The Audioarts Air-4 Console

Aside from everything else, we have been working at WSBS, Great Barrington, MA installing a new Audioarts Air-4 console. WSBS is a small AM station (860 KHz, 2,500 watts day, 4 watts night) serving the Great Barrington area. They also have a 35-watt FM translator (W231AK) on 94.1 MHz which is highly directional.  During the day, the AM station has a much better signal than the translator.  After dark, the translator covers the downtown area fairly well.  WSBS has been on the air since December 24th, 1957 (Happy 55th anniversary!), broadcasting from a non-directional tower just east of town on US Route 7.

The format could be termed full service, in the old tradition.  Music, professional sports, local news, network news, and weather with coverage of special events like election night and so on.   The station does local very well, and as such, is profitable and has a great community presence.

WSBS control room console
WSBS control room console

The air studio console was this rather tired-out Broadcast Audio unit from the early 1980s.  It had certainly served its station well, but change was in the air, so to speak.  Actually, we were getting worried about continuing to service this unit, as parts had become scarce about ten years ago.

New WSBS control room console
New WSBS control room console

Thus, we moved the air studio to the production room temporarily and removed all the old equipment and furniture.  We installed an Audioarts AIR-4, which is a pretty cool little console.  The AIR-4 has four built in microphone preamps, a telco mix minus feed, two program busses selectable VU meters and so on.   The control room rebuild project included a new counter top, adding extra microphones, headphone amplifiers, cleaning up wiring rat’s nests, installing new monitor antennas, rewiring a good bit of the rack room and so forth.


It was a little more involved than we first thought, however, it came out pretty well:

WSBS Great Barrington, MA control room
WSBS Great Barrington, MA control room

The carpenter will be back next week, after Christmas to install the sides on the studio furniture under the counter top.  It is a small operation in a small market in Western Massachusetts, but they have a real, live station staff including two news reporters.  Hey, what a concept!  To be honest with you, it is a joy all its own to work at a real radio station, if only for a short while.

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11 thoughts on “The Audioarts Air-4 Console”

  1. I put one in a couple weeks ago. Works Great!
    That counter looks good. I would not want to drill all those holes in real granite.

  2. From ham radio contesting, one learns real quick that such work surfaces should have rounded edges. Those sharp corners will wear
    real quick on the forearms, et cetera. Otherwise it’s a very clean, nice installation, indeed!

  3. Paul,

    Beautiful console, the AudioArts Air series are superb bargains for the dollar. They are nice performers and well built. Good choice! Nice photos of small town, live and local radio. The best kind of radio there is.

  4. I worked for 6 months at WSBS in 1988-89, regrouping from a divorce, a firing from a medium market AM’er and a general run of bad luck. I remember that console very well, back when most of our music came off 45s. Returning to ultra-local radio from over-formatted liner card pablum was refreshing and I enjoyed my short stay there very much. I’d have stayed longer, but it was time to finish my regrouping and get on with life.

  5. The frequency for WSBS was origionally in North Adams. It was the first radio station in No. Adams having signed on before WMNB. Its call letters were WKOB. Later, ironically, the calls were WNAW named after its owner, Neal A. Welch. Mr. Welch later succeeded Robert Sprague as CEO of Sprague Electric. Today, those calls are parked on the former WMNB AM and stand for North Adams, Adams & Williamstown. I was working at WMNB when Berkshire Broadcasting acquired WSBS.

  6. On the workspace’s sharp corners … plexiglass makes a good cover that will wear round (eventually).
    It also makes a good clear cover should you need to place important info prominently, like
    EAS shortcuts, NOAA contacts, station phone lists…

    After about 30 years the plexiglass gets kind of scratched up. either a fine mouse pad,
    or time for new plexiglass…

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