Rock Radio’s Retooled Office Space-Turned-Nightclub Broadcasts Inaugural In-house Concert With Coldplay; Subsequent Shows Feature The Fray, Angels & Airwaves & Others
For years, Los Angeles’ iconic rock radio station, KROQ, mused about creating their own intimate, in-studio listening space complete with a stage, studio lighting and amazing sound for their listeners. They cleared out some cubicles and the sales office space-turned-nightclub—dubbed the Red Bull Sound Space—became a reality, rivaling any LA club. With A-list band bookings, from inaugural shows with New Found Glory and Coldplay last fall, to subsequent shows with Angels & Airwaves, The Fray, Carmen, Falling in Reverse, Naked and Famous and others, these exclusive concerts have been a hit with fans, both in attendance and those viewing online and on YouTube.
Perhaps the initial stepping-stone towards the new internal space was the 2010 and 2011 KROQ Coachella House stage, adjacent to the main event site, where performers played live mini-sets and conducted interviews broadcast on air. Scott Ramsay of Broadcast Support, working in cahoots with the station, supplied a DiGiCo SD8 to handle FOH, Monitors and the station’s On-Air Broadcast, as well as distinct mixes for the Webcast and backup recordings. Those broadcasts proved to be so successful, with a record number of listeners tuning in.
“KROQ had done live remote recordings in the past, taking feeds from the band’s boards but most of the results were spotty at best, but that all changed with the results from Coachella,” recalled Ramsay. “Having a dedicated board—in particular the space-conscious, feature-packed and great sounding DiGiCo SD8—made a huge difference and probably got the station to consider more seriously the idea of taking more control of their remotes and content.”
An SD9 was in actuality used on the first test run with New Found Glory, where broadcast engineer Steve McNeil was literally set up in one of the not-yet-disassembled cubicles. “During that first show” he laughs, “I was mixing next to someone working in their cubicle in a hallway while the space was in transition. We rolled in the SD9, mixed the show, and the results were really good.”
The inaugural event was on October 18th with Coldplay as part of a promo with the morning team of Kevin & Bean and 100 of their biggest fans, mixed live—with no prior soundcheck—on an SD8.
“The band was taping The Ellen Show prior to this so there was going to be no time with the band to get a soundcheck,” McNeil recalled, “which was a bit unnerving. We had an SD8 brought in for FOH and to mix the broadcast and web feeds, and the band had their SD7. Tony ‘Tone’ Smith, their engineer, gave me 32 stems from their previous shows so I was able to set up a few presets on the SD8, a Viva La Vida song, which was very different from the new album, and one for the old stuff. I also custom built a whole section of faders for their producer to have access to in case he wanted to participate in the mix, which he didn’t. The biggest kicker was that I never saw the band until they stepped on stage and started to play. The biggest show of my career, and my only soundcheck was off of the master returns that the engineer gave me… broadcast around the world on YouTube and to millions of listeners. Talk about nerve wracking!”
“On top of it, the station’s web producer Jay "Lightning" Tilles had planned a family vacation and ended up watching the whole thing on his iPad from Hawaii and called in to say it sounded perfect.”
DiGiCo is a UK-based manufacturer of some of the world’s most popular, successful and ground-breaking digital mixing consoles for the live, theatre, broadcast and post production industries and is exclusively distributed in the U.S. by Group One Ltd. of Farmingdale, New York. For more information, go to: www.digico.org <http://www.digico.org>