Omnirax Makes KCLU Dream Happen
OAKS, Calif. — For 16 years KCLU was located in a cramped California Lutheran
University residence hall. Over the years the station used these facilities to
cement a reputation as a formidable news & talk source for the region,
winning more than 160 awards for journalism and a large, supportive audience.
In 2009 planning began for a new
facility to meet the station’s growing production and on-air needs. We started
with a “wish list” of the many studio, community and office spaces we wanted in
our “dream” facility. But, translating rough sketches into attractive,
functional work spaces isn’t easy and we knew that the consequences of our
decisions would last decades.
studio for KCLU is under construction. Note the ‘indentations’ for guests and
staff along with the cutout for the console.
Every dollar spent was another that had
to be raised, so we were cautious and looked at a number of off-the-shelf
options for studio furniture. Each seemed to sacrifice something that we considered
important: work flow, sight lines, ergonomics, space utilization, visual
impact. We decided that you don’t build a $3 million house and furnish it at Ikea.
We needed to do it right.
We first met Omnirax designer David
Holland at the NAB Show in April 2010. He showed us photos of the company’s
projects, from modest to over-the-top.(We were looking for something in between!) Shortly afterward, we began
a series of teleconferences to “audition” different shapes and configurations
Working with Omnirax went beyond
configuration and styling. The conversations were wide-ranging, aimed at
creating a facility that worked on every level. Sometimes what seems logical on
the blueprints doesn’t always work in reality.
We puzzled through everything from the
placement of studio windows for superior sight lines to the ideal location for
computer monitors and desk-mounted hardware. I’m confident that these
comprehensive considerations will keep future KCLU staff from cursing our names
in future years.
As the project progressed, we discussed
the equipment planned for each room and made sure rack and desk space would be
adequate for what we envisioned. Later, we selected from a huge variety of
colors and finishes that would make our furnishings look “at home” in a
We chose Corian finishes for the guest
wings in our Master Control and Talk studios. It adds a nice accent to the
design and really makes an impression on guests who stop by for interviews.
KCLU’s New Studios
Assembly of our furniture was overseen
by our consulting engineer Tim Schultz. It’s heavy-duty stuff, so he pulled two
of his brothers in for labor. Surprisingly, they were able to get most of it
done in one weekend and everything went together beautifully.
The only complication came when we
realized that the as-built dimensions of our smallest production booth were
slightly narrower than specified. This was a problem, because we’d used every
square inch to work that room into our floorplan. Omnirax was able quickly to
redesign and manufacture a modified desktop to accommodate the space we had
available. Today, you’d never know there was a problem.
Omnirax designs are known for graceful, curved lines. They’re
“people friendly,” with no hard corners or sharp turns. Each of the microphone
positions at KCLU is defined by an indentation that guides talent into their
own individual work area. The furniture is also sturdy and beautiful, never
failing to elicit a “wow” even from visitors who have seen plenty of studios.
Each piece arrived precut for our Axia consoles, with wiring cutouts that
precisely met wall conduits for easy access and simplified cable runs.
For most of us, the opportunity to
build a new facility from the ground up is rare. Unfortunately, that also
increases the chance of making mistakes. Working with Omnirax allowed KCLU to
make the most of limited space, while creating a visually impressive and
functional facility. We were able to test the feasibility of our wildest ideas
and call upon the experience of someone who has worked on some of the finest
studios in the country.
I’d worked in lots of major-market
studios from Los Angeles to Seattle, so I knew Omnirax was great studio
furniture. But I was surprised how willing they were to function as a true
design partner, together with our architects, contractors and engineer. It gave
us the confidence to try new things and maximize what we were able to achieve.
We couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.
For information, contact Philip Zittell
at Omnirax in California at (800) 332-3393 or visit www.omnirax.com