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Harris Sets the Stage for Steve Harvey

New radio digs for the popular entertainer has live sound space

ATLANTA When we built our new studio facility in the trendy Buckhead section of Atlanta, we wanted our guests and visitors to be impressed by the size, décor and atmosphere of our program, “The Steve Harvey Morning Show.” While this is live radio, our studio space — which includes a performance stage — is beautiful enough to serve as a TV set.

Hosted by comedian/actor/author Steve Harvey, the program airs from 6 to 10 a.m. weekdays on radio stations in 63 markets east of the Mississippi, with its home base at WBLS(FM) in New York. The show, syndicated via satellite by Premiere Radio Networks and Inner City Broadcasting Corp., will expand to West Coast radio stations this fall.

The talent have plenty of room and great sight lines in this performance space. Steve Harvey is facing the camera at left. At keyboard is recording artist John Legend. Ergonomic thoughts

In our design plans, we considered appearance to be as important as ergonomics and comfort. To achieve these goals, we hired Harris to build the custom PR&E cabinets for our 1,200-square-foot studio facility, in a space prepared by architectural firm Luckett & Farley of Louisville, Ky.

Since going on-air from this studio in May 2008, these cabinets have met all of our technical specifications and exceeded our expectations of craftsmanship. Based on the appearance, durability, comfort and quality of the cabinets, we placed an additional order for two more matching cabinets to furnish a new Webcasting center.

While the studio/stage area accounts for the lion’s share of the space, the room also devotes space to the small control room (with a 28-channel Harris RMXdigital mainframe mixing console), screener booth (with Harris VistaMax intercom gear) and Webcasting station positioned around its perimeter.

Each area features custom cabinets built by Harris, finished with matching black, laminate countertops. There is also an adjacent facility rack room that is unfurnished and used solely to house audio management systems.

The focal point of the facility is undoubtedly the eight-seat, U-shaped, sit-down cabinet that accommodates Steve and his three co-hosts Shirley Strawberry, Carla Ferrell and Thomas “Nephew Tommy” Miles, who sit on the left side, as well as up to four guests on the right.

At each seating position, the Harris/PR&E cabinet includes a custom, low-profile mic boom, in-counter mic arm, D3F wired mic jack, headphone fader and mic control panel. The open area in the center of the cabinet serves as a live performance stage for guest performances by notable entertainers like John Legend, Jennifer Hudson and Raphael Saadiq, with sufficient space for full bands and back-up singers.

Our Harris cabinets give the space a clean, contemporary, attractive atmosphere, with rich earth tones and plenty of legroom and work surface for our hosts, guests, and production personnel.

Along with William Hickey and Mitch Guererro, chief engineers with Premiere Radio Networks, we worked closely with the technical team at Harris. The Harris team was attentive to every detail, down to the type of screws used to fasten the cabinets. Harris advised us through a few modifications to our original plans, and kept to our budget and delivery dates.

The cabinets were prefabricated and shipped to our location, without any hole cutouts (normally put in for equipment and wiring), as requested by the Premiere engineers involved with the installation. We especially like that equipment and accessories are accessible yet hidden from view for a sleek, clutter-free appearance. For example, the microphone positions can be easily changed or removed and mic stands can slide up and down and retract all together from view.

My key design criterion was that the studio and cabinets always allow for a direct line of sight between the hosts, co-hosts and guests, as well as the audio board operator and screener. Also, everyone can see our time zone clocks and two 42-inch plasma HDTV screens that we use to display things like movies, video clips and caller information.

With our Harris custom furniture, our studio space promotes a relaxed, creative environment for Steve Harvey to share his clever sense of humor, interviews with top celebrities, artists and sports figures, and a brisk discussion of the day’s issues with his loyal listeners.

Rushion Mcdonald is executive producer for the Steve Harvey Morning Show.

For information, contact the Harris Pacific Design Center at (760) 936-4000 or