Time to play at On Air

Audio and video have combined to create On Air, which recreates a realistic tv game show experience in Sweden. Paul Milligan looks at how it was done.

Game shows have been one of the most popular genres of programmes across the world since television began in the 1950s. No matter what the format, audiences have been gripped at the change to win big prizes or a large amount of money. Yet the vast majority of us will never actually take part in a tv quiz. That is until now. On Air opened its first venue in Stockholm with the aim of recreating the feel of being on a real game show but surrounded by your friends or colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere. The concept was quickly successful and a second On Air opened in Gothenburg.  The Swedish city of Örebo is home to the third On Air venue, which is also the first franchise for the brand. 

On Air

Hosted inside Pitcher’s, a multi-activity entertainments hub features a number of attractions including bowling, shuffleboard, arcades and a casino.  This project came about as Pitcher’s had a VR attraction that wasn’t really working in the way it wanted it too, so was looking for something else to fill the space. Pitcher’s was contacted by On Air in Stockholm, and the collaboration then began.

The opening of On Air has seen part of its extensive ground floor area built to resemble a TV studio game show set.  The On Air experience includes a 90 minute game show (with two short breaks).  Visitors compete in a team with friends or family against other groups in the studio, each team consists of 2 to 6 people, and the room can accommodate up to 9 teams at once in the studio. Every team is placed behind a team podium equipped with a buzzer used to answer questions (in English) on a variety of subjects.

On AIr

Tasked with making sure it looked and felt and performed as the existing two venues do was Anders Neldin, head technician and Christopher Gothnier technical manager from On Air.  The plan from the owners was clear, as highlighted by head of sales, Patrick Haginge, to make sure every technical and aesthetic aspect of the ‘studio’ was of the highest standard. “When we started On Air here, we said ‘if we’re going to do this, it must be perfect.’ To create a total experience we needed everything to be right -  that’s why people keep coming back. It’s just so, so much fun because of the way that every element works together.”

Were Neldin and Gothnier able to use some of the designs from the previous two projects on the Örebo project, or did they have to start from scratch? “The owners (of On Air) came with a design with how everything should look, how they want LED lights to work and how the all the wooden panels should look, gave us suggestions and then we made the technical installations,” says Neldin.

“You should get the feeling you are going into a TV studio and it’s a real TV show, everything has to be nice and tight and look proper and work together seamlessly. There should be specific lights and music when people enter, when they push a button everything should just work with their system and their lightning programme.”

On Air

To make the game show as realistic as possible the host (actually one of four different actors/comedians) acts just as a typical TV game show host does, they are mic’d up with a MiPro headset, and there are handheld mics for when contestants are called up to interact with the host for various games. “The whole feeling is very TV show-y. All we needed to do was to glue everything together,” says Gothnier.  

Either side of the presenter are a 75-in Samsung LCD display on which questions or text or video are used for the quiz. Behind the presenter are different things the presenter can pull down, like an old map which can be used for some games. Audio is a huge element of the experience. When guests arrive they go into a bar/waiting area in the basement with some Audac speakers placed around the area to play music from the main room. Audio there is handled by 12 Pioneer Pro Audio CM-C56T-K ceiling speakers, driven by a Powersoft Quattrocanali 1204 DSP+D amplifier in a mono 100volt configuration. Both brands were favorites of the installation teams from previous jobs. There are nine seating areas for contestants, each with a single speaker above and a further three at the front above the host so everyone receives a uniform experience. This was the first European installation of the CM-C56T, Gothnier describes the decision to go with Pioneer: “The closed back of the 6-in speakers gives a warmer sound than some of the 8-in competitor brands that we have used in other parts of the complex, and from an installation point of view the engineering behind the units has been closely considered from a practical as well as a sonic point of view.”

On Air

The reason to go with Powersoft was twofold says Neldin, “We put in Powersoft amps because we know with Powersoft amps any speaker you use with them will sound great. We also want to be able to control the audio via Armonia (software), so we can give each different every section its own volume level. We have the people on the floor who are further from the ceiling so it's a little bit louder there, and for the people on the top it’s a little bit softer, having this system makes it easy to use Powersoft and to run 100v systems, so we put in some extra money on that and we took out the money on some other stuff to meet the budget.”

All audio is run locally through a Behringer X Air XR12 mixer, “just to make it very simple for the staff,” adds Neldin. There is a rack room just outside of the main room, and everything is run from there. 

Fitting was in less than three weeks from start to finish, icluding the installation of bespoke wooden desks. “The most difficult aspect with the installation was the LED installation which was a hassle because everything is run on square damping mats, and the electricity was kind of iffy in some places, which made the LEDs behave strangely,” says Neldin.

Day-to-day AV support is provided by an on-site technician, “but if there's a problem, like a more technical audio or lightning problem, they contact me,” says Neldin. “That's one of the one of the benefits with running Powersoft because I can maintain a lot of that from distance. Everything is in quite close quarters and we talk to each other every day. So if there's a problem, they just call us or email us.”



Audac loudspeakers
Behringer X Air XR12 mixer
Lectret HE-747 stage headset
MiPro ACT-32HC wireless mic, ACT-32T bodypack transmitter
Powersoft Quattro1204DNT amplifier
Pioneer Pro Audio CM-C56T-K ceiling loudspeakers


Chauvet DJ Datastream 4 (DMX Splitter)
Ledj LP600RGB, FLS-RGB60BL flexible colour strip, Ledj FTP3 DMX driver
Ledux Lumere Pilote-60, Lumere Pilote-100
Showtec Shark Zoom Wash One


Samsung 75in LCD displays

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