KUNV Goes Back to School

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KUNV returns to the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as part of the Greenspun Hall project.

For the past 10 years, KUNV has been housed in an office complex a few blocks from the campus of UNLV. While the facility was adequate (the previous tenant being another Las Vegas radio station), the distance between the station and campus kept student involvement to a minimum and didn't allow the station to become an active member of the campus community. KUNV is licensed by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents and is operated by UNLV under the Journalism and Media Studies program, so a greater campus presence has long been desired. The University received a $37 million donation from the Greenspun Family Foundation for a project that ultimately became almost a $94 million public/private enterprise to build Greenspun Hall, which would house the various units that make up the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs as well as KUNV and UNLV-TV. Construction of the building began in January 2007 and the various academic units would move into the building early in the fall semester of 2008. The radio facilities moved in late August 2009, about a year after the building opened, while the television facilities were being completed in November 2009.

The KUNV air studio -- an identical studio in the facility will serve as the control room for a future HD Radio channel.

The KUNV air studio -- an identical studio in the facility will serve as the control room for a future HD Radio channel.

Designing for radio

The radio complex was designed around a three-studio concept, which was similar to the old facility. The on-air studio and an identical production studio are located at opposite ends of one hallway, while a large performance studio is situated between them. The performance studio has its own recording control room and isolation booth and also serves as an interview studio. One challenge of the project was to build a modern, state-of-the art facility, yet keep the design simple enough for students and community volunteers who would be involved in the station's operation. Another challenge was to build a radio station within an environment that served other purposes and would probably be nosier than your typical radio facility. And a final challenge was to recover some of the old equipment, but in such a way that the old facility would stay operational until a seamless switch could be made to the new facility.

The radio studios were designed and built with sound proofing considerations in mind. The Russ Berger Design Group provided acoustical and interior design for the broadcast area. The studio walls are splayed to lessen sound reflections and standing waves, acoustic foam and diffusion panels are liberally used, and widow partitions are sealed double-glass. In addition, each studio area is essentially a box-within-a-box. The studio floors float on neoprene isolators and ceiling and walls are separate from the main building structure. Studio doors are STC-50 rated and feature Cam Lift hinges and magnetic seal plates to provide a positive seal in the closed position.

Each of the studios at KUNV was built around Omnirax studio furniture. We felt this broadcast furniture was ergonomically friendly, aesthetically pleasing and sturdily built. The furniture follows a typical U-shaped plan, but was custom designed to fit the size and shape of the room housing it and the equipment employed in that studio. Three HP L2045w 20” LCD TV monitors are stand mounted behind the control surface to provide a display for the Enco automation, Axia system and general Internet information. Because the entire broadcast facility was designed to be an IP audio based operation, the Axia Livewire system with Element control surfaces was selected for the on-air, production, and news booth studios.

WHDL's on-air studio

WHDL's on-air studio

For our digital playback and automation, we chose Enco's DAD with Presenter. This was a major change in our operation as we had previously played back our music from CD. Prior to our move, more than 75,000 songs were digitized to provide a library for our jazz and other programming formats. We chose the Enco digital delivery system because it could handle a large database and provided several other features we desired, such as easy remote access and control and smooth integration with NPR's Content Depot. The Enco system also had an interface display that could be kept simple for our community volunteer operators. These studios also house a Tascam CD-RW901SL recorder, which provides both a back-up playback source should the Enco system suffer a catastrophic failure and air check recording for the announcers.

We also chose Shure SM-7B microphones throughout the facility because of their flat, wide-range frequency response, exceptional rejection of electromagnetic hum, and minimum coloration of off-axis sound, which greatly helps announcers who tend to wander off mic. The Mika Yellowtec mic arms provide a neat, pleasing studio look as well as stable control of the microphone position. Genelec monitors were also used throughout the facility with the 8040A bi-amplified model most prevalent. Sony MDR-7506 headphones and a Presonus HP4 headset amp provide personal monitoring in each of these studios. The on-air studio looks into a news booth, which is equipped similar to the other studios, but on a smaller scale.

-- continued on page 2

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