Page D1.1 . 24 October 2001                     
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    QUIZ

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    Radio Space Takes Off

    by Brian Libby

    It may look like Captain Kirk's command station as he navigates the Starship Enterprise through a TV episode of Star Trek. In reality, it's XM Satellite Radio, Inc.'s new broadcast operations center. The high-tech facility was beamed up by Studios Architecture out of a century-old printing plant in Washington, DC.

    Four years ago XM Satellite Radio became the first company to receive a license from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to broadcast subscription radio services across the nation using high-powered satellites. For about ten dollars per month, subscribers can receive 100 channels of specialized music, news and sports regardless of their location in the United States.

    When selecting a location for their headquarters, XM eschewed the more obvious broadcast centers of New York and Los Angeles for Washington, DC. "That kind of symbolism was very appealing," says XM Radio spokesman Charles Robbins. "After all, what could be more appropriate than building the nation's radio station in the nation's capitol?"

    This was a victory for the District of Columbia, which has experienced decades of urban blight. Although Washington's metropolitan area has attracted an impressive number of high-technology companies in the last several years, most have been located in the surrounding Virginia and Maryland suburbs.

    Not only is XM located within the district, but it has brought new life to New York Avenue, a depressed area that city leaders now see as their new center for high-tech businesses.

     

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    ArchWeek Image

    In the XM Satellite Radio headquarters, the broadcast operations center features a computer-controlled illuminated glass floor, a luminous parabolic speaker that highlights the command chair, and a bank of plasma screens used to monitor broadcast activities.
    Photo: Copyright Michael Moran Photography

    ArchWeek Image

    The XM Satellite Radio headquarters was designed by Studios Architecture in a turn-of-the-last-century printing plant in Washington DC.
    Photo: Copyright Michael Moran Photography

     

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