ABC7 unveils State Street Studio
April 10, 2006 (WLS) -- The ABC 7 State Street Studio made its debut Monday, April 10. Come by and see us!
ABC 7's Hosea Sanders, Judy Hsu, Tracy Butler and Roz Varon, welcomed several Chicago dignitaries and special performances to the station's new sidewalk studio site. ABC's Robin Roberts was in Chicago to broadcast live for Good Morning America, and to debut the State Street Studio to a national audience. In a taped segment for the newscast, Oprah returned to her old stomping grounds to visit the former studio that helped launch her into stardom.
Dozens of ABC7 Chicago fans spent the morning outside the State Street Studio. Several groups performed, including Blue Man Group, William Smith Jr. & the Renewed Voices for Christ Gospel Choir, the Proviso East marching band, Jesse White Tumblers, Disney star Christy Carlson Romano "Kim Possible," and much more. Mayor Richard M. Daley joined ABC 7 CHICAGO President and General Manager Emily Barr for the official ribbon cutting.
The new State Street Studio is the first of its kind in Chicago. By situating the broadcasts toward the street, onlookers will actually be looking directly at the anchor desk, allowing for a front-row look at the most watched newscasts in the city. This street-side studio is literally a window into the world of television. Also unique to Chicago, and the first of its kind in the country, the studio showcases a video sculpture that stands 42 feet tall, 8 feet wide and features computer graphics, animation and live video. A ticker banner, which wraps around the southeast corner of the building, will track the latest news headlines, weather reports, sports scores and community events.
"We are tremendously proud to unveil the ABC 7 State Street Studio, the new home to all of Chicago's top-rated newscasts and local programming," said Barr. "It is gratifying to know the Studio will become an exciting downtown destination point, contributing to the renaissance that has transformed this historic area. We welcome Chicago natives and visitors alike to enjoy the State Street studio's unique view of broadcasting in progress."
Construction on the State Street Studio began in April 2005 with the 8,200 square foot conversion of existing retail and broadcast space. Legat, the Chicago-based architectural firm responsible for the renovations, preserved the image of the 1920's-era building, while also adding contemporary touches, including an expansive bay window extending onto the sidewalk. Turner Special Projects Division, based in Chicago, Illinois is the general contractor for the State Street Studio project.
"The completion of ABC 7's new State Street Studio opens a new chapter in the history and future of State Street," said Michael J. Lundeen, AIA, Architect/Senior Project Manager, Legat Architects. "This sidewalk studio illustrates ABC 7's commitment to preserving a historical building and sensitively designing the ground floor to meet the needs of today's news media."
For Legat architect Vojo Narancic, Monday was quite a day.
"After two years very intense work, many people, really to put this together. It's a great day to celebrate," said Narancic.
While our new State Street studio was designed to move us into the future, we're also mindful of our past here on State Street and the many, many years WLS has been right here, as a landmark TV station.
A display shows a little bit of that history going back to 1939 when the first experimental TV station went on the air and going through the years. Look at the pictures of Fahey Flynn and Joel Daly from the 1970's, our own John Drury, and Oprah Winfrey, who came here to Chicago to host A.M. Chicago, then a couple years went by and it became the Oprah Winfrey Show, born right here, at our ABC 7 studios.
The site of the new State Street Studio is already a part of the city's history in many ways. It stands in what was originally a vaudeville house built in 1919 by architects C.W. Rapp and George L. Rapp. Formerly called the State Lake Theatre, it was constructed a couple of years before the legendary Chicago Theatre, also built by Rapp & Rapp. After more than 60 years of showing live acts and movies, the theatre closed its doors in the early 1980s. The theatre's interior was converted and 190 North State Street reopened as ABC 7 CHICAGO's television studios.
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