The economy has been the topic of news media for the past few years and I for one am tired of hearing about it. Many areas of the country might even be faced with economic problems for years to come; so some of us will need to get used to it. My firm does a fair amount of work with my friends at churches and I thought I might put to paper some of the things that have been going on.
When budgets get shaved, it seems like everything can come to a halt. But should it? There are many things we have been doing that have helped keep people busy and some of them may even save you money in the end.
As far as audio goes, the folks installing wireless microphones have been busy. We started having issues with 700 MHz equipment well before the FCC mandated for us to get out of that frequency band. I live near one of the largest Catholic Cathedrals in North America (St. Cecilia’s, Omaha, NE) and we received calls to service the wireless equipment there as early as a year before the 700 MHz band was off limits. We had a few churches that rented space in their bell towers to the cell phone companies as they have looked for new sources of revenue. That has worked out well for the churches that were prepared. Just keep in mind, the proximity of the cellular systems to the worship service requires special attention to your RF requirements in a House of Worship.
We have recommended and obtained meetings prior to system installation with the cellular companies on behalf of the church congregation. The meetings allow us to coordinate the sound reinforcement RF systems design with the cellular provider to ensure success when the entire installation is completed. The value of a higher quality wireless microphone system becomes obvious in this situation. Many Shure UHF-R and Lectrosonics Venue systems have been installed with directional antennas in these instances. This has caused us to be more concerned about our use of RF in the future.
I have heard many churches talk about combining services with other congregations. One hit home when my father’s church began having additional services for newcomers to our shores for families from Sudan and elsewhere. In discussing it, there were several issues that came up. The traditional services are smaller than they used to be, and the newcomers group is not a particularly large one. Why not put all of these together and enjoy the diversity? Isn’t that the way it should be?
Elsewhere on the ListenTech blog, our work at the Omaha Playhouse has been mentioned. In that facility, several IR based Listen Technologies LT-82 stationary IR transmitters are installed with LA-140 stationary IR radiator/emitter units in the theatre. Patrons can use one of many LR-42 Stethoscope 4-channel receivers to enjoy audio from the show. There is another use of that system that is just now coming to light; language interpretation. The United Nations building in New York City is one place where people from all nations and backgrounds may meet and participate in a common event. What better place than a church?
An obvious advantage to infra-red transmission is that there is no need to be concerned with RF interference with the wireless systems used for sound reinforcement (or those cellular systems either). The IR systems offer the additional benefit of containing the signal within the room. This means that multiple IR transmitters may be used in other areas such as Sunday school classrooms. All of these rooms may have systems in use without using any more than a single
channel of the system.
An LR-42 Stethoscope receiver has 4-channels. The standard systems are supplied with a single channel transmitter but all you need to do is add another Listen Technologies LT-82 stationary IR transmitter to take advantage of another channel in any given room.
We have spaces where assistive listening is being performed while simultaneously a person describes a dramatic event for the blind and/or there is language interpretation for Spanish and/or Chinese.
There’s nothing more exciting than a crowd of people gathered to participate in the spirit of worship. If services are combined with the cultural diversity our communities are capable of, there is a Listen Technologies IR based system that can become an important tool. Who knows, when you combine services, you might even be able to turn the lights off early and save a few dollars on energy in the process.