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CEI Builds Broadcast Facility for WAMU

Doubles NPR affiliate with new five-story media center

WAMU “Bluegrass��� Control Room

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Washington-based public radio station and American University‐licensed NPR affiliate WAMU(FM) recently commissioned consulting, design and systems integration company Communications Engineering Inc. to engineer the design and build updated technical systems for a new broadcast facility.

The seven-story 96,102 sq. ft. building on Connecticut Ave. now houses a five-floor Media Center with 18 studios, eight currently equipped.

WAMU has grown from a 4,000‐watt station into a public media organization creating and distributing content via four FM frequencies, three HD channels, four Internet streams and eight websites.

“Fully equipped, the Media Center will provide WAMU 88.5 with the ability to grow, creating and curating new content for our listeners,” said Carey Needham, acting general manager WAMU. “It is a robust space integrating computer and broadcast technology with talented reporters and hosts.”

CEI focused on leveraging current audio over IP technology and engineered the new technical core as a unified IT network backbone, the company explained. This allows WAMU to develop a strong and flexible foundation on which a digital audio infrastructure and file-based media workflow can be deployed, maintained, expanded and upgraded.

WAMU News Air A Studio — With the Street-Level View

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For 15 months Communications Engineering Inc. worked closely with WAMU and The American University technical staff to design 21 broadcast and production studios and control rooms, a technical core and all IT infrastructures, electrical, mechanical and acoustical specifications. CEI integrated AV systems for 12 conference and large community areas, an in‐house IPTV system, cable TV distribution, a fully networked/zoned music/intercom system and several video walls.

One studio is now known as the favorite room of the local reporters and hosts, due to its large street-level window, which provides opportunities for the public to see radio personalities and reporters at work.

Another notable feature is the 90-seat “Black Box Theater” multipurpose room includes a green screen equipped for community events ranging from live shows to a recording studio, video production and even as a rehearsal room.

Additionally, the facility houses a community meeting/multimedia room called “The Commons” is an open space for staging membership campaigns and informal dialogs.