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Reconstructing WEBE 108 and WICC
Cumulus tackles the challenge of an in-place rebuild.
At the heart of the new studios is an Axia Livewire system. Powerstation frames are installed in the studios and the TOC, and Element consoles are connected. All new CAT-6-compliant (Belden MediaTwist) wiring was run throughout the facility. With the BSI Op-X automation computers housed in the TOC, the in-studio Powerstation chassis in each studio was sufficient for I/O. No additional Axia Nodes are installed in the studios.
There are some Nodes in the TOC for the additional sources. These Nodes are connected to punch blocks for two reasons: It allows some flexibility in connections; and Supplee was able to distribute audio sources and feeds among several Nodes to provide some additional redundancy in the system. The Axia plan typically puts a node in each rack to handle sources within that rack, i.e. one node for the satellite receiver, one node for the remote feeds, etc. Even with Supplee's distributed approach only 10 blocks were needed in the TOC.
There are no mic processors installed in the facility. All mic processing is handled within the Powerstations.
The FM control room and large production room have large, curved atrium windows, which provide a wonderful view of the city, but they are also a large reflective surface. Looking at the studio photos, you can also see an uncarpeted floor and plain walls. The floor (an Armstrong product that Cumulus also used in the Cincinnati studios, which were profiled in the July 2009 issue of Radio magazine) has some give to it, but it's still reflective. Acoustics First Sonora panels (2' x 2' x 1") were placed on the walls to control reflections.
No studio project is completed without a few surprises. The previously noted IT wiring in the offices was just one.
The studios are on the seventh floor of the office building, so getting the studio furniture to the top floor was an effort. The building does not have a freight elevator, so several people had the task of carrying the larger pieces up the stairs to the top floor.
The real surprise came during the demolition of the FM air studio. A wall was removed from the old studio, and within that wall was a structural pillar that was not on the floor plan. While this could have been a disaster, the studio furniture was reoriented and still fit easily in the room.
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