The author is regional director of engineering for Curtis Media.
NEW BERN, N.C. — Hurricanes are common occurrences in the Carolinas at this time of year.
Two years ago, a big one even by Carolina standards hit. Water from the Neuse River spilled into Curtis Media’s facility in New Bern, depositing 36 inches inside our studios. The consoles, the equipment, the furniture, all the wiring was completely awash in soot, debris and floodwater pushed inland by Hurricane Florence. Even the backup generator was lost to the flood.
Then the water receded and the real nightmare began.
The entire building four feet up needed to be stripped to the studs and miles of wiring needed to come out.
Very little was salvageable, except the server containing music and automation that I had placed high on a shelf as an afterthought some time ago.
I set up folding tables along the facility’s only concrete wall, found a generator nearby and grabbed a few spare consoles from the Wheatstone plant a few miles inland. These temporary arrangements would keep WMGV(FM) 103.3 MHz, WIKS(FM) 101.9 MHz, WSFL(FM) 106.5 MHz and WXNR(FM) 99.5 MHz The New Hot 99.5 afloat. I then began to plan new studios.
I quickly realized that we didn’t have the manpower to replicate the studios even if we wanted to. The wiring for our analog studios alone would have taken weeks. Getting contractors in and scheduled to do the work when others were also dealing with their own cleanup and renovation after Hurricane Florence was another problem.
All of this convinced us to go with ready-made Quickline furniture for the three production rooms and four on-air studios. Quickline is made by Wheatstone and is extremely modular. There are essentially five modular components that can be configured 32 different ways. Plus, because it’s built by a broadcast equipment manufacturer, it has things like removable rear access doors and adequate rack space.
We dropped into the furniture Wheatstone’s IP-12 control surface with mixing engine, M4IP-USB mic processor Blades and a VoxPro audio recorder/editor for seven studios, all identical. I had to rewire the entire building, but when it came to the studios, all I had to do was run shielded Cat-5 and a patch panel.
Within no time, the studios had new furniture, new boards and new routing, and they were fully functional.
I don’t expect to have to repeat the process anytime soon. But we do keep an eye on the weather around here.
Radio World User Reports are testimonial articles intended to help readers understand why a colleague chose a particular product to solve a technical situation.
For information, contact Jay Tyler at Wheatstone in North Carolina 1-252-639-7000 or visit www.wheatstone.com.