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Furniture determines growth potential for additional technology and often times has to last longer than any other piece of equipment in the room. In today's radio station it may also have to support on air and production operations for multiple formats. The furniture must also accommodate the needs and preferences of individual talent.

While the furniture determines the growth potential of the room, conversely, the room will also dictate the type and style of furniture used. Building the room solely for the task for which it is meant serves the immediate need, but considering possibilities many years down the road can prevent the installation from being built into a corner.

Options overview

There are three basic styles of broadcast furniture: knock down, custom built and custom built by a mill worker.

If your budget is the prime consideration in your choice of furniture, you will probably fall into the knock down type of furniture. This type of furniture can also be the most flexible if it is installed in a multi-use room.

The knock-down style is a popular choice because it can be shipped via overnight freight. Repairs, modifications and new parts can arrive quickly to allow for quick reconfigurations. Only the largest pieces, usually the counter tops, may have to ship via truck line.

Knock down is a great foundation for start-up facilities. It can look just as nice as more expensive furniture and be most any color that fits the facility.

There are, however, some limitations to stock furniture. First, it may be more difficult to put it in an existing room. Available sizes may not fit perfectly given the room size and layout, and it may have to be placed against a wall, which makes equipment access more difficult. Also, any small custom changes may cost a premium to implement. Knock down furniture also leaves a considerable amount of debris behind. Because it ships via common carriers, it has to be packaged to be well protected in transit.

Depending on your schedule and ability, one obstacle may be the assembly required for this style. This can be a daunting task but once it's done it's a rewarding feeling.

Going custom

Pull-out mounts provide simplified front-of-rack access to equipment

The second type of furniture is custom built to the room. If the room is really small or if you want a customized look and feel, this might be the right direction for you.

While this furniture still uses some quick-built tactics, the furniture is customized to the room dimensions. This flexibility adds time and effort to the design process, but rack placement, equipment turrets and cable access can be placed almost anywhere it is needed.

Delivery of this type of furniture is usually handled by factory personnel and installed in a matter of days. Minor scratches can be touched up and the furniture is factory fresh when the crew leaves. The installers will probably drill all the needed access holes for cable penetrations while on site as well.

Another benefit of this furniture is the use of multiple types of materials for countertops. Corian by Dupont is one common material, but there are other solid-surface types that are similar. The joints can be welded so that they are nearly, if not completely, invisible. The tops can be resurfaced in the future and holes can be patched when it becomes necessary to modify the room. The repair, such as the sanding and buffing process, can be quite messy but the result is an almost-new top.

The budget will need a bit more money to go this route because the delivery will add significantly to the price. Add more to the cost if the installation crew has to stay for a few days.

A variety of flat-panel monitor mounts exist, such as this one from Yellowtec.

A second version of this method is custom-built furniture from a local cabinet maker. This route will also provide exactly what you want, and it may cost less than a broadcast furniture maker, but it will probably be necessary to educate the mill worker on the standards for equipment rack sizes. While this is not a major issue and can be done, it might pay to have the cabinet maker take some measurements and an inside look at some existing studio furniture to make sure he fully understands what happens inside a radio studio. Running studio wiring is different than what happens under kitchen cabinets.

The final option is custom built by a mill worker/cabinet maker. This is similar to the variation above, but this applies specifically to one-of-a-kind furniture. An architect often is involved prior to the woodshop getting involved. This type of furniture will probably have a room built around it. It will generally be a focal point of a showcase facility.

The materials will generally be high quality and the budget is probably wide open for furniture.

There are a lot advantages and disadvantages to a piece of furniture like this. On challenge is that every opening, access panel, grommet and jack must be considered prior to construction. While these can be added later, putting them in during the construction will make sure that everything fits once it's in place and access is ensured where it's needed. The designer can also fit the facility's needs into the design to maintain the aesthetics of the furniture.




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