Blog

Trip to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Studios

Broadcast as a career pathway

Abbey Road Institute Melbourne is dedicated to creating industry opportunities, internships and experiences for its students. The changing audio industry constantly creates new career possibilities and we introduce our students to the cutting edge elements at play for the audio professional today. Our students ventured to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) studios to take a look around and meet some of the team behind some of Australia’s most engaging and entertaining content.

Enter Oren Gerassi.
Oren teaching interns about broadcast
Oren is one of our main guides and a production manager for the International Comedy festival. As a result, Oren has a wealth of experience and works at the ABC from time to time, and was more than happy to show students the ins and outs of the studios.

recording booth at abc

Creating Industry Opportunities

Oren showed students through some of the production suites. Projects ranging from news, to podcasts and radio shows were live. The red glow held us off. Our Abbey Road Institute students shuffled through the corridors of one of the country’s leading broadcasters. We moved into one of the production suites, where Paul Penton, an Operations Manager from Radio National walked the students through the production process.

For those that live in the API room or the S6 Digital console at the Abbey Road Institute, to be shown into the ABC studios presented something quite different. The students learned about the particular broadcast requirements of the radio industry, about uptime and downtime between satellites and how closely producers have to adhere to, to ensure the content is broadcast correctly.

Students inside the ABC studio

The next step on the tour was a walk to the live room, past the Double J broadcasting suites. We tear our students away from the SSL console and enter the live room. Isolation curtains can be drawn, modifying the acoustics to create radio dramas and incredibly clean sound effects. The room is set for three guitarists and two singers. Each performer had their own mixer to control their own monitoring. Engineers have to be ready for groups with changing instrumentation. Paul Penton told us of his experience doing everything from orchestras to choirs and explained some of the methods of organizing and developing microphone setups and console plans for varying performers.

control room at abc
The control room houses an incredible SSL C100, and racks of beautiful outboard gear. Pro Tools is an old tape deck, the studio heart. Furthermore, the demand for audio engineering signal flow, and getting the sound right at the source is paramount.

It is clear that there is an incredibly high level of detail and technical prowess at work at the ABC.

We break into two groups when we’ve finished in the live room. One is off to the mastering rooms, and the other to the master control room.

In the mastering rooms, we collect our thoughts, in a precisely calibrated mixing environment, with a set of Dynaudio Nearfields, and B&W monitors, the likes of which found in Abbey Road Institute and Abbey Road Studios alike. Engineers and producers, who use the room for sound design and dialogue, quickly switch between Pro Tools and Wavelab. Most engineers prefer Wavelab. It’s worth mentioning that the ABC is undergoing major change to bring their software up to date to current versions.

We move to the master control room, with vectorscopes and VU meters atop multiple pieces of equipment. The staff operating the master control room describe themselves as firefighters, waiting for catastrophe to strike to spring into action. The staff direct our attention to icons in Queensland, saying “If that were happening here, all hell would be breaking loose”.

As a result, the two workstations sit a few feet from one another, yet they control Tasmania and Victoria respectively. The master control room creates the possibility for the ABC to divert traffic and connect people across the country. In emergency situations, they pull live feeds from disaster reports, and feed them through ABC Southbank to ABC Sydney headquarters so they can find the correct source and communicate with people that need it. The master control room oversees all levels and feeds from every studio in the ABC to ensure all is well.

ssl console at abc

Industry Perspective

Our students leave ABC with a new perspective and understanding of the people behind the airwaves. The Abbey Road Institute exposes students to the industry. Our students look to new horizons and career possibilities. They also develop new skills and experiences as a result of the changing audio industry. Our students see the career possibilities diverge from a single point of a career in the music industry.

students at abc

Do you want to gain industry experience? Please attend our masterclasses at Abbey Road Institute for access to industry leading companies and people. See our masterclasses here.