WOSU, the central Ohio public media company that produces Columbus’ local NPR radio station, is offering new avenues for students interested in digital media as they inhabit a new five-story studio and headquarters located near Ohio State. new arts district campus in March.
The state-of-the-art, more than $30 million facility includes several television and radio studios, offices and co-working spaces for reporters and staff, said Amy Tillinghast, senior director of marketing and communications at WOSU. The new headquarters also includes a state-of-the-art media learning lab, several meeting and community event spaces, and a rooftop terrace with views of Columbus.
The building’s design was created with Ohio State students in mind, said Mike Thompson, WOSU’s chief content officer in news and public affairs and host of “Columbus on the Record.”
“We have separate spaces for student news reporters and show producers. Our new location in the heart of the campus community will make it easier for future journalists to gain experience in the best radio newsroom in Ohio.”
WOSU is Columbus’ first radio station, sending its first airwaves on April 24, 1922, Tillinghast said, making this their 100th year of service to the central Ohio community. In Columbus, WOSU hosts its NPR news and public affairs station at 89.7 FM, its classical station at 101.1 and a PBS member station for its local television programming to go along with the statewide shows.
WOSU TV’s In the Classroom division provides educational programming, professional development and direct services to schools, Tillinghast said.
The 14th Avenue building represents a much-needed upgrade to the previous 50-year-old headquarters in the basement of the Fawcett Center, Tillinghast said, and will increase WOSU’s visibility in the community.
WOSU broke ground in April 2019 and the building was completed in September 2021. Kate Quickel, special events marketing manager and host of WOSU’s “Broad & High,” the show said.
“The design is also symbolic. The building is transparent, open and trustworthy — all qualities we strive for in public media,” Quickel said.
The new location of the palace is in New Circle 15+ UPwhich will include the office of University President Kristina M. Johnson among other retail, office and mixed-use residential buildings, Tillingast said.
Thompson said he hopes more Ohio State students will be given the opportunity to learn audio storytelling and radio and/or podcast production.
Tillinghast said the relationship between Ohio State and the public media group has been a two-way street, as Ohio State presidents in the past have lobbied for funding for Corporation for Public Broadcasting in Colombia.
“I think a point of pride for Ohio State is that Ohio State really kept public media on the air,” Tillinghast said. “We might not have public media, we might not have public TV, if it wasn’t for the state of Ohio,” she said.
Tillingast said the building houses the Ross Community Studio, a 100-200-person space designed for a wide variety of events: concerts, debates, trivia nights and many other functions.
Additional thought was put into lower-end TV studios, Tillingast said. They are designed to be completely soundproof, contain state-of-the-art lighting systems and have meticulously leveled concrete for camera dollys.
Quickel said the third floor features a media learning lab open to students, with a podcast room and a classroom makerspace that will be open to others to create media, lead classes and expected workshop. The second floor houses the 89.7 newsroom and studios, while the top floor contains offices, a technology-infested board meeting room and the adjacent rooftop patio with an indoor conference room.
There are 11 dedicated audio production and broadcast studios for 89.7 on the second floor, Quickel said, with up to five layers of drywall among other elements installed by professional acousticians.
Thompson said he hopes that with this new addition, more Ohio State students will be given the opportunity to learn audio storytelling and radio and/or podcast production.