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Harris Plays Role in New WYSO Facility

User Report: Custom furniture along with Harris equipment fill out studios

YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio — WYSO(FM), licensed to Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio, has been providing the greater Dayton, Ohio market with NPR and other alternative public radio offerings for over half a century. This past year, WYSO experienced the culmination of a dream of moving into its long-overdue new facilities, including a 4,400-square-foot studio complex designed and installed by JMS & Associates, Inc. The studio suite included an air studio, production studio, a 650 square-foot performance studio, newsroom, technical operations center, three edit booths and support areas.

The Harris Pacific Design Center’s custom furniture division played a key role in realizing that dream. SCMS provided much of the equipment, including Harris PR&E NetWave consoles and a VistaMax Envoy routing switcher system.

New facility

The new facility occupies a renovated university building, originally used as a research laboratory, that presented unique design and construction challenges. WYSO’s diverse programming and extensive local production required a facility with more capability and flexibility than many commercial radio stations. For these reasons, plus the fact that this new facility would have to serve WYSO well into the future, it was important not to compromise on the quality and functionality of the key components. Harris and equipment vendor SCMS rose to the occasion with excellent support.

It quickly became apparent that custom furniture was the best option after researching the modular studio furniture from various manufacturers. Thinking that a local furniture shop would be the most cost-effective, I spent considerable time trying to convey our needs and obtaining quotes with little success.

Our ultimate solution was the Harris Pacific Design Center’s custom furniture. Broadcast furniture has many unique requirements that are difficult to convey to a local cabinet-maker, so working with an experienced broadcast furniture manufacturer solved so many potential problems. As a bonus, the cost was no more than using a local cabinet shop.

We worked together to arrive at configurations to fit the available space in all six studios and edit booths, and meet the requested staff requirements — no small feat. The package includes a six-position interview desk that wheels out of the performance studio to accommodate large bands.

Quality and aesthetics were important considerations. This custom furniture was just that, furniture constructed out of real hardwood by skilled artisans with finishes coordinated to match the studio environment. The result is a functional, yet stunningly beautiful, studio centerpiece that will serve the station for many years.

Shipping from California was a non-issue as it arrived in a dedicated moving van that provided inside delivery. Installation was straightforward. Instructions and drawings were provided, which, like all red-blooded American males, we promptly ignored. Good thing everything fit together perfectly.

We chose Harris NetWave consoles and the Harris VistaMax Envoy routing system, which allows each studio to stand alone without the vulnerability of depending on a single Cat-5 cable to be on the air. Yet, we also have the convenience of networking the entire station to link every studio.

The air studio and production studio utilize 24-channel NetWave frames and are setup identically so that an announcer moving from air to production will be familiar with the layout. Edit booths A, B and C are equipped with 16-channel NetWave frames; the newsroom features an eight-channel version. The companion mic control panels, headphone amps and other accessories combine to create an integrated system.The NetWave prewire kits simplify the wiring and minimize installation time.

All sources in and out of the station, such as the 14-satellite channels, eTech Ohio (a state educational technology initiative) interconnect, codecs for remotes and the automation system are available on the VistaMax Envoy routing switcher. All six NetWave consoles are also networked via the Envoy. Every source, either from the outside or within any studio, is available everywhere in the station. The new PR&E Vista software makes configuration a breeze.

This project had many challenges, not the least of which was maintaining the existing operation on the air during construction and installation. The client did not have the budget to purchase all new equipment, so the move was carried out in choreographed phases as existing equipment was relocated. My thanks to both Harris and SCMS, who were accommodating in meeting our schedule and requirements.

WYSO is looking forward to a brighter future now that it has the facility and tools to realize its potential to provide the public radio audience with the best product possible.

For information, contact Brian Clifford at Harris in Ohio or