ORLANDO, Fla. — Beginning in 1996 and through 1997, I had the opportunity to rebuild the studios and offices for our six stations located in Orlando. Fast forward 15 years and once again it was time to rebuild the studios for the same stations, plus a few additional ones that had been acquired along the way.
The first time around, we used prefab furniture from the same company that provided the consoles and prewiring. No longer needing to accommodate turntables, reel-to-reel tape machines, cart decks and cassette loggers, I now had a chance to design and build out new studios to fit the stations’ needs instead of forcing them to adapt their occupancy and work practices to fit the space they had been rationed.
A big part of the success behind building studios is in designing the furniture to provide an ergonomic workspace, yet fulfill the technical requirements needed.
Studios in the 21st century now require anywhere from five to seven flat-screen monitors, four or more computers, and computer-based IP engines and phone systems, all of which generate heat; so thinking about air flow through the furniture is very important. Less important to the engineer, but very important to the jocks, is the workspace to bring in guests.
So there are a lot of things to consider when designing the studio furniture but none are more important than who will be building it. My choice for the task is Balsys.
It begins with the design phase. First, we put some basic ideas into Visio and pass them off to Balsys. Then we exchange emails and phone calls back and forth until a design is created and finalized. Once the final drawings are signed off, it is handed off to the shop and their master cabinetmaker and assistants.
Having the furniture designed and built from scratch, especially with each station’s differing needs, is great. This approach allows me to indicate where I need headphone and microphone control panels routed into the furniture or under the tabletops. I can have Balsys drill the large holes needed for routing electric and audio cables that run inside and around the furniture as well as to the outside world.
With consoles these days often being control surfaces that barely drop below the tabletop, you can design the studio with plenty of leg room and keep the studio look very clean. Just add the mic booms and multi-monitor mounts and a bunch of network cables to connect up all the pieces and you are done.
I am particular about maximum ventilation and airflow to keep the equipment cool. I had Balsys include the maximum number of access doors and customize each of the access panels with large metal screens above and below center. We also included enough rack space to permit keeping at least 1RU space in-between each piece of equipment and use vented rack panels for these spaces.
Overall, I am very pleased with the way things have turned out; and the programming staff loves the new studios, too. I am fortunate to work with a lot of great folks here at Clear Channel Media & Entertainment in Orlando, and everyone appreciates the end result of that hard work. Balsys and their attention to detail has been a big part of that success.
For information, contact Balsys Wood Arts in Florida at (407) 654-7611 or visitwww.balsys.com.