Radio has always been a vital source of news and information when crises hit. California’s public broadcasters have traditionally been prepared for nearly any eventuality, such as disasters like earthquakes, floods and wildfires. And now they must be prepared to inform listeners during a pandemic as well.
In San Francisco, NPR member station KQED observed other stations in the U.S. where personnel were unable to access their facilities due to COVID-19 shutdowns, and took action to ensure remote access to their FM‘s Master Control Room and adjacent production facilities.
“We had to ask ourselves what we would do if one of our staff members tested positive for the virus. How would we produce our daily programming if the facilities were off-limits?” says Donny Newenhouse, Executive Director of Broadcast Engineering and Operations at KQED.
“We knew we would need the ability to run our Master Control Room from a remote location. We also needed to remotely-control the three production studios where our daily call-in program, ‘Forum’, originates. All of these rooms have Lawo sapphire mixing consoles, so we called Lawo and asked – how can we do this?”