8CCC Radio is a community radio station established in 1981 with a programming focus on the Northern Territory of Australia, on 102.1FM, although today its signal can also be followed online around the world. This region of Australia covers an area of almost 1.5 million square kilometres with a population of barely 240,000, which gives an idea of the immensity of the area as well as how scattered and isolated the localities can be.
At the end of 2020, the management of Radio 8CCC decided to renew the technical equipment of the broadcasting studios with two vital parameters in their idea of technology: robust and user-friendly.
Radio 8CCC has its main studios in Alice Springs with secondary studios in the town of Tennant Creek over 500km further north. In both cases the two locations are a long way from any other population centres in the area, so any technical problems are very difficult to solve, and particularly robust and fail-safe equipment is a must.
In addition, Radio 8CCC runs many of its programmes with volunteer staff without specific radio training, and the equipment and systems that are used need to be extremely easy to operate.
With this idea in mind Radio 8CCC decided to install a new AEQ FORUM IP console in Alice Spring and an AEQ CAPITOL IP audio mixer in the main studio at Tennant Creek.
The CAPITOL IP console installed at Tennant Creek is an 8-channel fixed configuration Digital Audio mixing console. One of the main qualities of the AEQ CAPITOL IP is the large input capacity available: four mic/line, 12 analogue, four digital stereo AES/EBU (AES3), two digital stereo USB, two optional telephone lines, and optional digital multi-channel audio links; 16 AoIP channels over two ethernet connectors or 64 MADI channels input via fibre optics.
CAPITOL output capacity is also important: eight analogue, four digital stereo AES/EBU (AES3), two digital stereo USB, two optional telephone lines, optional digital multi-channel audio links, 16 AoIP channels on two ethernet connectors or 64 MADI channels fibre optic input, control headphones, primary and secondary studio headphones, control monitoring, studio monitoring and special output for CUE pair of speakers.
The FORUM IP console installed at Alice Springs is based on the same technology, but has two fundamental differences due to the fact that this station is the main one:
- Increased input, output and control capacity with 12 faders and four programme buses with direct assignment key, making it easier to handle multiple programmes or recordings simultaneously.
- Improved safety in case of breakdowns. Its modular composition makes it difficult to send the console for repair to Sydney, on the opposite side of the Australian continent. The module is easy to identify so can be replaced easily by the station staff.
The installation, configuration, commissioning and training of the entire project was carried out by Broadcast Components, AEQ’s local partner in the country, located in New South Wales, in a direct line of communication with AEQ’s central technical services in Madrid-Spain.