Universal Studios Radio, Orlando, FL
Aug 1, 2000 12:00 PM, By Chriss Scherer
Universal Studios Florida
The main gate to Universal Studios welcomes you into the park.
Universal Studios Theme Park is one of the showcase attractions in central Florida. Radio remotes have been broadcast from many amusement parks, and Universal Studios is no exception. The radio facility has two complete studios that can operate independently or jointly.
Located at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Rodeo Drive on the Studio’s back lot, Universal Studios Florida offers a state-of-the-art radio broadcast center where many radio stations from across the country have come for live remotes. The radio studios are located near the front entrance, so getting to them is not difficult.
There are four rooms within the studio area. In addition to the two broadcast studios, there is also a reception area and an office. The office can be used as a limited-capability third studio in situations where studio demand is high.
The two radio studios have large windows that look outside and offer constant communication to and interaction with spectators and park visitors.
The outside of the broadcast center.
The studios themselves have themes. The first studio is the smaller of the two rooms and carries a theme from the movie Jaws, which is featured in one of the rides in the park. The studio centers on a Pacific Research and Engineering BMX-III18 console. One host and up to three guests can easily be accommodated. Other equipment in the studio includes four AKG C3000 microphones, a 360 Systems Shortcut and Instant Replay, Technics headphones, an Otari MX-55 reel to reel and an Orban Audicy audio editor.
The Jaws studio.
Other devices include a Sony MDS-JE510 MiniDisc recorder, two Tascam CD-601 CD players, two Pacific Research and Engineering Micromax cart players and one Micromax recorder, a Yamaha SPX990, two Telos Delta hybrids and Direct interface, a Panasonic SV-3900 DAT, dbx 1066 mic processors and a cassette deck. The JBL monitors are powered by a Crown D-75 power amp. Pacific Research and Engineering built the furniture.
The ceiling in the Jaws studio shows a swimmer trying to escape a great white shark.
Detail of the Jaws ceiling.
The facility features an extensive library of sound effects and movie sound bytes. The entire library is available to any visiting station.
Many visiting stations only use a fraction of the equipment kept in each studio. Special needs can be also accommodated with sufficient advanced notice.
The second studio is somewhat larger and is built around the Terminator 2-3D attraction based on the Terminator 2 movie. Much of the equipment is the same as in the Jaws studio. The console, however, has 25 inputs rather than 18. Other equipment used only in the T2 studio includes two Technics SLP-1300 CD players, a Symetrix 610 broadcast delay, four Pacific Research and Engineering Micromax cart players and a Tascam 122MKII cassette deck.
The T2 studio features a stark, gray-metal interior, highlighted with visuals, blueprints and Terminator 2 parts reminiscent of the attraction’s Cyberdyne Systems headquarters.
The Terminator 2 studio.
The T2 studio also has a model of the T-1000 character sweeping in from the ceiling. The model can be positioned to face any point in the room.
The guest positions in the T2 studio.
Visiting stations can communicate with their home stations via satellite or ISDN. The rack room houses additional equipment, including two Telos Zephyr ISDN codecs, four Symetrix 528 processors, two Gentner three-line frequency extenders (seldom used anymore), an ESE NBS Master Clock system and a DG Systems transmit terminal for distribution of audio material.
The equipment in the back of the T2 studio.
Live interaction is possible between the studio and talent, visitors or park characters outside with Shure wireless mics, Lectrosonics IFB sets and an Alesis M-EQ230 and 3630.
The rack room houses the codecs and other communications equipment as well as the master clock system and the telephone switch.
The Talk of Fame plaque is a who’s who of guests who have broadcast from the studios.
The T2 studio was so well liked by The John Boy and Billy Show that they had their own studio designed around the same floor plans. Many other stations have taken up short-term residence at the Universal Radio Studios, and most of them are listed on the Talk of Fame plaque that hangs in the front lobby. This lobby also serves as a green room during broadcasts.
The studios were built in 1993 and currently host three or four stations every week. The park is open year round.
This information was provided by Bob Page and Michael Shearing of the Universal Studios Radio facility.