyler recently completed a series of videos demonstrating the various solutions Wheatstone offers for remote broadcasting.

Click for a Comparison Chart of All Wheatstone Remote Software Solutions


Have you seen the latest smart studio trends? Discover expert tips, surprising uses for AoIP Blades, 6 common studio gotchas, and how to be aware of little expenses. A must-read before you begin your studio project.


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Putting together a new studio? Updating an existing studio? This collection of articles, white papers, and brand new material can help you get the most out of your venture. Best of all, it's FREE to download!


IP Audio for TV Production and Beyond


For this FREE e-book download, we've put together this e-book with fresh info and some of the articles that we've authored for our website, white papers, and news that dives into some of the cool stuff you can do with a modern AoIP network like Wheatstone's WheatNet-IP. 

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