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Wireless First Bolsters CMT Year-End Show

RF specialists Wireless First aided in the production of CMT’s recent Artists of the Year Show.

Wireless First provided sound reinforcement and broadcast audio for the CMT Artists of the Year Award Show. Artists honored (pictured here with host Rob Lowe) were (back row) Jason Aldean, Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley, Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum, and (front row) Taylor Swift, Kenny Chesney and Hillary Scott Lady of Antebellum. Photo: Getty Images.
Nashville, TN (January 3, 2012)—RF specialists Wireless First aided in the production of CMT’s recent Artists of the Year Show.

Airing in mid-December, the event honored five country music artists with an evening of live music at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Rob Lowe hosted the proceedings, which included performances by the five honorees: Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley and Kenny Chesney.

As in the past, CMT hired Wireless First, a Clair Global Company to simultaneously provide live sound reinforcement and broadcast sound (the show aired in mid-December), along with RF duties. In addition to the Clair i3 line array system, which stayed out of television sightlines, Clair Global brought two new products: a custom-built portable RF microphone podium and the CF 1090 Fractal Antenna.

“It was an interesting mix of music and performances,” said Monty Curry, who served as Clair Global crew chief and production A1. “There were a lot of guest musicians and a lot of creative sets. For example, Lady Antebellum gave its backing band the night off and performed an acoustic set, just the three of them.”

In addition to Curry, Rick Schimer was on hand to mix FOH music while Jason Spence handled monitors. Josh Macinerny managed the evening’s RF signal space. Paul Cervanansky oversaw the construction and interconnection of Wireless First/Clair Global’s infrastructure in his role as chief system engineer.

“One of the main challenges at a show like this is striking a balance between the live vibe and the broadcast quality that doesn’t feel like a compromise on either end,” explained Curry. “Otherwise, everything suffers. If the people in the audience don’t get the volume they expect, they don’t react with the same excitement that they would at a normal concert. That feeds back to the performers, who sense that lack of excitement. Even though these are the most professional musicians in the industry, they’re also humans. They’re bound to put on a better show when they feel the excitement of the crowd.”

“On CMT’s Artists of the Year celebration and other high-profile awards shows, stage management and logistics is a complicated affair,” said Kevin Sanford, principal of Wireless First. “All the podium rigs that we had encountered were time-consuming to assemble, awkward to move around on stage, and of less than professional sound quality and reliability.” Clair Broadcasting’s solution was to place two Schoeps condensers at the top of the stand with their cables running internally to a base that conceals battery power and a wireless transmitter. At the CMT Artists of the Year celebration, Curry used the hypercardioid microphone when only one speaker was addressing the mic and the cardioid mic otherwise.

The RF component of the show involved some two-dozen microphone channels, including Shure, Sennheiser, and Audio-Technica live performance mics. Macinerny gave the presenters Sennheiser 5200 Series handheld and body-pack transmitters, some outfitted with Neumann KK 105 capsules. Spence delivered his mixes to the performers using a dozen stereo Sennheiser G2 Series wireless personal monitors delivered to the receivers using a pair of Clair Global’s new CF 1090 Fractal Antennas. “We started designing the CF 1090 many years ago and recently finished a year-and-a-half of prototyping and beta tests,” said Sanford. “The goal from the beginning was to design a rock-solid, reliably-consistent antenna that we could count on in high stakes situations like the CMT show. It’s gratifying to see all of that hard work pay off. The goal has definitely been achieved.”

Wireless First