Radio Excellence Awards Winner 2009

April 1, 2009


Radio magazine Excellence Awards logo

The Rick and Bubba Show, heard nationally on more than 50 stations, recently joined the lineup at Cox Radio Birmingham's flagship station WZZK-FM. The show was moved to a new broadcast facility in Vestavia Hills, AL, to develop a complete morning show experience with a live band performance area, audience seating in the studio, and an exterior broadcast plaza area for public viewing.

The 5,000 square foot facility features a complete Harris digital studio solution including VistaMax audio networking, studio consoles, furniture, and various tools for the on-air and production operations. Featuring spacious studios for on-air, production, video control and call screening, the facility provides a fully functional digital studio solution for today with an eye toward future growth through the VistaMax platform.

The VistaMax mainframe and associated processing gear reside in the technical operations center. A T1 link transports programming to New York for national satellite distribution, and an IP connection to the Birmingham headquarters addresses local distribution. The system considerably reduces facility wiring, with clean, centralized routing to and from VistaMax and studio destinations.

All studios feature custom-designed Harris Smoothline furniture to match the size of the operation while also providing a visually appealing presence for TV station cut-ins. The on-air studio is the life of the operation, with plenty of space for the four show players and several guests. A venue-like atmosphere in the studio incorporates a separate space to host live bands and accommodates seating for in-studio audiences.

The Harris RMXdigital was the choice of console for the on-air studio. The RMXdigital features six mix/minus busses that prove very convenient for remote broadcasts. The busses are programmed into the system, so the operator can avoid punching in a matrix of channels. Four assignable program busses allow the operator to feed audio around the facility, including a set of speakers outside the studios.

The on-air operation includes a Telos Twox12 interface drop-in within the furniture surface for bringing phone calls live to air. Harris also provided several of its World Feed Panels to accommodate laptops and other non-traditional source equipment. The World Feed Panel is also ideal for external camera crews. Pre-delay audio feeds to synchronize audio with video from the camera crew are easily assigned over a program bus for camera.

The RMXdigital provides redundancy as a standalone console and can immediately go online in this configuration should VistaMax be taken offline. Most sources are wired directly to the console, including the automation system, an Allen & Heath mixer for live band performances, microphones, ISDN equipment, and traditional source equipment including CD players.



The RMXdigital has an intercom feature allowing players outside the on-air studio to contribute to the on-air program. The show's webmaster, Ryan Greenwood, often contributes to the show over the intercom, which is picked up by the microphones to create a “drive-through” audio effect. Intercom stations are also present in the screener room, production studio, TOC and TV control area.

The production studio features a Harris NetWave eight-channel mixer (NetWave-8). The NetWave-8 serves as an edge device for VistaMax, with three channels used for external audio source selection, and several more to route sources to and from the automation system.

Submitted by

Harris Corporation

Design Team

Cox Birmingham: Tom Scott, director of engineering

Harris Corporation: Nick van Haaster, architectural and interior design, and installation; Todd Peterson, audio infrastructure design

Technology at Work

Acoustical Solutions
Adam A7 Powered Monitors
Avocent KVM Extenders
CBT Classic On Air Light
Harris VistaMax (Audio Management System), RMXdigtal console, NetWave console, VistaMax Intercom System, 3x6 Headphone Distribution Amp, HRK Integrator Racks
Sony Professional Headphones
Symentrix 6200 Dual Channel Processor
Telos Broadcast Telephone System



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