KCSU: Two Studios, 70 Operators

User Report: Harris, SCMS help station create new studio lines and workflows
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FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Tuesday nights rarely are busy at student-run KCSU(FM). Listeners usually tune in for “The Ramblers,” the 7 p.m. sports talk show featuring several students discussing Colorado State University varsity and club sports and the local pro teams.

Things felt a little different at the studio on the evening of Tuesday, April 26. “The Ramblers” were welcomed with a studio redesign, complete with new furniture and a comfortable layout that gave the studio a more professional look. The concurrent installation of new and flexible digital technology helped to avert an unexpected scheduling bottleneck.

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Strategy

KCSU received a long-overdue upgrade this spring when Harris Broadcast and SCMS Inc. came together to package and strategize the new studio design.

Harris PR&E QuickLine studio furniture has transformed the look and feel of the room, with new Harris PR&E NetWave audio consoles and VistaMax audio networking systems bringing new life to the on-air and production room studios.

KCSU is a relatively small operation, with only two studios, but it has a large staff to train and manage. A minimum of 70 students, mostly volunteers, will operate the studios throughout the week — assuming all the DJ time slots are filled.

The new QuickLine furniture created an organized studio with a sleek, contemporary look. The students requested a seated furniture arrangement, and the new layout and furniture design allows for one host position and three guest positions. The furniture also fits the studio better, as the previous furniture was much too large and space-consuming.

The studio upgrade also cleaned up miles of old wiring. The new wiring, designed and arranged by Harris offsite prior to installation, is far superior. The QuickLine furniture accommodates cleaner wiring runs and bundles, in a far more efficient manner than the previous furniture. The built-in harnesses create a compact and organized flow, and make the wiring accessible.

The design process required a review of the old layout with equipment lists, drawings and detailed discussions about what the station required in the new setup. This was accomplished via email and phone, exchanging photos and documents along the way. Actual installation took less than a week for the main air studio. The production studio was delayed because of winter weather, but would otherwise have been completed the same week.

The NetWave consoles helped to achieve a great sound to go with the improved look. The NetWaves replaced Harris PR&E Airwave 12 consoles that had been in place since 1998 and served us well.

The new layout and workflow on the NetWave consoles are similar to the Airwaves, thus making the training process intuitive for veteran DJs. New volunteers have embraced the consoles.

The VistaMax audio networking system offers students the ability to route sources between the studios quickly. That flexibility was needed on this Tuesday evening, as a local five-piece band was setting up to play in the performance area of the on-air studio.

This also happened to be at the same time that the sports crew needed to establish a remote ISDN connection from an arena across campus for a women’s volleyball game. The DJ was doing a live show from the air studio, handling a play-by-play broadcast scheduled to air after the band’s appearance. The strengths of the Harris digital studio equipment and open studio design helped everyone achieve their goals with ease.

The new studio design has set a tone of professionalism that KCSU strives to maintain. The new furniture, audio consoles and audio networking system helped the radio station look better and sound great.

Mario Caballero is general manager of Rocky Mountain Student Media Corp. for Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

For information, contact Harris at (800) 231-9673 or visit www.broadcast.harris.com.

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