KUNV Goes Back to School

March 1, 2010


KUNV returns to the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as part of the Greenspun Hall project.

For the past 10 years, KUNV has been housed in an office complex a few blocks from the campus of UNLV. While the facility was adequate (the previous tenant being another Las Vegas radio station), the distance between the station and campus kept student involvement to a minimum and didn't allow the station to become an active member of the campus community. KUNV is licensed by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents and is operated by UNLV under the Journalism and Media Studies program, so a greater campus presence has long been desired. The University received a $37 million donation from the Greenspun Family Foundation for a project that ultimately became almost a $94 million public/private enterprise to build Greenspun Hall, which would house the various units that make up the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs as well as KUNV and UNLV-TV. Construction of the building began in January 2007 and the various academic units would move into the building early in the fall semester of 2008. The radio facilities moved in late August 2009, about a year after the building opened, while the television facilities were being completed in November 2009.

The KUNV air studio -- an identical studio in the facility will serve as the control room for a future HD Radio channel.

The KUNV air studio -- an identical studio in the facility will serve as the control room for a future HD Radio channel.

Designing for radio

The radio complex was designed around a three-studio concept, which was similar to the old facility. The on-air studio and an identical production studio are located at opposite ends of one hallway, while a large performance studio is situated between them. The performance studio has its own recording control room and isolation booth and also serves as an interview studio. One challenge of the project was to build a modern, state-of-the art facility, yet keep the design simple enough for students and community volunteers who would be involved in the station's operation. Another challenge was to build a radio station within an environment that served other purposes and would probably be nosier than your typical radio facility. And a final challenge was to recover some of the old equipment, but in such a way that the old facility would stay operational until a seamless switch could be made to the new facility.

The radio studios were designed and built with sound proofing considerations in mind. The Russ Berger Design Group provided acoustical and interior design for the broadcast area. The studio walls are splayed to lessen sound reflections and standing waves, acoustic foam and diffusion panels are liberally used, and widow partitions are sealed double-glass. In addition, each studio area is essentially a box-within-a-box. The studio floors float on neoprene isolators and ceiling and walls are separate from the main building structure. Studio doors are STC-50 rated and feature Cam Lift hinges and magnetic seal plates to provide a positive seal in the closed position.

Each of the studios at KUNV was built around Omnirax studio furniture. We felt this broadcast furniture was ergonomically friendly, aesthetically pleasing and sturdily built. The furniture follows a typical U-shaped plan, but was custom designed to fit the size and shape of the room housing it and the equipment employed in that studio. Three HP L2045w 20” LCD TV monitors are stand mounted behind the control surface to provide a display for the Enco automation, Axia system and general Internet information. Because the entire broadcast facility was designed to be an IP audio based operation, the Axia Livewire system with Element control surfaces was selected for the on-air, production, and news booth studios.

WHDL's on-air studio

WHDL's on-air studio

For our digital playback and automation, we chose Enco's DAD with Presenter. This was a major change in our operation as we had previously played back our music from CD. Prior to our move, more than 75,000 songs were digitized to provide a library for our jazz and other programming formats. We chose the Enco digital delivery system because it could handle a large database and provided several other features we desired, such as easy remote access and control and smooth integration with NPR's Content Depot. The Enco system also had an interface display that could be kept simple for our community volunteer operators. These studios also house a Tascam CD-RW901SL recorder, which provides both a back-up playback source should the Enco system suffer a catastrophic failure and air check recording for the announcers.

We also chose Shure SM-7B microphones throughout the facility because of their flat, wide-range frequency response, exceptional rejection of electromagnetic hum, and minimum coloration of off-axis sound, which greatly helps announcers who tend to wander off mic. The Mika Yellowtec mic arms provide a neat, pleasing studio look as well as stable control of the microphone position. Genelec monitors were also used throughout the facility with the 8040A bi-amplified model most prevalent. Sony MDR-7506 headphones and a Presonus HP4 headset amp provide personal monitoring in each of these studios. The on-air studio looks into a news booth, which is equipped similar to the other studios, but on a smaller scale.

-- continued on page 2



KUNV returns to the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as part of the Greenspun Hall project.

