Shure Wireless Utilized at Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting and Thanksgiving Day Parade

For the NBC live telecasts of two outdoor holiday events in New York City, Clair Global was faced with massive coverage areas, unpredictable weather, and Manhattan’s famously crowded wireless spectrum. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the “Christmas in Rockefeller Center” tree lighting telecast on November 30 each presented similar challenges to the wireless specialists at Clair Global.

Under the unforgiving conditions of live network broadcasts, Clair Global RF engineer and project manager Joshua Flower selected Shure Axient wireless microphones and PSM 1000 in-ear personal monitor systems for critical roles.

“Both events are challenging, of course, but this is what we do,” explains Flower. “Clair Global is a big user of Shure wireless systems at major live events like this, especially Axient. Its RF is just so much more reliable, and using it in automatic interference detection and avoidance mode adds another layer of comfort. The ShowLink gives me full monitoring and control, so there’s just a lot less worry about frequencies and stability.” shure-wireless-1

Hosting the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade were Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, and Al Roker of the Today show. Their Axient AXT200 handheld transmitters were outfitted with the KSM8 microphone element. Behind the scenes, eight channels of Shure PSM 1000 were used as an IFB system for camera operators and other key crew members.

The parade broadcast requires full coverage on 34th Street at the store’s flagship location, plus three full blocks of Sixth Avenue to the north. Flower designed a four-zone antenna system, with Shure UA874 antennas providing primary pickups throughout the area.

Six days later, the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting presented Clair Global with a similar challenge. This time, the wireless coverage area included all of Rockefeller Plaza, with hosting and interview activities near the gigantic Christmas tree and a large stage across the plaza at the ice rink for live music performances.

Joshua Flower again relied on Shure wireless systems in all critical roles. The four NBC hosts were outfitted with both handheld and bodypack Axient systems, again set up in frequency diversity mode to mitigate interference. Ceremonial tree lighters Kate McKinnon and Alec Baldwin also used Axient handhelds outfitted with KSM8 capsules.

Across the plaza, the music stage featured performances by The Roots, Josh Groban, Sarah McLachlan, Dolly Parton, Pentatonix, and others. The venue was outfitted with ten channels of Axient wireless and 16 channels of PSM 1000 in-ear monitors.

Clair Global’s total channel count at Rockefeller Center included 18 Shure Axient systems and 22 channels of PSM 1000, which served as IFB feeds for the broadcast hosts, along with IEM service for the music stage. The Axient systems were again set up for interference detection and avoidance, using the ShowLink System, which also enables monitoring and control of every aspect of each transmitter, including battery time in minutes. Joshua Flower reported that all systems worked flawlessly throughout the parade and Rockefeller Center telecasts.

“Shure Axient and PSM 1000 are my preferred tools for major events like these,” says Flower. “They give better RF performance than anything else out there, with full monitoring and control. For both events, the RF operation of the Shure equipment was flawless all around for hosts and musical artists. That kind of performance is the reason you’ll see Shure wireless at a lot of major events with Clair Global.”

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