Text and photos by SCOTT FYBUSH
When we made it back to the NAB Show in April for the first time in three years, we didn’t actually expect to see many broadcast facilities around Las Vegas – the local broadcast engineers always get very busy at NAB time, and some buildings still aren’t fully open to visitors.
But once we’re in town, we run in to people we know, and next thing you know we’re headed to downtown Las Vegas to see a new facility that opened during the pandemic.
Around the country, iHeart has been downsizing many of its studio and office buildings as leases expire, and so it went here: instead of the anonymous office park just west of the 15 freeway where its stations were located, the company signed a 15-year deal for a second-floor space overlooking the Fremont Street entertainment district downtown.
There used to be a country bar here, which might explain the escalators leading up and down from the front door out to the pedestrian streetside entrance. Upstairs, it’s very similar to other new iHeart facilities: a big open office area with a few private conference rooms and offices off to one side, and a performance space off to the other side.
The performance space has a nice view out to Fremont Street, plus an outdoor balcony with a great view looking west to the covered Fremont Street Experience, zipline and all.
(Oddly, there is as yet almost no outdoor signage promoting iHeart’s presence here; you’d think they’d want more visibility for the company and its local brands.)
Behind the performance space, we find the typical iHeart studio configuration these days: a row of small voicetracking rooms and a few larger Wheatstone-equipped studios, none of them permanently locked to any one station.
Instead, the local cluster – classic rock “Mountain” KYMT (93.1), country “Bull” KWNR (95.5), soft AC “Sunny” KSNE (106.5) and hip-hop “Real 103.9” (KYMT-HD2) – shares use of the studios, which can be configured for any station with a press of a button.
Behind the studios, there’s a nice, tidy rack room – and a door that leads right out to the parking garage off Fremont.
Where to next? A more traditional studio facility a few miles to the south. We’ve visited Nevada Public Radio in the past, but we wanted to catch up on some studio renovations in the building on the campus of the College of Southern Nevada.
The bright paint that used to decorate the walls here is all gone, replaced by colorful murals that cleverly mix vintage Vegas scenes with branding for news-talk KNPR (88.9) and its classical sister station KCNV (89.7).
The studios themselves have been completely gutted and rebuilt with new furniture and Axia consoles.
At one corner, the daily “State of Nevada” talk show has its own studio-control room complex, with more Vegas murals and a spacious control room boasting lots of space for producers and engineers to do their work.
Across the hall in the core of the building, studio walls have been moved around, replacing what had been a large KCNV studio with a new control room-studio complex that’s used for hosting Morning Edition and All Things Considered and, on this April day, the station’s pledge drive.
A large space at the opposite corner from the talk studio is still a combination performance space/conference room, but it too has been renovated with murals and new paint and flooring.
Vegas being Vegas, there’s always more to see. When we get back next spring for NAB, we’ll catch you up on some AMs on the move as land prices have outpaced the value of the stations that sit on them.
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND….
It’s the annual Tower Site Calendar!
This is the 23rd edition of our popular wall calendar, featuring gorgeous full-color photos of tower and transmitter sites from around the country, and sometimes the world. Our photos capture the sites throughout the day and throughout the year.
This makes a great gift for the tower enthusiast in your life — or a special treat for yourself!
Because it’s not yet off the press, we’re offering a pre-production price of $20. Once the calendar is printed, the price will go up to our regular price of $21.
Don’t wait – order yours today!
We have the Radio Historian’s Calendar again this year, too. There are only 25 in stock and they sell fast, so don’t wait to order.
And don’t miss a big batch of Las Vegas IDs next Wednesday, over at our sister site, TopHour.com!
Next week: Lake Ontario’s north shore