The Embedded photos were taken directly from the Flickr servers with no intention to violate any copyright. I do not own the rights of the content embedded.
There is a large account of images taken at the NBC New York complex by a guy named Dennis Degan, a staffer for the network. He has a Flickr account where you can see tons of pictures from his day job, mixed in with some vintage NBC, and other stations he was affiliated with in his career.
He also has shown pictures from the competition, such as the new CBS Hudson Square facility for the CBS Radio stations, etc. This page would please any type of geek when it comes to engineering.
It appears more recently he has posted images of things that exist today. NBC had a very strict rules for no photo rules if you went on the NBC tours (I went there twice) and I think the rules even applied if say you wanted to meet with WNBC’s Chuck Scarborough, a visitor, friend of him. Pictures that you could see on his flickr was things that were torn down, relocated, etc. NY NBC seemed to do a lot of window-dressing in terms of edit rooms, control rooms because the album in itself is about 1000 photos, a vast majority was within the last 10 years, all of which is no longer what it looks like today.
As I digress, in today’s post, I wanted to show a few pictures with the phones NBC uses. Since the late 1980s, NBC was mostly an Avaya Red (dating from AT&T) for most of the properties they owned. Most of the flagship owned and operated stations and hubs used Avaya as well except for a few stations such as Florida, Philadelphia and some stations they previously owned. Those sites use Avaya Blue and Mitel. Nowendays NBC Universal, is owned by Comcast which they have their own mixed hardware setups in the cable biz.
Today, the fact is NBC has slowly been jumping on the Cisco bandwagon. They had recently built a facility for Dallas, which uses Cisco, their historic Burbank studios in LA had left their Avaya system behind in lieu of a Cisco IP Telephony system, and now 30 Rock is a victim (or lucky customer – depending on how you look at it.) The fact if NBC in New York will go all Cisco is another unanswered question. (I obviously don’t use Flickr anymore and I’m not sure if he would know.)
Most of what’s based out of New York is the studios, offices and news operations for the Nightly News, MSNBC, WNBC-TV 4, the studios for Seth Myers, SNL, a small bureau for CNBC and all the other technical operations for the network.
NBC had all 3 generations of DCP sets, the 7400s, the 8400s and the 6400s, and VOIP wasn’t used that much. They had so much phone cabling, probably it was easier for the data network especially to pipe out HD video which can be about a gigabyte for each minute uncompressed. If you go and tour The Top of the Rock (like I did earlier this year), they use Avaya sets, and I’m presuming it was tied to the NBC system. Oh and NBC used tons of Avaya 8434s, the default set for mission control environments
Now back to the Cisco/Avaya, some pictures have Avaya, some have Cisco, like I said I don’t know if this is a slow transition or what. The newer control areas seem to have Cisco and some others. Another evidence of use of Cisco was in the infamous spoof of The Office Hobbit style on SNL last season. The skit apparently was taped in the building and many of the phones were the 8900 sets. Now granted, the show did feature Cisco phones, but I think these were the office phones used for NBC. I’ll post screengrabs on that later.
One other thing: NBC was the only NY-based network for a long time that had a PBX system for the entire building. That’s because first 7 floors in 30 Rock is all for NBC and ABC and CBS operations are in several different buildings – even in the same block. Those two networks appeared to have Centrex with many little key system for each show produced. West 57th is basically 4 buildings put together and the local ABC owned station is connected to the ABC headquarters by a firewall (as separate buildings) and the following post on the Ed Sullivan Theater shows the separate types of systems even in a single city for a company. In short, NBC had the most unified voice network.