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Community Plays a Major Role in WHYY’s New Venue

WHYY - closeup of Community iBOX and M12 monitors
WHYY - Interior Photo of Dorrance H. Hamilton Puiblic Media Commons

Philadelphia, PA – Public Broadcasting station WHYY has recently completed the construction of their new, high-tech media annex. The Dorrance H. Hamilton Public Media Commons is a unique venue, designed to educate the regional community on utilizing digital technology for self-expression. The multifunctional space can easily fulfill multiple roles, from broadcast facility to lecture hall, classroom, or movie theater.

Designed by Philadelphia’s KSS Architects, the venue adds 8,000 square feet to WHYY’s existing 60,000 square foot headquarters. The centerpiece of the project is the Lincoln Financial Digital Education Studio. This flexible studio space can host up to 300 participants, and has been designed to allow reconfiguration and relocation of major components within the various systems.

The studio’s audio and technology systems were designed by RJC Designs Inc. Technology Consultants of Glen Burnie, Maryland, who recently won the ProAV 2011 Spotlight Award for the project. Project supply and system integration were performed by Vistacom Inc. of Allentown, PA.

The design includes a speech reinforcement system comprising a dozen Community iBOX i2W8T loudspeakers and two M12-BP floor monitors. The system utilizes a Biamp AudiaFLEX processor and multi-zoned Crown CTs-Series amplifiers to allow for flexible configuration to accommodate various scenarios.

Also part of the design is a second system to provide surround sound for cinema, employing a pair of iBOX iHP3594 three-way mains left and right of the screen, two i2W8 two-way surround speakers in the rear, and a two-way iBOX iHP1226 loudspeaker to cover the center channel. The 120-degree-by-60-degree loudspeaker was created as a custom design for the WHYY facility, but has since become a standard offering in Community’s iBOX series. An iBOX i215LVS subwoofer completes the system. The dual sound systems are both tied into an AMX MVP-8400 control system and accessible via the operators’ AMX console and a wireless AMX NXT-1500VG touch panel. “Inter-operability and flexibility were key in all aspects of the system design,” says Rich Coluzzi, President of RJC Designs.

The control room sports a range of editing and post production equipment, including a Broadcast Pix Granite Series HD production console, Strand Lighting Pallete VL64 lighting console and a Soundcraft Si-3 digital audio desk.

Since opening its doors in the summer of 2010, the venue has hosted hundreds of individuals and groups from the local and regional communities to produce thousands of media events.

“The project’s success was based on a convergence of broadcast, education and media production techniques and technology tools,” explains WHYY’s VP and Chief Technology Officer Bill Weber. “These tools and resources, coupled with expanding content distribution platforms, gave birth to a unique and powerful public resource that continues to demonstrate the value of public media organizations.”

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