Project New Wave, Phase 2

KRLX Project New Wave (PNW) is preparing for its second — and biggest — phase, between now and early September 2017.

PNW is a multi-phase project to rebuild KRLX-FM from the ground up. Phase One was funded in the winter and early spring of 2017, and as a result we have a large swath of equipment either in the wings or on order and on its way to us. Phase Two will see us remodeling our space, to fit the growing demand for participation in radio and to give our new gear a solid home for decades to come.

Quick tangent to talk about participation rates:

  • This term we have 247 students on 157 shows – a record level of participation as far as we can tell.
  • We’ve had increases in numbers of students each term since at least Fall 2015 (and possibly longer!).
  • Out of all of our shows, over half have two or more people on them, and 15% have three or more.
  • Lots of shows frequently invite guests on or have regularly-appearing students who aren’t listed on the application.
  • In a given term, one in eight students on campus is involved in radio.
  • About one-sixth of students do radio at some point while they’re at Carleton.

Here are some graphs of these numbers.

These data will be important in a minute.

Just want the pretty pictures? You can download a zip archive of all of them here: PNW Pretty Pictures

The construction proposals

We are making a few proposals to the Sayles-Hill Renovation Committee, depending on which space we are able to secure. KRLX currently uses space in Basement Sayles, between (we believe) storage closets for Bon Appetit and CSA Senate executives.

Tier 0: The current layout of Basement Sayles

Tier 0: The current layout of Basement Sayles

(For all of these construction proposals: with the exception of the main corridor depicted at the top, anything with a black outline is in use by KRLX; other tenants use spaces outlined in gray.)

Our current space includes two small studios, the Record Libe and engineering closet, and a hallway to link everything together. The studios are about 2.7 meters (just shy of 9 feet) a side, which is fine for one or two people, but any more than that and it starts getting small fast. With 15% of our shows having three or more students on them, we want to expand our main studio to be able to handle these large shows. (Our new console has support for up to five microphones, so we want to build a studio with five seats.)

We also have goals of increasing extra activities at KRLX, such as social events in the Record Libe and providing opportunities for advance content production and podcasting. These would require us to expand into adjacent spaces in Basement Sayles.

Our proposals for construction are tiered, with each tier building on the last:

  1. Knock down walls in the center of our space and build a larger, single Studio A with five seats.
  2. Expand south and build a “B” studio for advance production and podcasting.
  3. Expand north and extend the Record Libe.

Here’s what our space could look like under each tier.

Tier 1: Don’t expand, just remodel the existing space

Tier 1 doesn't expand into any adjacent space, but it does expand the "A" broadcasting studio.

Tier 1 doesn’t expand into any adjacent space, but it does expand the “A” broadcasting studio.

All tiers will expand Studio A from effectively a two-seat configuration, up to a full five seats. We plan on replacing the desks, seating, and all tabletop equipment (which was funded in Phase 1). We also want to improve the ventilation in the studio, and preserve surfaces for the student artwork that has contributed to the character of the studios.

Pros: Tier 1 is the simplest option out of our three construction proposals, as it does not require KRLX to expand into any adjacent space. Additionally, it achieves one of our big objectives, and allows us to respond to a lot of feedback from our DJs about the space being small and not well ventilated. All tiers, including Tier 1, also include a full station rewire, so we’ll be able to use our new gear. All tiers also include us carding the Engineering closet, aligning with the Facilities Department of converting as much of campus as possible to the OneCard network.

Cons: Podcasting and interviews are two things that DJs ask us frequently about, and Tier 1 does not give DJs the space they need to experiment with these kinds of content. We actually lose usable space with Tier 1, as the sliver of area between the studio and hallway is converted into a skinny storage closet. That’s not an efficient use of space.

Additionally, the Record Libe and engineering closet, as cramped and necessary to the fundamental existence of KRLX as they are, would not receive any form of upgrade under a Tier 1 plan. We believe it would be most cost-effective to undergo a larger construction tier now, rather than start another project in a few years to add on to our space.

What will Studio A look like?

The new Studio A layout.

The new Studio A for FM broadcast will be laid out like the image on the right.

Previous renderings and drawings of the studio show it with equipment mounted in under-table racks. Because the desk we were looking at is significantly more expensive than we thought, we’ve redrawn the studio to keep our existing tower and tabletop rack. These may change in the future, as there are relatively inexpensive mini-rack pedestals that we can install under the desk.

Studio A’s seating arrangement puts three seats inside the desk, and two on the back side. We expect seats 1, 2, and 3 (or 5, depending on the show) to be used the most. All controls are within reach of seats 1 and 2.

Monitoring speakers will be used on top of a shelf bridging the console at seat 1 – just like we have in our current studio today.

Some other equipment may be rearranged in other arrangements than are seen here – for instance, the turntables and CD/tape rack may switch positions – but for the most part, our SPC proposal includes funding for all furniture and lighting adjustments to create this setup.

This setup is used in all construction tiers.

