Universal Studios Radio is All About the Wow

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When you visit a theme park, you want to be wowed. The rides and attractions are all designed to not only entertain you, but overstimulate your senses with motion, color and sound. For Universal Studios Orlando, this attention to the wow factor is apparent everywhere you go. Every experience at the park is intended to go beyond the visitor's expectations. While the latest addition to the park is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, even established items are regularly updated. This includes the radio studios at the park.

The T-2 studio

Radio magazine has profiled the radio studios twice before in an online feature in 1998 and in the August 2002 issue. The last major update was in 2002, but there have been ongoing updates over the years. For example, the studio once had Mini-disc and DAT machines, which were popular formats at the time. As technology advanced, the studios saw incremental updates as well. After 10 years, it was time to update the consoles and routing system. The existing consoles worked just fine, but to keep pace with the effort of wowing the 250+ visiting radio stations each year, the plan was made to update the centerpiece of the studios.

Variations on a theme

There are two studios in the facility. The larger studio has a T-2 (Terminator) theme and the smaller studio has a Jaws theme. This includes a moveable T-2 head coming down from the ceiling and a swimmer being pursued by a shark. And while the park no longer has a Jaws attraction, the movie is still a well-known classic.

The studio furniture, while 10 years old, has held up well and still looks good. There was no need to replace it. It's Harris Hydraflex and can be adjusted from 30" to 38" in height. This allows visiting talent to find their comfortable height.

A Corian collar was added to accommodate the smaller consoles. T-2 is still looking at you.

A Corian collar was added to accommodate the smaller consoles. T-2 is still looking at you.

Over the last year or so, the engineers replaced the mics and mic arms. Neumann BCM 104 mics were mounted on Yellowtec Mika booms. The Mika arms include the lighted ring to show the mic is live. Again, this fits with the intent to wow visitors.

To update the consoles, Bob Page of the Universal Studios Radio Broadcast Center, called on Broadcasters General Store, who called in Axia. The new system would include two Axia Element console surfaces with PowerStation cores and some Axia Nodes. The first step was to be prepared for the new consoles. The Elements are smaller than the previous consoles, so the in-counter hole needed to be covered. The mechanical shop at Universal stepped in and fabricated several collars (as they are now called) made of Corian to cover the openings for the consoles and the headphone and mic control panels for the guests. The Corian color accents the existing furniture.

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