Choosing a Site for the New Studios
The agreement between the highway department and the radio station allowed for buying the existing building structure, a moving allowance, an allowance to find a new site, and an allowance to build a new building. It also had an equipment allowance, since for at least some period of time, we would need duplicate facilities until the move was completed.
Pat found a suitable site on Cottondale Lane. It was part of a new business park that had just opened up, and the developers were looking for tenants. So a deal was struck for the land at 2400 Cottondale Lane. We were the first building in the new business park.
During this same approximate time span, LIN Broadcasting sold the station to Multimedia Radio Inc of Greenville, SC. Eventually, and before we moved into the new building, Pat Walsh would leave the station and Jim Tandy (ex-WSIX Nashville) would enter the scene as the new General Manager under the new Multimedia ownership.
Design and Planning the New Building
The building design was straightforward and uncomplicated. It was two floors, with all the studios on the second floor. Since the building is built next to a levee of the Arkansas river, we had to plan for the possibility of flooding at some point during the life of the building. So, the second floor elevation was slightly above the 100 year flood plane. All telephone, electrical, and communication s lines came into the second floor into a technical room. We also had a window installed at one end that would allow someone to boat right up to the building, and use the window as an emergency entry and exit. The auxiliary generator was located on the roof, and fed by natural gas, giving us virtually unlimited generator backup power if it was ever needed.
Studio cabinetry was custom built by a company in Ohio. I created a 3D view of each studio, complete with general dimensions to the cabinet maker, who built our new cabinets from those drawings. A detailed equipment list was prepared for each room, including re-purposed equipment from the old studio along with new equipment we had to purchase. I took this opportunity to upgrade to matching JBL speakers in all studios, and unify all microphones on the EV RE-20 model.
The AM studio would get a new RCA console, and it would be wired almost identical to the RCA console on West 7th street. This would reduce training and familiarization to a minimum, and make the installation of equipment easier as well. Speakers were installed in the ceiling over each announcer’s working location, which helped put the “sound” right into the announcer’s ears, and also help keep studio noise pollution down since the monitors would not be run at extremely high sound pressure levels.
All the studio walls were built of conventional stud and drywall building materials, except that we had separate stud walls for the interior wall and exterior wall. Walls were 6 inches thick with a 2 inch air gap in between the two rows of studs. Acoustic insulation was woven between the two stud walls, to dampen any coupled acoustic noise from inside to outside (and vice versa). Doors were acoustic dampened and had acoustical gaskets on the bottom, top, and sides. All windows were double paned, minimum.
Each studio had two independent lighting systems. A conventional fluorescent light system could be used, or a recessed lamp “mood light” on dimmers could be used. Each control room had its own air conditioner and separate thermostat. When the DJ’s were working, most of them liked the studio very cool or cold, and the music LOUD.
Next, Part 3! DM