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Alpha Broadcasting's New Downtown Digs
A live performance hall highlights the new studios of Alpha Broadcasting
Alpha Broadcasting was operating its six stations from three different studio locations in Portland, OR. Of the former studio sites, Alpha owned one and leased two. Like any split operation, there were always complications operating the multiple sites, and the stations could not take advantage of the built-in redundancies of being collocated. But all that changed at the beginning of 2010.
After looking for a suitable space for the Alpha stations and corporate offices, construction began on Jan. 11, 2010. All the stations moved in by September of that year. In addition to new air studios and offices, the facility includes an impressive performance space that has already hosted a plethora of famous artists.
Studios to start
Alpha occupies space on three floors of its new building. The corporate offices (Alpha only owns stations in Portland) on the 7th floor use 4,000 square feet. The stations all operate from the 6th floor with 30,000 square feet of space. The performance space, called the Bing Lounge, is on the ground floor and occupies 3,000 square feet.
All this is on SW 6th Avenue, which is a typical downtown street -- except that it is a main transit corridor for the Tri-Met light rail trains. While the central downtown location places the stations in the center of the metro, the traffic noise presented a challenge for Marty Hadfield, the director of engineering for Alpha Broadcasting.
Like any studios, having windows to the outside was important to provide a connection between the on-air operations and the city they serve. Likewise, weather can be unpredictable in the Northwest, and there's nothing worse than a jock saying it's sunny outside when it's really raining.
Double windows were installed in the perimeter studios, but to ensure the train noise would not get into the studios, 3/4" glass was installed on the inside. The glass panels, typically weighing 350lbs each were also installed in the Bing Lounge.
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