Hit by storms, a Cumulus cluster rebuilds

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Studios for six resorts in Lake Charles, Louisiana pop up after hurricanes

Posted: June 28, 2022

One of a series of articles from the Radio World ebook “Spectacular radio studios.”

In 2020, less than two months apart, Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta hit Cumulus Media studios in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

His building has become unusable.

“Once the structural issues were resolved, including replacing the roof and repairing every wall, floor and ceiling, we completely rewired the entire building and rebuilt studios for each station,” said Greg Davis, structural engineer. head of Cumulus at Lake Charles and at Beaumont. , Texas, one hour west.

Lake Charles stations include KYKZ 96.1, KKGB(FM) Rock 101, KBIU(FM) Hot 103.3, KQLK(FM) Nash Icon 97.9, KAOK(AM) SuperTalk 1400 and KXZZ(AM) Sports Radio 1580.

“The combination of a city in disaster recovery, coupled with a global pandemic, created unpredictable problems,” Davis said.

“First, finding a construction team was difficult because everyone was looking for one and the vast majority of people had left town because their homes had been destroyed. Then the crews would get sick, which would lead to delays. And finally, supply chain issues have resulted in further delays while waiting for materials and supplies.

The project included seven studios and two production rooms.

“Since the water penetrated all of the exterior walls, we had to completely replace the TOC as well,” Davis said. “This included BSI’s OpX controller, network equipment, streaming, satellite and station monitoring equipment. We installed a Comrex Access system for the remotes. And we rebuilt all sales, business and clerical staff offices.

The technical operations center also had to be rebuilt.

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The project leader was Director of Engineering Robert Combs, with studio design and organization by Vice President of Engineering Michael Gay. The studio build team was led by Vice President of Technical Operations Yancy McNair and included Justin Tucker, Bryan Waters, Sam Michaels, Bobby Dotson, and Josh Hartin, most of whom came from other markets to help.

Greg Davis coordinated local contractors, monitored their progress and advised them on the particular needs of a broadcast facility, while assembling and wiring the studios with visiting engineers.

Stefanie Adams at work in the KKGB control room.

Key components include Axia iQx consoles, Telos VX Broadcast VoIP phone system, Omnirax furniture, EV RE20 mics, Wheatstone mic processors, Yellowtec mic arms, Cisco switches, Gatesair IPLinks and Middle Atlantic racks .

“When the studios were unusable, we brought our BSI OpX automation system to our neighboring market in Beaumont, Texas,” he said.

“We used GatesAir IPLink200 units to transport the audio over the internet. Although it was difficult to access the internet immediately afterwards, we then installed ViaSat satellite internet. Although not the ideal, it worked well for delivering quality audio to the site when there was no local ISP available.

Most of the new equipment was purchased through the broadcasters’ general store. “They worked really hard to make sure we got everything we needed, even at a time when some things were hard to come by.”

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