Flashback Friday: Advanced AV Assists Ryan Seacrest Foundation

For this week’s edition of Flashback Friday, go inside the first broadcast center of its kind inside Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Seacrest opens the 8th studio today at Children’s Hospital in Boston.

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On this Flashback Friday, we pay tribute to the great work the Ryan Seacrest Foundation is doing at children’s hospitals around the U.S. The foundation opened its first broadcast studio in Philadelphia in 2011, with some help from Advanced AV. They opened their eighth studio today at Children’s Hospital in Boston, and we can expect many more based on the predictions in this story from a few years ago.

Advanced AV was only involved in the frantic final two months before opening the Ryan Seacrest Foundation‘s (RSF) new broadcast center in Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Even so, the West Chester, Penn.-based company definitely wants to be involved as the foundation moves toward its goal of doing it in 100 hospitals across the U.S.

Spurred by a call from Bluestone Communications, Inc., Advanced AV designed the system that serves at the centerpiece of the new broadcast facility, where an internal radio station broadcast is sent throughout the hospital. This is the second such facility the foundation opened, joining one in Atlanta.

“They’d like us to be involved with future projects,” says Joel Brazy, who served as account manager on the project and became friendly with the Seacrest family as the Philadelphia project moved forward.

Something from (Almost) Nothing

Advanced AV described the incomplete equipment list and plans as “basically a project without a function” when they came aboard. Amazingly, through collaboration with Bluestone and other firms on the job site, they were ready in time for the July 15 unveiling.

“It was a miracle everything came together the way it did,” says Kevin McGinnis, systems design engineer and project engineer. “Now we know exactly what they want and who the players are, so next time it should go much smoother.”

That’s not to say the job didn’t go well, because it did. But it was definitely a bit harried at times, says Brazy. Advanced AV supplied about half of the gear, plus design, programming and commissioning, and the company will be providing the hospital with a service contract.

“Everything was donated, so we had to make it work,” McGinnis says.

“The cool thing was the collaboration,” says Brazy.

A Crestron control system is the heart of the studio’s A/V setup, with seven broadcast microphones in the space. There are plans for a handful of wireless mics to be added to the facility as well. Also included are an SAS mixing console, PSI audio automation server, Extron matrix switcher for local display, an audio leveler and many other pieces to make it all work.

There are two PTZ cameras in the studio, although McGinnis wonders if there’s the chance to integrate more video, especially with a 200-square-foot studio limiting how many guests can stop by. A 9-story atrium could afford some opportunities to add video, he says.

There’s a 50-inch display in the studio and a 42-incher in the lobby. McGinnis says he learned about broadcast automation boards and vows to use deeper racks on similar projects in the future.

More About the Ryan Seacrest Foundation

The RSF is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for seriously ill and injured children through unique programs that use multimedia and interactive platforms to enlighten, entertain and educate. The hospital studios also afford opportunities for aspiring young broadcasters to get some work in behind the microphone.

“It’s a great way to not only give the kids who are listening an outlet, but it also gives these young broadcasters a shot they might not have somewhere else,” says McGinnis.

The broadcast centers are also magnets for celebrities who live or are working in the area. Since opening in mid-July, the CHOP studio has already hosted Cee-Lo Green, Selena Gomez and singers on the American Idol tour.