Pliant Technologies’ CrewCom Corrals Production Needs at Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
When Jason Martin, coms A1, and Dave Cheramie, coms A2, were tasked with integrating a new, modern intercom system for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo at NRG Stadium, the duo found a solution to meet all of their production needs with Pliant Technologies’ CrewCom wireless intercom system. For the massive 125,000-square-foot stadium, it was crucial for Martin and Cheramie to deploy a coms system that could provide dependable wireless communication and extensive range throughout the three-week long event, which is streamed live to Fox.
“When searching for a coms system for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, no other solution compared to CrewCom,” adds Martin. “It was a no-brainer to deploy the Pliant system as other systems we tested failed to perform in the large stadium with its high, domed ceiling. The competing systems also presented multipath interference issues, so they couldn’t provide the range we require for this large-scale event — only CrewCom could handle the job.”
For the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Martin and Cheramie deploy a combination of 27 two-channel and four-channel Radio Packs (RPs), 14 transceivers, two copper hubs, and three fiber paths to provide a reliable and extensive coverage zone. Additionally, they utilized two four-channel bases in a primary-secondary configuration with a total of 10 party lines (eight four-wire and two two-wire). For the upcoming 2020 season, which will take place from March 3 to 22, Martin and Cheramie will integrate Pliant’s CrewCom 8-Port Fiber Hub—expanding the system’s capabilities and allowing for additional coverage zones via fiber optic connections.
“The integration of CrewCom has allowed us to expand our coverage zone greatly,” adds Martin. “Compared to our previous intercom system, we were able to use four additional radio packs and one additional party line thanks to the flexibility of CrewCom. Now, with the addition of Pliant’s CrewCom Fiber Hub, we have the ability to grow the system out even further to reach places via fiber optics that cannot be reached via copper. The addition of the fiber hub is a big deal—it allows us to easily put transceivers anywhere we need them.”
For Martin, the 900MHz CrewCom wireless intercom system provides a longer wavelength compared to their previous coms system, eliminating challenges with competing frequencies. “At NRG Stadium, we often have over 50,000 people connected to Wi-Fi, and it’s extremely beneficial that the 900MHz frequency doesn’t conflict with the signal,” adds Martin. “The 900MHz CrewCom gives us the ability to cut through corners and concrete, greatly expanding our range.”
With a multitude of staff members utilizing the CrewCom system, including audio engineers, camera operators, stage managers, producers, executives, scoring, and stock contractors, it was essential for Martin to integrate a system with a simple interface. “Not only is the system easy to operate, but it’s also easily explainable — which helps me a great deal when deploying such a large system with so many users.”
With his success at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Martin has become a fan of Pliant and hopes to expand his inventory with additional solutions from the brand in the future.
“As a freelancer mixing audio for sports and entertainment, my primary emphasis is to rent wireless equipment to broadcasters and corporate clients for large-form events, so my equipment has to be top of the line,” adds Martin. “Once I found Pliant, I knew there was no turning back. I am hoping to add the 2.4GHz CrewCom system to my inventory as well.”