The 2022 Latin Billboard Awards, staged live from the Watsco Center in Coral Gables, Florida, was an ambitious production, made just a bit more fraught as Hurricane Ian approached the peninsula. Fortunately, the weather event did not hit the Miami area directly – although it did cause the red-carpet event to move indoors.
For the live broadcast by Telemundo, Maryland-based East Shore Sound was brought in to ensure seamless communications for all portions of the production, including all elements of the awards show inside the arena, as well as the OB trucks from Game Creek Video handling the broadcast feed and live music mixing, plus the red-carpet truck. As always, East Shore Sound relied on an RTS ADAM-M frame and RTS TM-10K Trunk Master to connect all aspects of the production.
Bill Saltzer, East Shore founder and President, was on hand to bridge all intercoms into a single system. “Basically, we bring in an independent RTS system that drives all the hardwired intercom stations around the venue, as well as the wireless intercoms,” he explains. “We tie that to the intercom systems in the trucks and any remote locations. We use RTS because it can interface with any other intercom system and everyone in the industry is familiar with it. Most times, as is the case with Game Creek, there’s already an RTS system onboard, so it’s straightforward. By creating a Dante network using an RTS digital matrix and Trunkmasters to connect the matrix frames, we create one giant, cohesive comms system.”
Arriving on site a week before showtime, East Shore Sound ensured connectivity by adding RTS OMNEO and MADI cards to each frame as needed, all with fiber optic and CAT-5 cabling. This allows connection of RTS keypanels in all locations, enabling a Dante network for comms distribution, including third-party Dante beltpacks and hardware.
This year, East Shore Sound augmented its usual selection of RTS KP-5032 and KP-4016 keypanels with its latest acquisition – the DBP (Digital Beltpack). In essence, the DBP is a portable keypanel that can be plugged in anywhere on the system and instantly have full functionality. Even better, they deliver four-channel functionality while utilizing only one matrix crosspoint. Across the production, East Shore Sound used about 30 DBP units, largely for stage managers, spotlights, camera operators and rigging crew.
“What I love about the new DBP is that if somebody has to change locations, you don’t have to re-plumb that signal,” explains Saltzer. “All you do is plug it into a different distributed PoE switch on our network and the channels come back just as they were. It’s fantastic.”
According to Saltzer, the RTS TM-10K Trunk Master is another critical component, enabling dynamic routing so any two parties can talk privately when needed. “During load-in, we set up the Trunk Master to communicate with all three frames independently. We then set up all the audio paths that might be needed during the rehearsals and event.”
In this way, any user on the system can request point-to-point connection to another user, with the RTS Trunk Master allocating an audio path to that private conversation. When the discussion is over, that path then becomes available for other uses.
From an operational standpoint, Saltzer also loves the fact that RTS can solve problems quickly: “For example, during rehearsals we had a report of a beltpack that wasn’t working. Because you can see connectivity in the IPEdit configuration software, we were able to confirm connection and pinpoint the issue within about five seconds. That ability to quickly diagnose and solve problems during a live broadcast is invaluable.”
JC Aguila, Network Technical Manager for Telemundo, manages audio production for the Latin Billboard Awards and many other remote events for the network. He reports the production was a huge success. “As always, RTS intercoms played a key role behind the scenes. Bill Saltzer and the East Shore Sound team have been on our team since 2000, taking all the stress off my plate, even as the production has grown. It confirms my belief that great intercoms are the best investment you can make to ensure an outstanding live remote like the Latin Billboard Awards.”
RTS equipment list (East Shore Sound):
1x ADAM-M frame (64 analog ports)
3x OMI 64 card (OMNEO matrix interface)
2x MADI-2 64 card (multichannel audio digital interface)
2x RVON 16 card (RTS voice over network)
1x TM-10K Trunk Master
12x KP-5032 keypanel
18x KP-4016 keypanel
9x KP-32 keypanel with OKI cards (OMNEO keypanel interface)
32x DBP (Digital Beltpack)