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New Studio Puts Radio DJ's on Display

Jon Ellis and Carl Sauer, WDIO-TV
Created: November 08, 2019 04:29 PM

A radio group's move to downtown Duluth is giving listeners an opportunity to see their favorite announcers live on the air.

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This week, the Townsquare Media group of radio stations moved into new glass-enclosed studios on the Superior Street level of the Holiday Center.  B105, Mix 108, Kool 101.7, and Sasquatch 106.5 had previously broadcast from an enclosed building on Central Entrance.

B105 afternoon host David Drew, who also serves as Townsqure's operations manager, said listeners have already mentioned seeing him in the studio.

"It's a whole new dynamic for sure.  But it's something that we've embraced, and it's just great to be in this location as well because we have access to everything, the amenities are better, it's a better building, a better facility, better everything, and I think people are excited to come into work now like they've never been before for our stations," Drew said.

Mary Niemeyer, Townsquare's market president, said it's been fun to see the announcers react to being on display in the new world-class studios.

"All of the DJ's, their hair looked great! I saw some new haircuts, some great outfits coming in," Niemeyer said of Monday's launch at the new location.  "So obviously they're very aware that they're on a stage and there's a bit of an audience outside."

The move to a new facility also means a technological upgrade for the stations.  Instead of traditional mixing boards, the studios now have large touchscreens with virtual mixers.

For Drew, it's the latest change in a career that has seen him go from records to CD's to multiple generations of computers.  He acknowledged there's a steep learning curve but said his staff has gone above and beyond to learn the new technology.

"Kind of like you get a new phone, you know it's going to get your voicemail and you know you're going to text, you just have to figure out where the buttons are," he explained.

Drew said the new equipment gives announcers more options to enhance their on-air sound.  Corporate engineers were on hand to help the stations switch to the new studios, and Drew said the new equipment gives the local stations a national-quality sound.

Niemeyer said the new space is about the same size of its previous location, but contains less storage room and more open space for collaboration.  The facility includes a large break room and a "reset room" for employees.

The move came as Kool 101.7 switched to all-Christmas music, which will continue through Dec. 25. The station had traditionally gone to the seasonal playlist every year but took the last few years off.

"We've had so many people asking for their favorite Christmas songs that we saw a need that wasn't being filled in the Northland. We wanted to bring those classic Christmas songs along with new contemporary favorites to the audience," said Ken Hayes, Kool 101.7's brand manager, in a news release.

WDIO is a partner with Townsquare Media and provides news, weather, and sports updates to air on the stations.

Townsquare Media's move means that for the first time in several decades, most of Duluth's commercial radio stations are located downtown.  Townsquare's main competitor, Midwest Communications, operates seven radio stations from the Technology Village.

Credits

Jon Ellis and Carl Sauer, WDIO-TV

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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