Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


When It Rains, It Pours for KEXP

Alternative community radio station KEXP is moving to a new broadcast complex. This is the second in a series of articles that will take a closer look at how this unique radio facility is being constructed.

Alternative community radio station KEXP, Seattle is moving to a new broadcast complex atthe Seattle Center Campus in the heart of Seattle�s arts core. This is the second in a series of articles that will take a closer look at how this unique radio facility is being constructed.

For most studio build-outs, there is never a dull moment, and the KEXP project in Seattle proves to be no exception. As you probably know, it rains frequently in Seattle and one of these rainstorms created a flood in the KEXP Central Machine Room. Luckily, the flood occurred before any equipment was installed or high voltage electrical service was in place. The new KEXP studios are being built in the Northwest Room of the Seattle Center, originally part of the 1962 World�s Fair. After further investigation, it was found that the flood was caused by a tree root that had made a home inside one of the drainage pipes.

Sellen Construction performed infrared scans behind the wall to locate which pipes were leaking and why. The construction company cut 5 feet into the concrete to find the clogged drain inside the Seattle Center. Looking inside the pipe they noticed the presence of a tree root. They attached the root to one of their heavy duty spider fork lifts and lifted it out only to find the tree root was 60 feet long and in places had grown to the same width as the pipe. This caused the backlog in the drains, which flooded the central machine room and the green room.�

While the construction team worked on the flooded space, Brad Murphree of systems integrator Mizzen Media and his team of installers were able to work around the flood and start building out the other rooms for the second phase of their project. Matt Hogan of Mizzen, calculated that about 400 hours of installation time was lost due to the flood and this work will need to be rescheduled. This means that the central machine room and the technical rooms will need to be cabled at the same time to meet the projected December deadline.

In other news the studio furniture arrived for the other technical spaces; this allowed Mizzen to begin building out the rooms. Currently, all the long cable pulls are completed; all the cables for the facility were pre-made and organized by room. The equipment to build out the facility is beginning to trickle in.

A few questions for Brad Murphree of Mizzen Media:�

Radio: How is the rest of the facility coming along?�

Bradio Murphree: We are building out Phase 1 rooms right now which include the Central Machine Room, DJ 1, the Main DJ room, Live Recording Studio Room, Control Recording Studio Room, Audio Edit 1, Audio Edit 2, Video Edit 1, Video Edit 2, Library, and DJ Assist. We are putting a rush right now on the Video Control Room because that needs to be up and running in December as well. Originally we had this as part of the phase 2 build out and we were trying to accomplish phase 1 and 2 at the same time while keeping the on air date for December.�The flood in the Central Machine Room restricted KEXP to only building out the Video Control Room as the only Phase 2 room for the December on-air date. We put the Production 1, Production 2, DJ ISO 1&2 booths onto phase 2. Then the live performance stage, and DJ2 will be on Phase 3. Outdoor stage is currently phase 4. � � � � � � � � � � � � ��

Radio: It looks like you have just a few weeks from occupancy to on-air…will that be all studios or just a few?

BM: The main DJ booth, Recording Studio, Live Room, Audio Edit Bays, Video Edit Bays and the Video Control room will be ready to go. The next couple of weeks are going to be pretty crazy and an amazing opportunity to really start delving into the functionality of this facility. I�m actually really excited to turn everything on and get it working.�

Radio:� How do you plan to stay on the air and move equipment at the same time?

BM: Right now we are coordinating loaner equipment to test. A lot of the servers we are planning on moving over in the last two weeks with everything wired and IP’d ready to rock and roll.�With pre-making all the cables from the facility delays that we had, we actually have all the cables installed and dressed going to their sources and destinations. We are simply waiting on those sources and destinations to arrive so we can turn this thing on.

Radio: What sort of facilities testing will go on?

BM: First we will be completing cable testing on the Control room and the DJ 1 studio. The wiring of the central machine room is still happening while this is going on. We expect to be done with the wiring inside the racks of the central machine room in the following weeks. Although at the current moment we have an FM antenna on the rooftop and it’s feeding down into the server room and into our radio broadcast infrastructure so we can actually use the off air KEXP signal and route it around for testing which we are doing now. �

RM: Have all the drains been checked for lurking tree roots?

BM: Yes. Sellen has done a full infrared scan of all the moisture in the walls, drains, etc. to confirm that there won’t be any more issues. They are even installing a special type of drain pan throughout the facility with relays that will tie into the security/alarm system and will alert KEXP Engineering Staff if there is a problem. ��