Thursday, February 13, 2014

KTVU: Taming a Noisy Newsroom

KTVU in Northern California recently implemented a remodel of its newsroom, going from a closed office space to an open environment. While this kind of space is more collaborative, it can also be pretty noisy as the sounds of each department blast through the air and bounce off the walls, floors and ceilings. In this space, loud police scanners, raging phones, and live broadcast monitors created a noise level that negatively impacted working staff's concentration.

When enough was enough, Jim Haman, KTVU's director of broadcast operations, contacted MSR's engineering division, PMI, to see what could be done. "We're certainly familiar with acoustic baffling in studios and announce booths, but within a larger room with multiple sources of sounds, it was more complicated to find a single solution," explained Haman. "Scanners, audio from computers and overall room noise was combining to a level that was affecting individuals and their tolerance of 'noise.' Short of installing Sonex squares on all the walls, we didn't know the best way to isolate the sounds and then damp the room effectively."

PMI ran a series of acoustical tests, and created a set of remediation steps including:

  • Application of MSR Acoustics' SoN absorber modules on the walls and ceiling to soak up the excessive echoing (modules were spec'd in grey to match KTVU's logo)
  • Custom engineering a series of directional loudspeakers for the police scanners so that they focus sound toward the news gathering team, and away from the rest of the news departments

As soon as the acoustical tuning solutions were installed, the newsroom was significantly quieted, allowing everyone to better focus on their work. Note to architects, interior designers, contractors and installers: If you're designing open-floor spaces you are most certainly going to run into acoustical issues - call us first to save time and frustration - we are experts and we can help!


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