Tier 2: Expand south and build a production studio

One tier up from Tier 1 gives KRLX access to a production studio, where we’ll keep a second set of equipment for students to use to record interviews, podcasts, news, or all sorts of other content before broadcasting it on FM. We don’t have full drawings for the production studio at this time as we are still collecting ideas from the community.

Tier 2 sees KRLX expanding south and building a production studio for advance content recording, podcasting, and interviews.

In addition to the improvements of Tier 1, Tier 2 sees KRLX expanding south and building a production studio for advance content recording, podcasting, and interviews.

Pros: In addition to the benefits of Tier 1, this expansion grants KRLX and DJs the ability to experiment with content and pre-record it before broadcast. A great use case is for a Zone J show at 3:00 am, but where the students want to interview their professors about recent political events. The students can use the production studio to record this content in advance (during the day) and air it during their show.

The production studio would be carded and restricted, similar to the Record Libe, but access would be available to any DJ who undergoes training and requests it.

Tier 2 would allow KRLX to make regular usage of currently underutilized space in Basement Sayles. We have several dozen DJs who could benefit directly from access to a production studio, plus several others who might join solely for this benefit. We estimate that daily usage of the space would occur fairly quickly once training was completed and access policies were established.

Cons: This expansion requires that Sayles 023, 024, and 025 be turned over to KRLX. At the moment, they’re in use by Bon Appetit for their own storage. Additionally, this expansion does nothing to the Record Libe or engineering closet.

Tier 3: Full expansion, including expanding the Record Libe

Tier 3 reaps the benefits of Tiers 1 and 2, plus expands the Record Libe to a higher capacity to allow for more social events.

Tier 3 reaps the benefits of Tiers 1 and 2, plus expands the Record Libe to a higher capacity to allow for more social events.

Tier 3 is the most extensive proposal, but it allows KRLX to benefit the most form this construction opportunity. Tier 3 expands the Record Libe by about 20%, increasing its capacity and allowing us to host more social events there.

The Record Libe currently hosts board meetings, album release celebrations, dance parties, and discussions on diversity in the music industry. It’s also a functioning library: our collection of 40,000-plus records and CDs circulates within the KRLX community. Expanding would allow us to expand and display our full collection, plus give us the capability to host all sorts of events in the future, which would benefit from the larger space.

The Record Libe is used constantly. In addition to being staffed by student volunteer Record Librarians for several hours daily, lots of KRLX community members use the space during the day to hang out and listen to music. In the evenings, the Record Libe regularly hosts social events. Expanding north would allow us to increase the usage of the Record Libe.

Pros: All of our goals – a larger studio, a production studio, and an expanded Record Libe – are achieved by Tier 3. This would allow KRLX to expand its role as a hub for music-related social activity, in addition to being a nationally ranked college radio station. This would allow us to have a massive capacity increase in all facets of our organization.

Tier 3 would also see the basement of Sayles being used extremely frequently, with the benefits of both Studio B and the Record Libe. This would mean that the KRLX hallway would see activity throughout the week.

Tier 3 would also allow us to relocate and redesign our engineering closet. This would allow us to create a “conduit superhighway” along the eastern wall of the station (bottom of the images), allowing us to easily run critical wiring between all four areas in a straight line. This cuts our costs dramatically as it eliminates zig-zag wiring, and it makes future maintenance easy as all wiring will be reduced to a single conduit.

Cons: This would likely be the most expensive and extensive renovation (although the College is on board for this plan and may assist with the cost). Additionally, under Tier 3, both Bon Appetit and CSA lose storage space and would have to hand over their space to KRLX.

Who decides what space KRLX gets?

The Sayles-Hill Renovation Committee, which Dean Livingston has assembled, is in charge of figuring out the layout of Sayles. (We’re responsible for funding our rewiring and equipment through SPC projects, operating budget, and using our chartered underwriting powers if necessary.)

KRLX does not have a seat on SRC (neither does CSA). Both are represented by the Student Activities Office.

Because KRLX has federal broadcasting requirements and the Dean of Students office provides us with legal authority to broadcast, the Dean of Students office also represents us to SRC.

We are hoping and budgeting for a Tier 3 expansion. However, we won’t know the extent of our renovations until June or July.

How can I support the project?

  • Contact your CSA representatives and ask them to support the project in the May 1 and May 8 votes.
    These votes grant us ballot access to be voted on by the full student body.
  • If ballot access is granted, vote yes and ask your friends to vote yes.
    The only way our project gets funded is with your support. Please vote for us between May 11 and 14 (assuming we get ballot access, of course).
  • Ask SAO and the Dean of Students office to support a Tier 3 expansion.
    These are the people who will finalize the recommendations for our renovation and set construction in motion.
  • Send us feedback and ask questions.
    We want this process to be inclusive of everyone’s feedback, so please do share it with us so that we can start a conversation. KRLX is a big community and we want to be sure that your voice is heard, especially in a project that will literally shape the station for decades to come.

The KRLX Project New Wave Committee

Tate Bosler ’19, Chair
Martha Durrett ’18
Alyk “Ark” Kenlan ’18
Jacob Rockey ’19