Crucial Components: Sturgis Motorcycle and Mustang Rallies

KNKL-AM Studio001As host of one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the world, Sturgis, S.D., is used to the roar of various engines. Needless to say, the roar of the engines, and of the crowd, poses challenges when it comes to public address systems.

For the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Aug. 9-15, local broadcaster KNKL Radio simulcast its live programming and handled announcements over the PA system from its downtown broadcast studio at The Knuckle Saloon. It will do the same this weekend for the Mustang Rally, Sept. 2-6.

“KNKL broadcast live 38 days this summer for several events including the 38th Annual Cushman Rally for 10 days, the world’s largest motorcycle rally for 17 days, three car shows, and two rodeo weekends where we actually have a PRCA bull riding event in our bar with the top cattle and cowboys in the country,” says Pete Torino, owner and operator at KNKL, who also sets up the outdoor audio for the city of Sturgis. “Next we expect over 1,000 Ford Mustangs to converge for the world’s largest Mustang show for six days.”

011Sturgis Rally Knuckle Saloon011To ensure the broadcast can be heard above the din, the PA system features 16 Technomad weatherproof loudspeakers—eight Berlin and eight Noho—in a four-block area. At first, Torino replaced existing 70V horns in the downtown area with indoor speakers that required constant maintenance.

“The frequency response on the horns was like fingernails on a chalkboard, and I lost several of the speakers due to rain,� Torino says. “I grew tired of running up ladders to cover speakers with plastic sacks. I started adding Technomad loudspeakers, and now cover a four-block area on both sides without trouble. They sound great and have the sufficient SPL levels to overcome 100,000 roaring motorcycles downtown.�

KNKL-AM Studio003KNKL controls the audio via a Sandies Dynamax 6-channel broadcast console, an FMR RNC compressor, 12 stereo ART 31-band EQs, two Rane 16-channel distribution amps, and six QSC power amps.

“I use the Technomads for all the events and leave them up over the winter for the following summer,” Torino says.

Read more about the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

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