ATLANTA — Life at Cumulus Media’s flagship facility in Atlanta is never dull. Our Cumulus stations here, all FMs, include Q100 (WWWQ), Rock 100.5 (WNNX), 99X (WWWQ-HD2), Journey 97.9 (WWWQ HD3), All News 106.7 (WYAY) and Kicks 101.5 (WKHX). We also house the Dickey Broadcasting Co.’s stations, all AMs, 680 The Fan (WCNN), 1230 The Fan 2 (WFOM) and 1340 The Fan 3 (WIFN). As of this writing, there are 18 air and production studios either operating or under construction.
We’ve been working with Omnirax since our first project in 2010 at the Atlanta Braves Turner Field where we built “a studio in a stadium” to serve Dickey Broadcasting Company’s 680 the Fan and Cumulus Media’s Rock100.5. Since that project, Omnirax have become Cumulus’ “go-to guys” when it comes to broadcast furniture.
Working with Omnirax is not simply a matter of calling up and ordering some preconfigured furniture, instead, it is a collaborative design process. We’ve been at this address since 2001 and are constantly in the process of developing and improving the space. In these times of rapid change — in technology, format and business models, as well as the necessity to maximize return on space — an efficient studio design is of paramount concern.
The process begins with our providing Omnirax with field dimensions and rough drawings of our proposed space and furniture layout. They then convert our rough drawings into precise CAD layouts and arrange to meet via the Web. I work directly with David Holland at Omnirax. He sits in his office in California while I’m in the Atlanta studios. We discuss each studio individually as well as the cluster as a whole to maximize workflow.
The starting point is describing what type of studio we’re building — air, production, voice track — and what personnel we need to accommodate. We then get into specifics such as console size and rack requirements. For each position, we consider console, monitors, keyboards and whatever gear needs to be in immediate arm’s reach, within sight or concealed safely behind covers. As we’re reviewing these considerations, David is placing elements in the drawing and roughing out the furniture layout. I’m able to present what’s most important for function, and he’s able to marry that with structural considerations so the furniture is rock-solid.
The beauty of this method is that we’re easily able to play “what if.” Testing a change in the layout requires just minutes as we rearrange the furniture on the fly. David is able to bring in illustrations of how Omnirax’s expertise has handled similar situations in other studios — in the Cumulus network or beyond. Once we have a preliminary layout, David immediately creates a PDF for me to share with our people here: program directors, talent and management. We’ll take their feedback and do a follow-up session to further refine the design. I provide field measurements for power to enter the furniture system. We prefigure the cable runs and map out all the raceways and blocking areas. Whether it is conduit up from the floor or junction boxes in the wall, Omnirax will precision cut holes for monitors, mics, console and other accessories so that the furniture is ready to wire up as soon as it’s built.
You might think that the price for this level of customization is high, but this active collaboration actually serves to keep the price down. Working together so closely enables us to “build to budget.” Together we make judicious decisions which most often revolve around “putting the money where the mouth is,” and we don’t overspend for functionality we don’t need. Plus, because of the way the furniture is conceived, built and packed for shipping, we save time and money in labor once it arrives. The furniture arrives with all racks fully-assembled including pre-mounted hardware and removable access ports. The supporting panel system and countertops are flat packed — securely shrink-wrapped with foamed edges for protection. Specialized tools and detailed instructions for each studio are provided (including photos of the studio fully assembled), but the truth is that after building so many Omnirax studios we barely have to look at the directions.
Our many projects with Omnirax receive consistent praise from our personnel, guests and engineering staff. Their CAD/CAM manufacturing process does not just offer high precision but comes in on time and on budget every time.
For information, contact Philip Zittell at Omnirax in California at (800) 332-3393 or visit www.omnirax.com.