Tom Satterfield Chooses Sanken for PBS NewsHour
WETA Audio Supervisor Employs COS-11D Lavalier Mics
Arlington, VA, June 2016 – The long-running PBS NewsHour originates from WETA television studios in Arlington, VA, just minutes away from the nation’s capital. The nation’s first hour-long nightly news broadcast, PBS NewsHour airs five nights a week on more than 300 of the public broadcaster’s member stations, and is widely respected for its in-depth coverage of issues and current events.
Tom Satterfield, audio supervisor at WETA for the past six years, employs ultra-miniature Sanken lavalier microphones for the program’s commentators and guests. “We have three people on our audio team and we make it a group effort to choose equipment,” comments Satterfield. “A year ago, the NewsHour moved into our new and bigger studio here. We built a new set and decided to go completely wireless RF for microphones and IFB systems. We had tried the Sanken previously, so we thought that was a good time to make the change over to the COS-11s for our anchors and all of our guests. We now use nothing but COS-11s for all of our shows here at WETA.”
Since August 2013, the program’s weekday broadcasts, which are produced by NewsHour Productions LLC and WETA-TV in association with WNET, have been co-anchored by Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff — the first, and as of 2016, only, all-female anchor team of a national nightly news program on broadcast television.
Satterfield continues, “We all like Sanken’s omni-directional lavalier mic, but it doesn’t have a huge pick-up pattern where you hear things that are 30 feet away from you. It has a big enough pattern that it gives you the rich sound that you want without being super omni. A lot of omni-directional mics are just so omni that you can pick up things in the next room, and it’s just too much. The Sanken lavalier pattern is just right.”
The COS-11Ds wide frequency response ensures accurate, transparent audio to meet the demands of today’s high-definition television audio. The omnidirectional polar pattern provides a very uniform pickup area without dropouts, with optimized sensitivity to maximize signal to noise and minimize feedback.
“We use Lectrasonics transmitters and run the Sankens through a Dan Dugan auto audio mixer,” adds Satterfield “We also use an Izotope noise-reduction unit to get rid of anything like air-conditioning noise from the studio. It just tightens up all of that extemporaneous noise. The Sankens and the noise-reduction unit running through the Dan Dugan mixer is just the perfect signal chain for us.”