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Clear-Com® Communication Systems Sets High Standard at the New Walter Cronkite School of Journalism


Phoenix, AZ, November 20, 2008 – The students at the newly constructed Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, a recent addition to Arizona State University’s downtown Phoenix campus, are finding great communication solutions in Clear-Com® Communication Systems, a brand of The Vitec Group. The new 223,000 square foot educational institution, which opened in August 2008 after breaking ground with Walter Cronkite himself back in February 2007, has opened its doors with a comprehensive Clear-Com intercom system as the main communications hub for its print and broadcast news emporium. Recognizing the school’s educational mission to train students in a real-life environment, Clear-Com elected to provide a donation of some of the equipment that was installed.

Designed to keep student reporters and faculty members connected anywhere throughout the facility, the school is linked via multiple Eclipse® Digital Matrix frames with V-Series user panels as well as the CellCom® digital wireless intercom system. Jim Dove, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism Chief Broadcast Engineer, says that Clear-Com was the obvious choice for serving as the school’s networking pulse.

“We selected Clear-Com for our school because of its reputation as a leading intercom provider, which made sense since our objective is to be the leading educator in journalism,” explains Dove. “Another big selling point was Clear-Com’s new wireless CellCom system, which allows the ability to maintain a strong signal with no RF interference in a busy urban setting. Since CellCom operates in the 1.9 GHz band, we are safe from any impact from February 2009’s anticipated FCC RF frequency reallocation.”

While the school has furnished its facility with Clear-Com products, it is also gaining firsthand knowledge as Clear-Com expert technicians actively visit with students at the school to teach the importance of intercoms for news operations and offer instruction on how to utilize and maximize its intercom technology.

“Clear-Com was the only manufacturer that offered us not only its high-performance equipment, but also a unique partnership approach that included having its technical team visit our school periodically to teach our students how to use its products,” says Dove. “This was an unprecedented overture as no other intercom company extended such an investment in our school and students.”

Proving highly reliable and durable products, students at the school use the Clear-Com system from anywhere between six to 18 hours a day depending on the varying daily schedule. The equipment is used during course instruction as well as during actual newscasts and special broadcast events. Most recently, the students used the Clear-Com system for live coverage of the presidential election.

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism consists of six specialized floors, all of which contribute to the makings of an actual news production. One of the special departments that support infrastructure and that make up the facility includes the ground level, which consists of four street level camera boxes for connectivity to the Engineering Operations room located on level six. Its First Amendment Forum Room, located on level two, is used for public debates and presentations and is also home to the school’s Cronkite News Service, where broadcast and print students work together on producing content for existing local news media outlets.

In addition, the third level is where the Reynolds Center for Business and Journalism is housed, which has a camera drop, intercom, IFB and mic inputs that allow for news cut-ins for interviews with outside media outlets. Its Executive Board Room is housed on level four, where school Dean Christopher Callahan can be interviewed by external news organizations, while level five is home to Arizona’s Public Broadcast Station, KAET-TV, and its technical facilities. Finally, level six is where the Cronkite School’s Engineering Operations for daily news programs are based, which are produced in its own studios and furnished with its own newsroom and broadcast training. It also features an outside terrace for live shots, an assignment desk and two control rooms completely designed around Clear Com’s intercom technology.

Dove says, “Clear-Com’s CellCom wireless technology is perfect for our school’s communication needs. It offers us the unrestricted ability to move from floor to floor. We can take all of our beltpacks and use them in any of our spaces, regardless of the distance.”

Note: CellCom® and FreeSpeak® are different brands representing the same digital wireless intercom system (with minor technical differences). Due to trademark limitations, CellCom is only available in the USA and Canada; FreeSpeak is available in all other countries.