Radio Lonsdale now has two studios in use: The Keith Cammack (KC) Studio (our main Studio 1) and the Ron Duxbury (RD) Studio, which is our back up or production studio.
Each studio is equipped with a 20 channel, Soundcraft RM105 audio mixer, brand new in Studio 2 and fully refurbished in Studio 1. Studio One has three identical Audio Technica condenser mics, whilst Studio Two has two Behringer C-1 condenser microphones.
A red “Mic Live” lamp indicates outside each studio whenever a presenter activates any microphone fader. Telephone hybrids enable us to connect callers either live on air or in private mode.
The studios now have the use of a new automated playout system called Myriad v.4 and a brand new computer network, at a total cost of over £4,000. This software programme means that we can continue to entertain our patients even when there is nobody in the studios and to set automated schedules for months ahead.
Our music database is stored on a 4 bay NAS drive in our music library. This unit contains four separate but identical hard disks. Adding a new track means that it is automatically stored on all four drives. Lose a hard drive – no problem as our database it still stored on the remaining three drives – as happened recently! The replacement drive automatically copies identical data and music files from the other drives.
Of course, Radio Lonsdale has to provide continuous entertainment for patients even in the silent hours when they are unable to sleep. Therefore we purchased a device called a ‘Guard Dog’. No we have not gone bonkers and they don’t allow pets in Furness General Hospital! Our ‘dog’ monitors the sound output from the main studio and automatically switches to the second studio in the event of a loss of output, for whatever reason. In the unlikely event of a further studio failure the ‘dog’ switches to a long playing CD player. We can also switch manually between both studios for sports coverage or outside broadcasts. In addition our clever ‘dog’ can send an alarm text to any smart phone, so that the engineering team can access our systems via Teamviewer software, and reset 99% of faults from home.
For outside broadcasts we now use a Behringer X1204 digital USB mixer and the superb Tieline Commander G3 Field Codec to send speech or audio to and from the rack mounted Tieline IP Codec in the studios in Furness General Hospital. The output from the Field Codec can be sent via a wired Ethernet system or a 4G mobile network. Our sport is now also streamed via our website and to our community radio partners, CandoFM, at their Furness College studios. Further details of our streaming set up are available on this website.
If the internet ever fails we can fall back on to the tiny I-Rig Pre, a small battery powered amplifier that enables good quality speech from a mobile telephone.
Separate cases are permanently set up for both sports and concerts, meaning that our presenters just have to pick up the correct case! Sports commentators use our excellent Coles 4104 Lip Microphones with Beyer-Dynamic DT100 headphones. All of the ear pads on the headphones have been replaced with the soft cotton pads.
We occasionally provide PA set ups for events such as the NHS tent at the Westmorland Show. Our new Behringer I-Nuke 6000 amplifier can provide a total of 6000 Watts of power if required, more than enough for most small events! We have a second, older & much heavier, Peavey amplifier as a back up if a larger spread of sound is needed.
Radio Lonsdale has two sets of wireless microphones for use at special events. One is a two microphone UHF set and the other a digital wireless microphone system that uses very high frequency mobile telephone DECT technology – ideal for use where there are a number of media companies using competing wireless microphones.
The station has a set of PMR radios (walkie talkies) for use at the K2B and other outdoor events. Around the hospital we use the superb Vocera units to communicate with each other. These utilise the NHS WiFi system and enable us to set up a three way communications link with our studio.
January 2017 saw the full refurbishment of our main studio, the KC studio, with new carpets and modern open plan furniture. The desk speakers were replaced by higher powered ceiling speakers and the NHS have installed a lovely new external fire door. Along with the repaired radiator, it’s now lovely and warm in winter! We added larger and additional computer monitors, providing our presenters with access to up to date information at the touch of a button, along with keyboards for the visually impaired. The station has also purchased a 4 channel headphone amplifier, so that guests now have individual control of volume and their own graphic equalizer controls!
During 2016, The National Lottery Awards for All Scheme donated almost £7,300 to equip us with new Tieline IP Audio Codecs, an intelligent 4G aerial and IP (internet) telephones. These enable instant two way communications with our Outside Broadcast units, meaning even more LIVE broadcasts to the hospital!
Radio Lonsdale now has the use of four Coles 4104 noise cancelling lip microphones which have already proved to be a great purchase and can be used at any event where noise may be a problem! These were used very successfully during the 2016 “Mince Pie” run, where we visited all of the wards and delivered mince pies or Christmas cake to every patient. The studio anchor played seasonal tracks which were received on the IP Codec and played out on battery operated portable speakers. Our volunteers then took part in the show, introducing patients’ music requests live from the ward. The Coles lip microphones ensured that there was no audio feedback as our roving presenters operated near the speakers.