By Bill Croghan
After years of planning and lots of sweat, Lotus Broadcasting, Las
Vegas, moved KOMP,KXPT,KENO and KBAD into its new 13,300 square foot
space on the first floor of the building on July 1, 2001. It was an
experience I'll never forget. The building was built from the ground up
to our specifications to house the entire business and operations
The sign welcoming you to the Lotus facilities.
The Radio station has four main studios, two production rooms, two
edit bays and a voice booth. The studio and production areas are built
with staggered-stud wall construction, non-parallel walls, isolated
ceilings and vibration-isolated concrete floors. All the conduits are
run under the concrete to a central staging area. Each room has a
closet-sized breakout box where the multiple Belden 32-pair cables
terminate on custom circuit boards.
We use a terminal board that was designed in-house, which allows room
for labels on everything and plug-in headers on the non-permanent side
of the board. All the cable is Belden 32-, 16- and single-pair wire.
From the breakout boxes to the equipment in the rooms and between
connections on the staging area wall, Belden 9241 was used. All the
digital signals are carried on AES3-rated wire. The telephone and
computer cabling was contracted to Netversant, a local contractor. All
of this cable is CAT5E compliant. All the computers have an
uninterrupted cable run to the network server room where they are
connected to high-speed switches.
Inside the breakout box showing the custom terminal boards.
A design element was introduced by the architect, who surprised us
with some shelving with 3-inch copper tubing for supports. It looked
very sharp, but any radio engineer would see it and think that it was
actually rigid transmission line. We stayed with this theme and used
3-inch and 1-inch copper tubing for many construction elements through
facility. The studio speakers, mostly large JBL models, are hung with
custom-made, U-shaped wood brackets, which are attached to the hard
ceiling with 1-inch pipe. A 3-inch copper tube was placed over the
1-inch tube to enhance the appearance. Also, each breakout box has a
1-inch copper tube going to the ceiling to carry speaker wires and
other cable connections.
The custom-made speaker hangers.
A custom stand for the 360 Systems Shortcut showing the copper
All the lighting is incandescent with dimmer controls. We were
prepared to eliminate electrical dimmer noise, but so far have not had
any problem. We also were careful to avoid using any neon signs, but
one of our program directors surprised us by purchasing a huge neon
logo, which he wanted hung in the control room. While the flicker
annoys some of our operators, our attention to good grounding, strict
conformance to wiring standards and good equipment have prevented any
The neon sign that never really became a problem.
The on-air consoles are Harris Impulse 20- and 12-channel boards.
Looking back, we should have used only the 20-channel versions
throughout to allow the extra input capacity. Each FM studio has a 100
percent redundant computer system on the Macro Media Air Force digital
program system. About 95 percent of our music is dubbed in an
uncompressed format into the system. There is a single redundant
computer for the AMs. Any room can run fully automated or live-assist
Two views of different on-air studios.
Production rooms and edit bay have Panasonic DA7 consoles and are
digitally linked to the computers using SAW Studio Light. We use CDs,
and Minidisk extensively and DAT to lesser degree, although we are
moving to CD as our standard for storage and transport. Production spec
pieces are dubbed to cassette. There is one reel-to-reel deck in the
facility. There are no carts, and if absolutely needed, we can bring in
An edit booth with DA7 console.
The FM STLs use Mosley transmitters with DSP6000 digital codecs.
Both FMs are located on Mt. Potosi, about 23 miles line of site. The
trip by road is about 50 miles, the last five of which are only
accessible by Snowcat during parts of the winter.
We have a two backup FM transmitters on Mt. Arden just south of town,
which provide about 2kW ERP. The AMs use equalized telephone lines for
On-air phones are handled with Gentner and Telos equipment. We have
three ISDN BRI pairs and use Telos Zephyrs, and Comrex Nexus, Hotline,
Vector and Blue Box units for remotes in addition to some Marti RPU
The new Lotus Las Vegas building was made possible through the hard
work of J.D. Davis, B.H.Belter, Mike Lyles and the general contractor,
Notes on planning
Double check everything with the architects, refrigeration engineers
and electrical engineers throughout the project. Do it with every
revision. Watch for simple cost savers that will burn you. If a room
needs two outlets, put in four on two separate circuits. Think about
each piece of equipment and where it will plug in, where its input
comes from and where it goes. Give yourself plenty of space for
everything and then add 15 to 20 percent. Be sure to check the ADA
requirements when planning studio furniture. Give yourself plenty of
outlets and separate circuits in the control rooms. Have at least one
isolated circuit for the studio equipment. A TV crew with lights will
draw lots of current, and you don't want to blow a breaker at that
Plan for redundant air cooling for the equipment areas and try to
separate the studio and hallway air conditioning so that doors can be
left open if a studio AC fails.
Put good ground stakes in each room during construction and connect
each area with a good quality copper strap. Give your self plenty of
overhead in the breakout boxes. Figure your maximum needs, double it,
then double again. Allow plenty of extra conduit for later
Our biggest problem was with the phone company on the day of the move.
Only about half the lines were ready despite assurances to the
contrary. The contractor and the telephone company had not coordinated
on the types of lines needed for DID, but were able to get us up and
working temporarily due to some great work by the field technicians Two
remote-control dry pairs had been ordered as 8kHz equalized one-way
lines. While the field technicians caught and corrected this problem,
we are still trying to get the billing straightened out after nearly
Contract a local mover to take care of physical moves. Office people
should move personal things personally. Equipment should be labeled by
room and moved by engineers, not moving people. Let the staff know that
you will not have time to hang pictures, adjust chairs, hookup office
computers or move their plants during the technical move. Buying new
furniture and having it in place ahead of time makes more sense than
moving old furniture into the new facility. Little things like door
stops can be a big headache if not planned.
Enjoy your new facility planning and implementation. It will be nice to
know that now you only have to face your own mistakes, not those of a
Croghan is chief engineer of Lotus Las Vegas.