The Studio Shuffle

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As a system integrator, the designs I see for new and remodeled radio stations are as varied as the towns in which they exist. Most have the typical situation: A station is bought or sold, consolidation in a market, the need for more studios, or as was the case at Sandusky Radio, just time to get rid of 20-year-old equipment and décor.

The new AM control room in use

The new AM control room in use

The stations had outgrown their outdated Tempe, AZ, facilities and wanted state-of-the-art studios for their AM talk station, AM 1060 The Fan, and their FM rock station, KUPD.

The chief engineer, Clayton Creekmore, already had a good idea of most of the equipment he wanted to use when he called me. By the time I arrived for a site survey at the facility near Phoenix, Creekmore, with help from Doug Tharp at SCMS, had compiled a preliminary equipment list. At that time, we discussed their needs in detail and finalized the list.

The KUPD air studio.

The KUPD air studio.

Creekmore and contract engineer Steve Blodgett had already built a studio (a future FM production room) that was being used as the FM air studio so that the former studio could be remodeled. This included gobbling up an old production room and moving two walls to make the existing TOC larger and the new FM studio spacious enough to accommodate a large morning show and musical guests that frequent the area.

Because we were remodeling most of the rooms, this project needed to be completed in three phases, so that no staff was displaced during construction. Philadelphia-based Studio Technology was hired to build custom furniture, and all the logistics were worked out to get everything to the building in Tempe, but to install in two separate time frames.

The starting point

The first step was to turn a small equipment closet into a temporary production room. We borrowed a small Mackie mixer from the promotion department, added a couple mic pre-amplifiers, an RE-20 mic on a bolt-on mic stand, an old Neumann dynamic on a boom mic stand and an Internet computer loaded with Cool Edit Pro. The new Tannoy R6 monitors were stacked on used cinder blocks we found in the side yard of the building (very college dorm). With the old RCS unit removed from the former production room, the little studio was open for business.

Then it was on to the rack room. After bolting the racks and ladder rack together, we loaded the Wheatstone E-Sat rack cages, installed the pre-made DB-25 cables and punched the tails to Krone blocks located on the back wall. Pacific Mobile Recorders prepared the cables prior to installation. The Telos Zephyrs, Comrex Access, Comrex POTS codecs, plus the satellite receivers were moved from the control rooms to a central location in the TOC. This equipment was now available to be shared studio-to-studio.

The rack room has a place for everything, and everything is in its place.

The rack room has a place for everything, and everything is in its place.

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