DALLAS — David Holland and his team at Omnirax in Sausalito, Calif., are experts at building furniture for the radio industry. They have many off-the-shelf designs and specialize in custom design work, too.
Recently, Omnirax did a custom design project for Westwood One for studios we built at our TM Studios facility in Dallas. TM Studios is the home of Westwood One’s jingle business and has many production studios. We needed to add three control rooms and two talk studios at TM to support four live talk shows for the network, including Red Eye Radio and Michael Savage’s “The Savage Nation.” We had the rooms, but the furniture and equipment in them was not able to support the talk programs we planned to run from there. They had been previously outfitted as Pro Tools production rooms.
We supplied David with the dimensions of the rooms and a floor plan, which he imported into his AutoCAD software. We also supplied a list of needs by room. That included what type of equipment we were buying (manufacturer and model) along with the number of rack units for each, the number of seats and microphone positions we needed for the staff running the shows and hosts and the number of computers and flat screen monitors we planned to put in the rooms. That information gave us the starting point to begin working.
Here’s where working with Omnirax saves you time. First, they have the dimensions of virtually every mixing console and piece of broadcast equipment on the market in their CAD library. Having done many projects, they’ve collected quite a knowledgebase of console models and ancillary gear.
Second, since they have done many prior projects, they have a database of rooms they’ve done along with photos from all angles that can be referenced while you work on designing yours. This is valuable in quickly demonstrating a concept to see if it fits with your ideas and needs or not. Finally, using the powers of the “cloud” (aka: GoToMeeting), David can extend his desktop to anywhere there’s an Internet connection and a computer, which speeds up the design and approval process.
For Dallas, we had two or three GoToMeeting sessions where we worked up and tweaked the design, answered questions from both sides and narrowed down the project to something actionable. Once we got close, David turned the top-down view into a three-dimensional rendering that he saved as a PDF making it easy to share. We sent that PDF to the decision makers in programming and engineering for comments and a final signoff. The 3D drawings make it easy for everyone to know what to expect before furniture and equipment are built, shipped and installed. David makes sure that everyone who needs to have a say can sign off before beginning the actual manufacturing of the furniture. That minimizes errors and misunderstandings.
Since the design process takes place in AutoCad from the beginning, it speeds up the ability for Omnirax to port those plans into their manufacturing process and build the furniture to the exact dimensions for a good fit in the room and also for the furniture to fit well together as it is being assembled. In the case of our Dallas project, racks were shipped assembled along with flat-packed countertops; once delivered, these were easy to maneuver to their final home. Assembly is simple, good instructions are provided and the rooms go together quickly. With a crew of four or five people it took just a few days to get all five of our rooms assembled.
A very valuable service Omnirax provided was a GoToMeeting session specifically to help us design where mic and monitor arms would go. We had about 40 computers in five rooms, which presented challenges on the number of monitors needed, where there would get mounted and to position them in places that wouldn’t block important sightlines between call screeners, producers, board operators and the hosts. We used an integrated mic and monitor arm system, so once we had the monitor stands placed, we were able to figure out what mic arms to use in order to support all necessary positions.
After working with David on our Culver City, Calif., studios, our Westwood One News studios in Washington, and now the Dallas talk studios, it’s safe to say Omnirax is up for any studio design challenge.
For information, contact David Holland at Omnirax in California at (800) 332-3393 or visit www.omnirax.com.