WUSF successfully acquired a modern new studio after 35 years of producing their content in the basement of the student services building. On April 13th, 2001, local news writer Linda Gibson from the St. Petersburg Times produced an article detailing WUSF Channel 16’s achievement in acquiring building space on the University of South Florida’s Tampa campus. This $9.1-million facility allowed WUSF Channel 16 to produce a higher quality of news broadcasting for West Central Florida. The acquisition of this pristine facility was 20 years in the making. According to the station general manager at the time James B. Heck, WUSF waited nearly 2 decades before acquiring the funding to obtain the facility. The Florida Legislature refrained from offering the $9.1 million grant until the Florida Communications Commission required that all broadcasters begin utilizing digital technologies to advance their production capability since the technology WUSF beard was becoming obsolete. The Florida Communications Commission was a huge asset for WUSF Channel 16 in receiving the opportunity to create an advanced facility that allowed for the development of improved news broadcasting. The new broadcasting facility was unquestionably larger compared to the isolated, cramped, and cell-like conditions the broadcasting station was accustomed to in the student services building. Susan Geiger, a 16-year employee of the studio, demonstrated her excitement for WUSF Channel 16’s new facility: “We are thrilled to be here. For so many years, students and faculty didn't even realize we were on campus.” WUSF Channel 16’s facility is now a standalone building that is open to the public and allows for the University of South Florida’s students and faculty to be aware of WUSF’s involvement on the Tampa campus. This provides students with the chance to engage with the broadcasting company through local studio projects while offering opportunities to get involved with WUSF’s current projects. The ability to gain awareness of WUSF’s presence at the university helps to produce local content while stretching the studio’s capability in acquiring national awareness of its involvement in West Central Florida. This, in turn, helps create more credibility for the University of South Florida. WUSF’s revolution in producing advanced forms of broadcasting became relevant through the usage of advanced technologies. In 1998, the Education Department awarded WUSF a $6-million grant for the building while the State of Florida added an additional $2 million for advanced equipment. The General Manager at the time James B. Heck stated: “The new building is almost incidental. The equipment is what’s important.” The new equipment consisted of cameras, editing suites, monitors, and control stations which were all digital. Previously, all data was archived on tapes which made the editing process time consuming and tedious. With the new additions in technology, WUSF Channel 16 was now able to archive their data on hard drives for convenience. At the time, the addition of new advanced equipment helped revolutionize WUSF’s ability to produce higher quality works for education, news broadcasting, and public television shows. Today, WUSF Channel 16 is no longer an addition to the company. The production studio is still being utilized for the production of commercials and student projects. Allowing third-party companies to utilize the production studio helps to generate forms of revenue for WUSF’s alternative news broadcasting entities. In addition, allowing students to conduct research projects in the production studio helps engage WUSF with the university’s student population. Currently, WUSF houses WUSF-FM 89.7 that broadcasts local news and National Public Radio broadcasts. WUSF also houses WSMR-FM 89.1 which is WUSF’s classical music station.
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