The Gayle King Studio, located at 401 5th Ave. in the heart of Manhattan, may be one of the smallest in the city, but don't mistake its size as an indication of the amount of punch the production package inside packs.
The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) came to NEP in 2010, looking for a convenient location to house the only live show the network intended to include in the lineup for the January 2011 launch, "The Gayle King Show." King was already hosting a live daily two-hour radio show of the same name on Harpo Radio, so this new studio would have to do double-duty, broadcasting both a live radio show and a live TV show. With a tight daily schedule, King required a convenient location, adding another challenge to the mix: The studio needed to be in the heart of Manhattan. At the time, NEP did not have a pre-built, show-ready studio available, so it built one from the ground up to meet the unique needs of this show.
Ray DeMartini, NEP's lead fabrication and installation manager on the project, along with a staff of carpenters and electricians, carved a studio and office facility out of an existing engineering shop space, as well as some offices released by "The People's Court," a long-term client of NEP's located in the studio on the floor above.
As construction began, Frank Lanzer, chief engineer for NEP Studios, met with OWN and began the task of creating a facility that would not only be the home of OWN's only live television broadcast, but also would be the home of King's radio show. While certainly not a unique situation, the fact that Harpo Radio is located in Chicago, 800mi away, created an interesting twist.
During the facilities design process, the production team at OWN believed it would be best to have minimal personnel on the studio floor, making use of robotic cameras. However, once King settled into her new home for a few weeks of radio broadcasting and TV rehearsals, she found that the emptiness of the studio didn't fit the style she wanted for the show. Lanzer and his team quickly did an about-face and re-engineered the solution to include four manned cameras and a Steadicam. Not only were they able to transition Gayle's radio show to the new space seamlessly, NEP had everything in place to launch the television broadcast of her show without a hitch.
They hit air in mid-January, on time and on budget, and have been going almost non-stop since with a flawless technical record for delivery.