Cumulus

Westwood One Converges in Culver City

August 17, 2017 | Radio Magazine | Doug Irwin, CPBE AMD DRB

Eight studios were built-out during the 2016 remodel

You’ve probably heard of Culver City, Calif., but likely couldn’t place it on a map. It’s another media suburb in the greater Los Angeles area.

Origination point for the 400-station NBC sports network. In the back of the room, the producer’s workspace; in front, the board operator position.

The building was built in the 1920s, according to Cumulus Broadcasting Regional Director of Engineering for the Southwest/West Anthony Vitiello, whose office is located there. It originally served as a Ford and Maserati dealership.That it isn’t well known belies its importance in the country’s media and broadcast landscape, since it’s home to some rather large broadcast institutions (old and new), including Westwood One’s West Coast facility, the subject of our Facility Showcase this month.

“In the rafters, there’s still a Maserati logo up there,” said Vitiello. Brick walls and bow truss roofs were a typical construction style in the early part of the 20th century.

Westwood One bought the three buildings (one of which housed sales and admin personnel, including promotions) in 1990, and they became the headquarters for the national network. In 2003, Westwood One used McCormick Construction of Burbank, Calif., to build out the space. Studios for Metro Traffic were constructed — 28 independent studios for traffic reporters, along with three offices. The master control room was expanded to its current size, as well.

Lobby waiting areas for guests. The NBC Sports network producer work space can also be seen through the window.

As part of the process, the interior of the building was remodeled, and during construction, the staff of Westwood One squeezed into the building across the street, while McCormick Construction had unobstructed reign to build the studios.Metro Traffic was sold and moved out in 2012, and afterward Westwood One ran a split operation between two buildings: One is the current building, and the other is across the street where KABC and KLOS now reside. Once the sale of the land on La Cienega occurred (the former home of the KABC(AM) transmitter, as well as both the KABC and KLOS studios and office) arrangements were made to relocate KABC and KLOS into the Westwood One buildings in Culver City. This is what prompted the latest studio buildout.

Eight studios were built-out during the 2016 remodel: Studio A, for Zach Sang; Studios B&C, which are multipurpose; Studios D&E for the NBC Sports network; studio K, for the “The Big Time with Whitney Allen;” and Studio L, for production. Other studios in the facility were pre-existing from the split building operation.

Staff moved into the newly renovated facility in August of 2016.

STUDIO LINEUPS

The Zach Sang studio in Culver City. Custom furniture designed by Omnirax.

Sierra Automated Systems consoles and a three-frame 32KD router (supporting 1,536 inputs and outputs) make up the heart of the Westwood One west coast facility. On-air playback and automation is based on the ENCO system. All studio PCs, whether for general purposes or ENCO, are connected to the rack rooms via KVM extenders.

Furniture, next to consoles and routers, represents the greatest capital expense in a project like this, and so I asked David Holland of furniture maker Omnirax about their role in the project. He said collaboration with Vitiello was key to the success of the furniture designs.

 

 

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