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Corus Quay's Waterfront Radio Waves
Corus Entertainment is one of Canada's largest media companies, with interests in local radio, TV, children's animated productions and children's books. It operates nearly 50 radio stations across Canada; each station has a close tie to the community it serves. Its corporate headquarters are in Toronto, where construction of a new facility was recently completed to accommodate the growing needs of its various divisions. The local Toronto stations, CILQ-FM (Q107 Classic Rock), CFNY-FM (102.1 The Edge) and CFMJ-AM (AM640), also have a new home in the facility, but despite the corporate environment, the stations are more involved with their community than ever.
The new office building has approximately 500,000 square feet of space and sits on 2.5 acres of Toronto waterfront. The facility is the anchor project in the revitalization of the East Bayfront, which is designed to bring energy and business opportunities to the waterfront neighborhood.
Flanked by Canada's Sugar Beach on the west side and Sherbourne Common (a 3.7-acre park) and a yet-to-be-built George Brown campus on the east side, the area was previously a warehouse district.
The beachside location provides an ideal opportunity for the radio stations, which have studios at the ground level facing the beach. Each radio station has large windows to allow the public to clearly see inside. Public interaction is an important aspect of the stations' operations. John Coldwell, chief engineer of the stations, says the community presence was a primary effort in the studio design.
The studio for 102.1 The Edge includes a performance space with large doors that open to the beach area. Public concerts are typical; the station talent can easily walk out to the beach area with wireless mics to further interact with the public.
How does a project like this begin? Corus first organized an initial infrastructure/engineering committee to bring together people from all its divisions -- TV, radio, IT, etc. -- to start planning the building. This committee examined the various needs and inter-workings of all the divisions. While this article focuses primarily on the radio side, this was much more than a radio station project.
The broadcast design was contracted to Siemens Canada. Siemens built a BBC facility in Glasgow, Scotland, with similar integration of various departments. Once the design plans were set and construction began in 2007, the radio integration was handled by the radio group. Later into the project (in 2009), GS Broadcast Technical Services was hired for integration services.
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Photos by Richard Johnson (unless noted)
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