BRUSSELS — Bruzz was launched in April last year, as a joint brand name for FM Brussel, TV Brussel and print magazine Brussel Deze Week (This Week in Brussels).
FM Brussel’s first broadcasts began in 2000 as a college radio station, it then became a professional radio broadcaster, catering to the Brussels area.
“In 2004, we relocated our studios and offices to the former VRT building,” said Karel Feys, one of the station’s founders. “The former ‘studio Flagey’ has great iconic and symbolic value and is the perfect home for a station, where we broadcast from the fourth floor.” According to Feys, the location is ideal for an urban station and, in addition, BRUZZ has access to the national broadcaster’s former Studio 6, which it uses for its TV broadcasts and for occasionally recording “unplugged” sessions.
After joining forces with TV Brussel and Brussel Deze Week under the umbrella “Vlaams-Brusselse Media,” the group created the BRUZZ brand. BRUZZ is subsidized by the Flemish Community and the Brussels Flemish Community commission.
Earlier this year, BRUZZ began building new on-air studios in VRT’s former cafeteria. “We wanted to move the studio closer to BRUZZ’s news and editorial office and make optimal use of the synergy of radio, TV, print and online media,” he said.
The BRUZZ radio landscape was built by Videohouse after winning a public tender. As the main contractor, Videohouse appointed radio infrastructure specialists TVV Sound for the implementation of the audio segment. The new studios were decorated in BRUZZ’s brand imaging colors, black, white and red.
The construction of the new broadcast studios kicked off in May with the transformation of the cafeteria. “To protect the historical value of the building, we had to be careful building the studio. We replaced the existing doors with acoustic doors but, for instance, we kept the old outside windows. This is not the ideal solution in terms of thermal or acoustic insulation but the windows, as protected heritage of the building, give the room extra charm,” said Feys.
“The fact that sometimes one hears the siren of a police car or fire truck could seem disturbing but the city in itself produces quite a bit of noise, such as the Djembé drums on the square at night in front of the building — that’s the sound of Brussels entering the dry acoustics of our on-air studio.”
They also integrated the former main double entrance door into the new studio, explained Feys. “It’s an eyecatcher, offering visitors a great view from the fourth floor’s main hall.”
The broadcaster equipped its on-air studio with a new Axia Fusion modular console and PowerStation controller in combination with a Zenon Media playout system. “The new studio marks the switch to Axia,” said Feys. “This has to do with the great flexibility offered by the Livewire audio network. Livewire has many advantages compared to Dante — they have established a protocol of their own, also with virtual GPO.”
An important feature in the new studio is the implementation of visual radio. Four automated voice-activated Panasonic AW-UE70 cameras, controlled by a Broadcast Pix Mica integrated production switcher and Vox voice-automated control with monitoring in the central control room, have been providing live images with the BRUZZ signal since Sept. 4.
“Without compromising the working environment of our presenters we have been able to introduce visual radio — correct lighting, mic arm stands and displays mounted from below the DJ’s position, bearing in mind the functionalities a self-op studio requires,” said Feys.
“BRUZZ adopted the MusicMaster music scheduling software. Our music programmers still have quite some impact on the music selection: BRUZZ has a typical ‘urban pop sound’ format targeting the dynamic population of the Belgian capital.”
The BRUZZ on-air configuration is completed with FAR Audio monitor speakers, and a Telos VX Prime AoIP telephone hybrid and talk show system. “We use the VX Prime in combination with Skype TX for Radio from Broadcast Bionics. This setup offers maximal flexibility both in talking to our listeners as well as with our reporters,” said Feys.
“Today, we’re also experimenting with WhatsApp, offering close to telephone quality, but we prefer not to take risks and are using Skype TX. Another plus is that we can use the Skype content for TV or online distribution — what you hear is what you see.”
BRUZZ uses Axia Pathfinder control software to create custom panels for studio switching and other monitoring or routing services. This can be done on a tablet, smartphone or any other device. The station’s on-air landscape further consists of two Zenon Media displays, two Axia displays and a large screen display for visual radio and Skype TX conversation items. Zenon Media’s Cartwall software display is used to insert quotes and i