Good Heads For Radio
KIIS FM Elevates Show with Philips Video Walls
Text:/ Christopher Holder
You can’t use the ‘head for radio’ joke anymore. Thanks to live streaming, social media and YouTube, radio is now a visual medium.
Leading the visual charge, the KIIS FM breakfast and morning shows studio in Melbourne has been utterly transformed with the installation of two video walls comprised of Philips commercial screens.
Prior to the refit of the ARN-owned studio, the KIIS FM breakfast show packages were grainy, poorly lit and generally underwhelming — something they’re quick to admit.
Central to the refit strategy was to replace the worn out, wall-mounted domestic panels in the studio with a larger, wall-to-wall installation of commercial-grade panels that would display the show’s branding. When ARN contacted video wall specialists, Current Projects, it knew their vision for the displays would be a significant investment, but were pleasantly surprised.
ARN Broadcast Engineer, Nick Payne, picks up the story: “We contacted Current Projects actually asking for another brand of commercial display, but Ewa [Zwarenkant] and the team there pointed us in the direction of Philips and we got an incredibly good price in comparison.”
The Philips BDL5588XH 55-inch panels look stunning. They may only be running at some 15% brightness (so as to not compete with the studio lighting in the video packages) but virtually every camera angle now has larger-than-life KIIS branding as its backdrop.
One key factor in the purchasing decision was the Philips screens’ low surface reflection. When you have nine 55-inch panels in a small studio, it’s crucial for the clarity of the video for the screens’ ‘Haze’ value to be low (more matte).
Finally, ARN wasn’t interested in using the screens to achieve any picture-in-picture or other video wall features, the screens needed to be easy to maintain and update. Nick Payne explains: “We’re radio people, not vision people. We didn’t want a media server running the displays, we wanted it to be really easy to use. As it stands we feed the 3×2 video wall with a 4K signal and its automatically split out to the six screens. The branding changes from show to show, but we won’t use it to display video or the grand final.”
KIIS IN LOVE
Only weeks after its installation, already the displays are having a serious impact. The video packages look stunning; the KIIS talent love the look; and management know they’re onto something. “The talent have really fed off the new look, it’s elevated the shows to a new level. We had the national program manager here recently,” recalls Nick Payne. “After seeing the new studio with the Philips video walls he said ‘we’ve got to hide this from Kyle [Sandilands]!’ That’s going to be next: putting this setup into our Sydney studio.”