WEBE WICC studio build out

You know those fancy new facilities pictures with the accompanying article you can normally find in the trades?  The article usually expounds on how this guy made the decisions on purchase then these guys worked hard and pulled it all together.  Here is the works hard and pulling it all together story.

WEBE and WICC have been in the same studio building for several decades.  The Pacific Recorders and Engineering equipment, while great, is tired and worn out.  On top of that, an F1 tornado ripped the AC units off the roof last June, ripping the membrane and doing extensive water damage to the facility.

The cleanup/water damage mitigation took some time.  All of the carpet and ceiling tiles needed to be replaced.  The walls needed to be resurfaced with new drywall.  In some cases, modifications such as removing a storage closet from the engineering room, moving a door, building a new talk studio and WICC control room needed to take place.  In short, lots of dust, dirt and disruption to the station equipment and staff.  It has not been trouble free, as several times computers and consoles failed due to age and dirt.

Sometime about the beginning of December, new equipment and furniture began to show up and the project was underway.

Cumulus Bridgeport new equipment
Cumulus Bridgeport new equipment

All of the new equipment was stored in the program directors office.  Heh, the program directors office.

Cumulus Bridgeport new rack room
Cumulus Bridgeport new rack room

A new rack room was designed around the old one.  The old racks are out of the picture to the left.  The original rack room had a door into the hall, that has been replaced by viewing windows, the door has been moved to the engineering office, next door.  I kind of like the windows, it lets visitors see the fancy computers but keeps them out of the room itself.

Cumulus Bridgeport Op-X servers
Cumulus Bridgeport Op-X servers

The existing automation system is being replaced by Op-X.  This is the business end of the Op-X audio servers.  All of the network connections are Gigabit using Belden Mediatwist (1872A) Category 6 cable.

Cumulus Bridgeport wire wall
Cumulus Bridgeport wire wall

All the wiring from the studios and racks are brought to this wall.  The terminations are Krone LSA-PLUS blocks.  AES/EBU digital and analog audio is run on Category 5e cable.

Cumulus bridgeport wire wall Krone block
Cumulus bridgeport wire wall Krone block

Krone LSA-PLUS termination block with Belden Mediatwist cable.  All rack and studio wire runs are terminated on this style block.  Notice the wire labels, every run is labeled with both termination ends and use.  Mediatwist cable is fairly easy to work with, the pairs are bonded, so a special tool is recommended to quickly separate the wires.

Cumulus Bridgeport wire tray
Cumulus Bridgeport wire tray

Wire tray between the racks and wire wall.

WICC new Axia console installation
WICC new Axia console installation

The new WICC control room and talk studio.  The Axia consoles are pretty slick.  They are not a true mixing console in the traditional sense, they are more like a control surface.   Most all of the audio inputs are in the rack room, however, the microphones are digitized in the studio and sent over an IP network to the rack room.   All input and output channels are computer configurable and remote controllable.  Console inputs also have onboard mic preamps and full processing.

Cumulus Axia console set up
Cumulus Axia console set up

Axia console control software.

New WICC talk studio furniture
New WICC talk studio furniture

The new talk studio set up.  This is located where the news room used to be.  In order to stay on the air and maintain the old studios, a sort of musical chairs system needs to be played.  In the end, the WEBE studio and one production room will end up where they started, everyone else will be in a new space.  The news room will end up where the current WICC control room is.

Cumulus Bridgeport network switches
Cumulus Bridgeport network switches

Network audio switches.

Cumulus Bridgeport network patch panel
Cumulus Bridgeport network patch pane

Network patch panel, notice the T568B markings.

Currently, the program directors are loading all there material in the Op-X system.  The time schedule is to transfer WEBE into a temporary studio in about two weeks.

More updates as the project progresses.

Update: The new Axia equipment and Op-X automation is on line as of 2/24.   More pictures to follow.

Update 2: For more information on how the Axia consoles are made, check out A broadcast console makers perspective.

Update 3: More pictures:

WICC new studio with Axia console
WICC new studio with Axia console

WICC studio is nearly done, just a few odds and ends here or there.   This is located where the former talk studio was located.

WICC talk studio
WICC talk studio

WICC talk studio, host and four guest positions.  This is located where the former news room is.

Former WICC air studio, gutted
Former WICC air studio, gutted

This is the former WICC control room.  It has been gutted and several walls are being removed.  This will become the permanent WEBE control room when it is finished.

WEBE temporary control room
WEBE temporary control room

WEBE temporary control room.

WEBE old control room, gutted
WEBE old control room, gutted

The former WEBE control room, gutted.  All the carpeting has been removed and 1/4 inch drywall is going over the old, glue encrusted drywall.  This room will become a production room.

WEBE WICC rack room
WEBE WICC rack room

WEBE WICC rack room viewed from the hallway, approximately where the door to the room used to be.  The old racks to the left are being stripped out and removed.  All of the stations are now on the air from the new racks.

Moving the WKZE studio, Part II

The phone company came out and cut over the T-1 circuit on Wednesday, June 2nd. This really kicked things into high gear. By that afternoon we had moved the Prophet systems automation rack up to the new location and started broadcasting from there.

Unfortunately, the backup plan, which was to use the phone company DSL circuit to relay audio to the transmitter site, fell through at the very last minute.  I think the phone company mistakenly turned off the DSL service to the old studio ahead of schedule.  The net result was 2 hours off air in the middle of the day, which we were seriously trying to avoid.  Once it was done, however, there was no going back, so we worked extra hard to get back on the air from the new location.

Naturally, while all this is going on, the electrical inspector shows up to do the final electrical inspection for the town building department.

Here is a nice progression on the equipment racks:

Equipment rack with automation system
Equipment rack with automation system

After the T-1 circuit was cut over, we began broadcasting from the new location with the equipment rack automation system using the production room as a studio for live elements and voice tracking.

Equipment rack, wired to both studios
Equipment rack, wired to both studios

The wiring on the equipment rack is completed.

Completed with phone system and network switch
Completed with phone system and network switch

The equipment rack is completed, the phone system is installed, the computer network is wired and tested.  The yellow light on the top of the rack is a silence sensor.

The old WKZE studio
The old WKZE studio

The old WKZE studio was ripped out on Thursday.  The console was removed and rebuilt with a new control surface

New WKZE air studio completed, console is a Radio System millennium 12
New WKZE air studio completed, console is a Radio System millennium 12

The production room was completed, speakers hung, etc.

The production room is long and narrow
The production room is long and narrow

All set and ready to be “customized” by the DJ’s.  Monday morning, the staff will roll into their new digs, which is always fun.  In comparison to most studio moves and  builtouts these days, this one was relatively small and simple.  Last studio consolidation project involved 5 radio stations and ten studios.  That one took place in steps over several months.