The Phoenix FM Bible : information for Phoenix FM presenters

The Desk - studio 1

1. Channels

Each column on the desk, from top to bottom, is known as a channel. Each channel is marked with a number from 1 to 12.

All of the channels are marked at the bottom with the input associated with it (mikes, Playout, Cartwall, Phone etc).

Every channel has an ON button. If the ON button isn't on, the channel will not work.

All of the channels need to be ON EXCEPT 7 and 12 which must stay OFF.

Channel 7 is the feed from studio 2. This channel should only be used when absolutely necessary.

Channel 12 is a dedicated VOIP channel which we may use at some point in the future.

One difference from our previous desk is that the PHONE channel needs to be ON. It is the CONN (connect) button which feeds the signal to the desk and this needs to be off unless you are making a phone call.

Channels 1-10 have a row of black buttons and a row of grey buttons at the top of the channels.

The black buttons are input selectors. ALL must be UP (off) and except 9-10 must be DOWN (on) to select USB on these channels.

The grey buttons are mic selectors. 1-5 must be DOWN (on) and 6-10 must be UP (off).
Channel 11 and 12 also have black buttons and these need to be UP (off).

When listening to music on cue, it's much quieter on the monitors than listening to the desk. Don't turn up the gain, turn up Monitor instead.

2. The Email PC

We have now connected the Email PC to the desk by USB. This allows us to do two things:
  • Broadcast Zoom calls on air
  • Run an "emergency" file from that computer in case the playout crashes
If you need to run an emergency show from the Email PC:
  • click Everything (the orange magnifying glass) and search for Emergency
  • you will see mp3 files called Emergency 1, Emergency 2 etc. Double click one of these
  • the native player in Windows will start playing this
  • don't forget to put the EMAIL PC fader up
3. Taking a phone call to air

Make sure the PHONE channel is ON and CONN is OFF. Of course your mike channel should be on too.

Answer the phone/ring the person on the phone as normal.

Press the CONN button on the phone channel. This transfers the call from the phone to the desk.

You can talk to them off-air by keeping the PRESENTER and PHONE faders down and pressing the CUE buttons on both channels. (Cue is sometimes called "prefade").

To put them on air push both faders up and turn off the cue buttons.

At the end of the part of the call you want to broadcast, bring the faders down and press the CUE (prefade) buttons. You can continue to talk to them off air.

*** When you end the call, make sure CONN is OFF. This is very important! ***

Another reminder that the top button on the PHONE channel is your volume to the telephone line (marked "To Caller"). If you turn it up too high, you may experience feedback. The second dial down is the GAIN which increases the caller's volume (in fact it increases both of your volumes).

4. The Master Section

On the right hand side of the desk you'll see a section called Master which has a cluster of lights, faders, buttons and dials.

There are 2 LED meters, 2 faders, 8 dials and 13 buttons.

LED meters: instead of VU meters we now have two LED meters (one for the left channel and one for the right). You need to peak speech and music at zero on these meters.

Faders: these are marked Left and Right and control the master volume. They need to be between 5 and 10. Any higher and you may distort. Any lower and your show will be very quiet or silent.

Dials: there are 3 volume dials which you will probably use every show. They are easy to find as they all have a RED line on top of the dial instead of a black one.

Looking at these "red" dials from left to right:

MONITOR controls the monitor speakers in the studio

PHONES controls the volume of your headphones

ANN ("announcer") controls the volume of the guest headphones

Also, BALANCE must be set to zero. It's the balance between your music and voice when using cue (prefade) to listen to a channel. Setting it at zero means that you will hear the prefaded output only, which is what we want to do when prefading.

A reminder - if you want to turn up/down the volume in the studio you must use Monitor. Don't use the gain on the playout channel, that's not what it's used for.

Buttons: Some of these aren't used. But the following MUST be set as follows:

Self op (first row of buttons, third one along) must be DOWN (on). There is a light next to it which should be on, but it is very faint.

If it's not on, the monitor speakers will not cut out when you put the mikes up.

The Follow Phones buttons (third row, first and third buttons) must be DOWN (on). If they aren't, the monitor speakers won't cut out when you press cue (prefade) on the channels.

The cue buttons (second row) must be UP (off). (These three buttons are nothing to do with prefading channels).

Split (third row) must be UP (off).

Finally, there is a button we have labelled FM which allows you to listen to FM (when down/on) or the desk (when up/off).

When listening on FM, music and speech levels are processed/levelled and you may prefer this.

However if there is any interference on FM you will hear that too and the first thing we recommend you do is turn this button off when this happens.

We don't have a specific rule about listening to FM or not. You should decide on your preference and make sure it is set at the start of your show.

5. CD/mini jack

There is no CD input. We've decided that we're not going to connect this back up. There is also no mini jack cable for iPads, phones etc. As per my recent email, we want all presenters to use Dropbox, mAirlist and MP3s.

6. Mikes

We have currently set up three mikes in the studio. We won't be setting up any more until social distancing guidelines allow us to do so.

Guest 1 is on a boom arm opposite the presenter. Guest 2 is on a desk stand.

I recommend that the person using Guest 1 sits in front and slightly to the left of centre, because you then get a better view of the presenter.

7. Food and drink

Food and drink must not be consumed directly over or near the mixer.

Food must be eaten well away from this area.

If drinks are placed in the studio they must be kept far away from the equipment so that any liquid will not reach the mixer if it is spilled.

If you have a cup with an anti-spill lid we recommend you use this.

We expect all users of our equipment to have good hygiene and not use any equipment with dirty hands!

8. General rules/cleanliness

We are aiming to keep the studio decluttered with the minimum amount of equipment and cables needed to present our shows.

All litter must be removed from the studio at the end of your show.

If you use any cups/cutlery you are responsible for washing and drying these. Don't leave them in the studio for someone else to clean.

Don't plug anything into the desk without permission.

Don't unplug anything without permission.

  • Make sure channel 7 and 12 are off.
  • We can now play the Email PC through the desk, for emergency shows and Zoom calls.
  • Make sure the ON button is on on the phone fader, and CONN is off.
  • We have removed the CD players and mini jack lead.
  • If the desk isn't working as you expect, please check each line of this guide.
  • Don't touch any buttons you don't need to touch!
  • Please report any problems to Tony or Paul.