Professional Wireless Systems Provides Frequency Coordination for Super Bowl XLVI

Feb 7, 2012 1:56 PM


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photo of PWS Super Bowl team

PWS' Super Bowl team at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI

When the pre-game festivities kicked off at Lucas Oil Stadium for Super Bowl XLVI, Professional Wireless Systems (PWS)—a Masque Sound Company and experts in supplying and supporting wireless systems for live and broadcast events—were on hand to ensure interference-free RF management and the handling of the equipment, including the company’s new Domed Helical Antenna, for all of the game's entertainment segments and the referees’ microphones.

Faced with the clutter of several hundred frequencies in use at the showdown between the New York Giants and New England Patriots, the team of experts at PWS employed an arsenal of state-of-the-art gear to make sure the National Anthem, “America the Beautiful,” and half-time extravaganza featuring Madonna all went off without a hitch.

Subcontracted for the event by ATK Audiotek of Valencia, Calif., for the 14th consecutive year, PWS began its work four months prior to the big game. "My first site survey at Lucas Oil Field was in October," says Jason Eskew, project manager for PWS. "At the initial site survey, we picked frequencies and submitted them for approval to the Game Day Coordinators [GDC] without even knowing who the talent was going to be. Essentially, we were charged with laying in a frequency and band plan that would give us the flexibility to cover all of our needs once we actually got to the game."

Tasked with managing frequency coordination, microphones and IEMs for the entertainment segments, Eskew and his team created a flexible frequency plan that would be able to cover the tunable range of the diverse systems, as each performer has preferences and endorsement deals that dictate which make and model wireless systems will be used. “The artist and industry relations folks like Nick Wood at Shure and Tim Moore at Sennheiser bent over backwards to support their artists and equipment,” says Eskew.

What’s more, serving as the overall point of contact for frequency management for ATK, the PWS team worked directly with the GDCs throughout the event. “The Super Bowl is a much more compressed and busy event. Working closely, in this case, on an 8-by-12 platform on the side of the field, we managed 110 frequencies. Next to us were coach intercoms, the NBC stage, NFL Films, NFL Network, Westwood One Radio and many other users,” says Eskew. The NFL’s GDCs acted as the global clearinghouse for frequencies in and around the stadium and as a conduit for the flow of information between all of the various wireless system users at the game. “In fact, there were times when we purposefully timeshared the limited number of ‘good’ frequencies,” says Eskew. “For example, Good Morning America had a 4 a.m. to 9 a.m. call-time on Game Day. Since our call wasn’t until 9 a.m. that day, the GDCs were able to contact the various parties involved and successfully negotiate the use of shared frequencies for GMA. We all try hard to maximize the use of the very scarce spectrum resources available to us in any given city.”

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