Cruising Main Street

Beasley2V6N4 5.20.15
Beasley’s new WheatNet-IP remote studio near historic Las Vegas’ Fremont Street is a modern throwback to the days when listeners and artists could walk into any radio station on Main Street with a request or a record album.

“It’s sort of like being back in high school again when everyone cruised (downtown) Fremont street with their radios turned up,” says Tom Humm, who was raised in the area and is now the Vice President and Market Manager for Beasley Media Group, Las Vegas.

The new Beasley Media/Cox Business Broadcasting Studio built for Beasley Media Group’s five Las Vegas stations sits adjacent to a busy amphitheater in Downtown Container Park, the area’s newest shopping and entertainment center constructed of cargo containers stacked on top of each other. With the help of a fiber optic communications link sponsored by Cox Business and our WheatNet-IP audio networking, the group can seamlessly link its new remote studio to its main studio on Durango Drive some 15 miles away.

“It’s one-button control. It’s all done through (WheatNet-IP) routing, so they can go live very easily and at very high quality,” says Mike Cooney, VP of Engineering and CTO at Beasley Broadcast Group.

Beasley3“The point-to-point fiber connection puts it right on the WheatNet network in our studios, so this studio just becomes another studio like any studio in the (Durango) building,” explains Beasley Las Vegas Regional Engineering Manager Lamar Smith, who used Wheatstone’s new Screen Builder app to quickly customize a touchscreen interface on a large flat screen that acts as a control surface in the new remote studio. Beasley’s main studio operation on Durango Drive is a WheatNet-IP facility comprising LX-24, E-6 and E-1 control surfaces and more than two dozen I/O BLADEs.

And, like early radio, the new studio brings back that main street accessibility to music and entertainment for which radio is known, but with all the modern conveniences. In addition to fiber optics and audio IP networking, the new remote studio sponsored by Cox Business includes a bank of phone chargers for use by the public. Recently, on Star Wars day (May the 4th be with you), fans were able to re-charge their iPhones and Androids while walking around the park dressed in costumes as part of a Beasley event commemorating their big day with contests and prizes.

“We’re definitely bringing life back to downtown. We did our first-ever adult Easter egg hunt here as a remote broadcast, even before the studio was finished. We invited 300 people and we had 4,500 people in line before 9 o’clock, so I guess that’s a pretty good indication of how alive local radio is here,” commented Humm, whose career in Las Vegas radio has spanned more than four decades, including radio’s heyday in downtown Las Vegas.

Beasley6Beasley’s own KDWN-AM as well as KENO-AM and KGIX-AM were located on or near downtown Las Vegas starting in the 1940s, but like other stations across the nation, they abandoned their downtown studios as part of urban sprawl and began relying on remote vehicles for live coverage of local events.

Beasley Media Group Las Vegas owns NewsTalk 720 KDWN-AM and four other stations: Classic Hits 96.3 KKLZ-FM, Vegas’ New Country 102.7 KCYE-FM (The Coyote), Old School 105.7 KOAS-FM, and Star 107.9 KVGS-FM.

Downtown Container Park’s inaugural year brought in more than one million visitors and welcomed artists such as Sheryl Crow, Cults, Belmont Lights and Cayucas – a venue now on tap by Beasley’s five local stations, thanks to the new studio.

Construction for the new studio began in February and its completion happened to coincide with the NAB convention held last month and attended by more than 100,000 people from around the globe.

Beasley Media Group owns and operates 53 radio stations (34 FM and 19 AM) in twelve large- and mid-size markets. It is the oldest continuously managed, publicly traded, pure play radio broadcaster in the country.

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