SARASOTA, Fla. — In the fall of 2010, WUSF Public Media expanded its service to West Florida by purchasing a radio station in Sarasota. The station was to be reformatted into a 24/7 classical music station with a broadcast area ranging from St. Petersburg to Ft. Myers.
Design and finish needed to be consistent with that of existing fixtures that visually tie together spaces on USF’s Sarasota campus.
Through a strategic partnership with the University of South Florida Sarasota/Manatee, new studios for the new classical music station WSMR(FM) 89.1 were built inside the main campus building. The facility was designed to satisfy the needs of the new station but also to function as a space for radio broadcasts, live performances and recording of news programs. It occasionally would accommodate TV production needs for the three stations now owned and managed by WUSF Public Media.
The studio features a small equipment room, a moderate-sized control room and a performance studio with a Steinway grand piano as its centerpiece. It was important that the design and finish of the furniture be similar to many of the other fixtures that visually tie together spaces on USF’s Sarasota campus.
The new station, WSMR 89.1, was scheduled to go on-air and the studios open in late January 2011. This created tight deadlines, a tighter budget and the need for a piece of furniture to be a key focal element in the space. WUSF knew that Balsys Wood Arts would provide real wood, handcrafted pieces of furniture that would not only be beautiful but functional.
Balsys provided the custom furniture in our main campus studios from our original concepts and again have helped give our studios the image and flexibility that enhance our operations. Balsys built our furniture for less than I would have paid for catalog furniture and it was designed to fit our needs.
One special piece incorporated a high-end walnut finish that matches the décor throughout the facility. It was ready at the exact time it was needed to arrive at the studio for installation. I could not be happier with the service and product.
During the end of the project we decided on a change in the number of legs on the piece. We called Balsys and they jumped onto producing the two extra elements. In a short time the extra legs were ready. You can’t do that with furniture from a broadcast catalog.
WSMR 89.1 has since used the space to host donor events, live performances and live radio programs from the studios. The furniture is durable and has stood up to the wear and tear of a broadcast operation, still looking as fresh as the day it was ready for delivery.
Tom Dollenmayer is station manager for WUSF Public Media.
For information, contact Balsys Wood Arts in Florida at (407) 656-3719 or visit www.balsys.com.