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‘Sonic wave’ caused problems at S4C television distribution centre

27 Sep 2021 2 minute read
The White City building in London, England. Picture by Chmee2 (CC BY-SA 3.0).

A television centre that distributes S4C’s programmes was hit by a “sonic wave” on Saturday which left a range of channels unable to broadcast.

S4C apologised for technical problems on Saturday which also affected channels including Channel 4, Channel 5, More4 and Film4. The BBC was also hit but managed to shift to backup tech servers at Salford.

The problems were first caused by a fire alarm but a fire suppression system that sucked all the oxygen out of the room then caused a “sonic wave” that shut down servers at the Red Bee Media building in White City, London, sources told the Times.

Firefighters were then called and staff were evacuated from the building.

Channel 4 is now broadcasting via an emergency recovery system but some technical problems persist on air.

In an update on Twitter, Channel 4 said: “We continue to experience disruption to our services due to technical issues. We’re working hard to resume our normal services and appreciate your continued understanding and patience.”

Red Bee, which is owned by the Swedish telecoms company Ericsson, said that it was investigating the issue. “We are continuing to work to restore all services and remedy any issues caused by this incident,” Red Bee said.

In a statement published after the technical problems hit, S4C said: “As a result of a fire alarm at a television distribution centre in London on Saturday night, S4C’s transmissions were lost on the Freeview platform for most of the evening.

“S4C’s broadcasts on Sky, Freesat, Virgin Media, S4C and BBC iPlayer were not affected.

“S4C apologises to all those who failed to see their favourite programmes on Saturday evening.”

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
2 years ago

Sonic Wave…is that a new Welsh group ! Sounds like the place has gone back to the dogs…

2 years ago

yep – the whistling sound of the suppressant gas is a resonant frequency for some disc drives, basically shaking them and causing the operating system to fail shouldn’t affect solid state disc of course.

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