Photo: WAPA-TV Lighting Designer Juan Carlos at the new Avolites Arena used as the master lighting controller for the station’s Cinema studio

WAPA-TV has been a technology leader in Puerto Rico since it first went on the air in 1954 as the second television station to be licensed on the island. Popularly known in Puerto Rico by its assigned channel number, Canal Cuatro (Channel 4), the San Juan station was the first in the US territory to transition to color in 1966.

In September 2004, WAPA-TV became the first Puerto Rican station, and only the seventh television station in the US (including territories), to become a satellite-distributed superstation. Not surprisingly, when WAPA-TV began a complete and extensive renovation of its entire lighting system last year, replacing all conventional fixtures with LED, it turned to an Avolites Arena console as the master controller for lighting in its largest studio, Cinema.

Sold and installed by Musique Xpress Lights, Inc. of nearby Bayamón, the new Arena console joins an Avolites Titan Mobile and two Avolites Expert Pro consoles already installed at the facility, continuing the station’s position as an all-Avolites television studio.

Debuting at last year’s Prolight + Sound in Frankfurt, the Avolites Arena offers users more live control than ever before. Six LCD screens display electronic legends for 40 precision playback faders, in three pageable groups, which are joined by 20 programmable macro executor buttons. Alongside the main display, a second touch screen provides an additional workspace window, also labeling the adjacent macro buttons and rotary pots. These fully assignable playback encoder pots allow intuitive control of channels and effects.

“The Arena console has a lot of benefits in this environment,” explains Enrique Nuñez, president of Musique Xpress Lights, which also sold and installed an Avolites Expert Pro console at WAPA-TV in 2014. Musique Xpress Lights also provides AV systems services and rentals for the station, and is the vendor for all of the new LED lighting fixtures and systems at the network’s studios.

“The Cinema studio is used for a wide range of programs and productions, and it’s also their largest studio, so it needed a flexible and powerful lighting console. That’s what the Arena console brings to the table,” says Nuñez, who adds that the Arena’s simple interface and ease of use makes it reliable and simple to operate for the station’s staff.

Juan Carlos Gonzalez, Lighting Designer at WAPA-TV, agrees and says the station is delighted with the four Avolites consoles they now use, adding that the station intends to acquire a second Arena console to accommodate the conversion to all LED lighting. “We were the first broadcast studio in Puerto Rico to have LED technology, and the reason we chose Avolites consoles is because they’re easy to program, user friendly, and are backed by a reliable team,” he explains. “We’re extremely satisfied with all of our Avolites consoles.”