Originally published in Radio World

Hotels played a big role in the early days of radio broadcasting, providing shelter and credibility to new radio stations.

New Orleans’ WDSU launched as a respectable business inside the city’s DeSoto Hotel in 1928, after spending five years operating out of owner Joseph Uhalt’s backyard chicken coop as WCBE. Other hoteliers played home to radio stations such as Chicago’s Drake Hotel, which housed WGN (then WDAP) in 1923.

But the trend was short-lived: As radio began to boom in the 1930s, stations checked out of hotels to move into their own dedicated facilities.

Big Whig

Newly completed in the courtyard of the Willard InterContinental Hotel is Big Whig Media, a full-fledged multimedia production facility. It is a partnership of Nahigian Strategies, a communications and public relations firm, and property developer Carr Companies.

Big Whig Media (“Whig” being a nod to the defunct political party) is home to an audio production studio for live radio and audio streams and podcasts, a multi-camera video studio and TV editing suite, and satellite uplinks/landline links to get the content out to the world.

“There’s a real demand for third-party production studios in downtown Washington,” said Cassie Scher, an account manager with Nahigian Strategies. “With industry experts and foreign dignitaries staying at the Willard, and so many government agencies and associations nearby, this location is the perfect spot for people to be able to do their interviews without having to go too far out of their way.”

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