Designing for performance

The performance studio is intended to be the site of many live and live-to-recoding performances tapping into the available musicians who make Las Vegas their home or performing base. The recording control room houses a Yamaha O2R96 console and is designed for 7.1 surround sound production with seven Genelec 8040A monitors and a 7050B active subwoofer. Editing can be accomplished with Adobe Audition 3.0 and a Sony 32" WEGA LCD flat panel display stand-mounted directly behind the audio console. Additional audio sources can be handled in this studio with a Tascam DA-40 DAT recorder and MD-350 MiniDisc recorder along with a Marantz PMD325 CD, Denon DN-780R cassette, and Gemini XL-120 turntable.

Looking into the performance studio from the recording control room

Looking into the performance studio from the recording control room

In addition to musical performances, the performance studio is designed for interview programs. A custom-built interview table has ample room for a host and three guests with Rode NT2000 microphones at each location on Mika Yellowtec arms and a Rane HC 6S headphone amp centered and flush mounted in the table top. Normally positioned to look directly into the recording control room, the interview table can be rolled to the side of the studio when a musical performance is under way. The performance studio also houses a baby grand piano and has an isolation booth for drums or soloists depending on the recording requirements.

Two edit suites were built using mostly repurposed equipment from the old facility. Centered around Mackie mixers (1642 and 1202 VLZ models), the suites have Electro-Voice RE20 microphones, JBL Control 5 monitors, Telos One telephone interfaces, Denon DN-C635 CD players, Tascam DA-30 MKII DAT recorders and some additional miscellaneous equipment. Production work is accomplished using Adobe Audition 3.0. Although the edit suites were intended primarily for student production projects, they also provide KUNV with additional studio spaces for basic voice-over production or telephone interviews.

A recording control room is part of KUNV's performance studio.

A recording control room is part of KUNV's performance studio.

A central TOC is shared by both radio and television and houses 46 Stantron Broadcast E-Rack units; each 45RU × 36" D. Radio equipment currently is located in four racks with additional racks available for future expansion or new equipment. Wiring throughout the facility is carried in over-head wire trays and is a combination of fiber, coax, and CAT-6. To transport audio and data from the studio facilities to the transmitter location, we chose a Dragon Wave Horizon Compact system. With 300Mb/s throughput, this system allows us to transport our digital audio stream uncompressed from a local Axia node to another node at our nearby mountaintop transmitter site. From there an AES connection runs to an Omnia 6 EXI, which not only processes our analog signal, but will also act as an HD1 processor for our main channel. An Omnia One will handle the HD2 processing, which is scheduled to be on-air next summer. Finally a BE10S transmits our signal through a three-bay antenna located on Black Mountain, giving us city grade coverage of the Las Vegas valley and most of Henderson, NV.

As a broadcaster, it isn't often you get the opportunity to have a say in building a new radio station from the ground up and when you do the process can be daunting, but when the finished facilities meet the goals and expectations of all involved it's a great feeling. Today, KUNV serves the UNLV campus and the Las Vegas community from state-of-the-art facilities and it truly is a great feeling.


Equipment List

Adobe Audition 3.0
Axia Livewire
Broadcast Electronics 10S
Denon DN-780R
Electro-Voice RE-20
Enco DAD, Presenter
Gemini XL-120
Genelec 8040A, 7050B
Mackie VLZ 1202, VLZ 1642
Marantz PMD325
Omnia 6 EXI, One
Omnirax furniture
Presonus HP4
Rane HC6
Rode NT2000
Russ Berger Design Group, acoustic design
Shure SM-7B
Sony MDR-7506
Stantron E-Rack
Tascam CD-RW901SL, DA-40, MD-350
Yamaha O2R
Yellowtec Mika


Reese is general manager of KUNV 91.5 FM, Las Vegas.


-- more photos on page 3



KUNV returns to the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as part of the Greenspun Hall project.

The KUNV performance studio

The KUNV performance studio

The performance studio from the other side of the room

The performance studio from the other side of the room

A small edit suite (Edit A) utilizes repurposed equipment from the old KUNV facility.

A small edit suite (Edit A) utilizes repurposed equipment from the old KUNV facility.

The KUNV newsroom

The KUNV newsroom



Comments

No records found
No records found