July 3, 2014 - The BBC has introduced what it is calling "virtual" local radio stations. All shared technology will be consolidated in a remote data center while still allowing the local radio stations to operate independently and serve their communities.
One big advantage to this approach is a much quicker refresh of technology across the local radio station network as equipment ages. The average time required to update the technology of a local radio station will drop from as many as eight months to as little as eight weeks.
The new "virtual" studios will look and function much like traditional broadcast studios but with far less equipment located at the local station. Presenters (hosts), production, and editorial teams will still have complete control over the mixing, editing, and play-out systems.
With the "core" equipment now centralized, software updates can be installed without visiting each site individually. In addition, these "virtual" radio stations can be quickly deployed almost anywhere, such as festivals or breaking news events.
The BBC's Northampton location is the first to go live with the new "virtual" technology.