Radio Sussex

Visit – Radio Sussex, Brighton – 10th November, 1992.
Twenty members of the RCEA visited the studios of Radio Brighton at Marlborough Place just behind Brighton Pavilion. We were welcomed by Mr.N.P.Franklin the Chief Engineer who then took us to one of the two broadcasting studios.
Mr. Franklin explained to us how the very complicated control desk worked and how communication was maintained with the other studio via a audio visual link. There are three types of instruments for playing music, two record and two C.D. players and two reel-to-reel tape decks, (with instant editing via razor blade) which are also used to play back interviews. It was interesting to find that each of these items is linked to a fader on the control
desk so that as the volume is increased they start instantly.
The injection into programmes, of reports from outside sources such as the A.A. road report or the weather forecast was demonstrated by Mr. Franklin, also how the various outside satellite studios, like the one at Hastings which is linked to the main studio at Brighton via Eastbourne and other smaller studios by a ‘daisy chain’ of lines for economy.
There was a very comprehensive cueing system for receiving telephone calls for the popular phone-in type programmes. All calls were intercepted, except for quiz answers, by the switch board operator who took down details of the listeners comments and telephone number. These were logged and displayed on a video screen in the studio. This way the presenter could control the discussion by selecting the listeners to be called back to take part.
This procedure also prevented abusive listeners gaining access to live air time.
As all music played over the air is subject to royalty payments to the Performing Rights Society, a record is kept of each piece played and for how long. This is achieved at Radio Sussex by an ingenious bar code arrangement (as used in the Supermarket). The presenter just scans a bar code off the case of each piece played, and the computer keeps a check on playing time and produces the appropriate royalty lists. In the case of Radio Sussex, this amounts to approximately £10,000 p.a.
Having realised that a presenters job is not quite as cosy as it seems over the air, we went through the News Room and on to visit the equipment room that provides the technical back up for the studios upstairs and provides the link to the Stations remote transmitters. Our party seemed to outnumber the total staff at this establishment. All the facilities are extremely cramped and we could not help but marvel that so much is achieved on a shoestring.
The visit concluded with a vote of thanks to Mr. Franklin for allowing us a glimpse behind the scenes and for explaining things so well. We all left feeling that he was a most influential ambassador for Radio Sussex.