The Hard Rock Cafe is known for its mix of rock n' roll in a
restaurant environment. Each of its more than 100 restaurants around
the world are a tribute to rock n' roll, and each location is a museum
of its own, full of memorabilia from the people and bands that have
shaped the musical genre. Radio played a major role in creating rock n'
roll, but until recently, radio has been missing from the Hard Rock's
When the Hard Rock Cafe in Toronto remodeled its facilities, a new
element was added. The restaurant, which reopened on November 26, 2001,
added a street-level radio studio as a regular part of its operation.
CILQ-FM (Q107) now uses the studio weekday afternoons and early
evenings and every Saturday evening for live broadcasts.
The studio looks onto Yonge Street, which holds the title of the
World's Longest Street. This high profile location provides the radio
studio with a unique opportunity to interact with street traffic. There
is even an intercom system built in, so passersby can talk to the radio
The Hard Rock Cafe contracts with TechnoMedia Solutions of Orlando,
FL, to design and install its audio and video systems for the
restaurant locations. Ken Nickels, field engineer and site supervisor
for TechnoMedia Solutions, supervised the project. TechnoMedia
Solutions works with local contractors for installation and service of
the various Hard Rock locations, and HP Services of Toronto was brought
in to complete the installation of the studio equipment. Gary Hooper
supervised the project for HP.
The facility is owned by the Hard Rock Café, but Q107 was able
to provide input for some of the studio's design. For the center of the
studio, Hooper chose a Ward-Beck R2K console. Hooper was impressed by
the console's overall quality, from the complete product down to the
individual components, such as the faders and switches.
"The console has a clear layout that is easy to understand, and
maintenance will be easy because of the hot pluggable modules," says
Hooper. While this is a remote studio and the operators will be station
announcers, it was important to provide a console that would stand up
to regular use. "Overall, it's a well-made product," Hooper added.
In addition to the console's impressive specifications, its
appearance fit in naturally with the image of the Hard Rock Cafe and
Q107. The black and green color scheme fit well with the modern look
and feel of its environment.
HP Services installed the studio equipment in less than one week.
The studio measures 50 square feet, and getting four technicians in
there to complete the work was tight. The R2K uses Phoenix connectors
for all of its connections. HP Services was able to prewire most of the
studio offsite. The installation required only the final connections to
the Bix terminal blocks through 25-pair cable harnesses. The Phoenix
connectors will allow future changes to be made easily.
The R2K console is available in four frame sizes for 8, 12, 20 or 28
modules. The Hard Rock studio uses a 20-module frame. Other console
features include A/B input select on all modules, four stereo program
outputs, two assignable mono mix buses, six telephone clean feeds, a
complete control room and studio monitoring section including talkback,
event timer and clock that supports all time code standards, a digital
shaft-encoder control room monitor level control, and a rackmount power
supply frame with dual redundant power supplies.
Even though the studio is a remote location, it required full
control of and integration into the station's on-air audio playback
system, a Computer Concepts Maestro. In addition, the Hard Rock
operates a club on the second floor, which currently has tie lines
running to the radio studio. Future plans call for a Ward-Beck R257
control turret to be installed in the club for complete remote
operation of the console including monitor selection and IFB.
Photos by Patrick Lyver of Blind 5 Productions, Toronto.