Lotus Calls Wheatstone for Post-fire Rebuild


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Las Vegas - Apr 8, 2002 - When an electrical fire guts an entire room and damages the foundation of the building of a radio station, everyone leaps into action to get the station back on the air. Lotus Communications, the owner of 22 radio stations, made the best of a bad situation, however, and is relocating all of its Los Angeles facilities - thee radio stations and two satellite networks, to a new three-story facility showcase. Lotus turned to Wheatstone to provide many of the core studio components for a major market rebuild including seven digital audio consoles, seven rooms of Wheatstone studio furniture, a facility-wide large scale Bridge 2001 audio network router and WireMax wiring systems for each studio.

The fire occurred on Dec. 6, 2001, in the sub-basement of a 20-story building in downtown Hollywood. The studios and offices for KWKW, KWKU and KIRN were on the 16th floor. When the alarm was sounded, the building was evacuated. After an inspection, the building was condemned. John Cooper, chief engineer for all three stations, was eventually allowed in the building to relocate satellite uplink equipment to temporary locations and begin operations from the disaster emergency studios of each station. KWKW and KWKU were back on the air within six hours; KIRN within twelve. They operated from their temporary locations for roughly two weeks.

The stations lost about five percent of its equipment in the fire, but the real loss was functionality. The station's engineering staff carried consoles, ISDN codecs, automation systems, microphones, switchers and other essential studio equipment down 16 flights of stairs. There was no power, so there was no elevator service. Within three hours the stations began operating in stages from a temporary studio location in Hollywood with Comrex Hotlines for STLs.

Lotus had just finished a six-month buildout on KIRN when the fire occurred. To wire a new technical facility in traditional analog style with multi-pair snakes, punchblocks and distribution amps, it would take a minimum of three to six months from the time engineering was allowed access to the technical and studio spaces. Wheatstone’s combination of WireMax wiring systems and custom-configured furniture, Bridge 2001 router with networked audio, and consoles that integrated with all the components were a combination that would dramatically improve the project’s bottom line. John Cooper noted that the savings in time alone was about three months or more, plus the station saved money by reducing the time in the temporary studios. Cooper also selected Wheatstone to reduce the number of vendors with which he had to deal.

Lotus ordered three Wheatstone D-5000 and four D-4000 digital audio consoles as well as a Wheatstone Bridge 2001 router.

The Wheatstone equipment will be installed at the old location and moved to the new showcase facility by June 2002. The new facility will occupy two floors of the 24,000 square-foot building that includes eight studios, seven of which will be installed immediately, with one planned for the future.

Look for a Facility Showcase on the Lotus installation in an upcoming issue of BE Radio magazine.




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