The reason most radio stations have three studios is that generally speaking, the on-air audio will get thrown from one studio to the other when the shift is changing, so that there is no gap on air. One announcer will be finishing off his show in studio one and the next announcer will be in studio two getting his/her show prep done; setting up the panel as they like, spreading out their papers and generally getting everything ready. When one announcer pushes play on the news theme, the on-air red light goes off in one studio and when the news is finished, it goes on in the next studio. The listeners can’t hear the difference. This studio set-up makes shift changes more seamless.
It also has the benefit of avoiding competitive struggles. If announcers have to take over from each other in the same studio, things can get hairy. Announcers usually have a certain way of doing things and can get really upset if someone likes the microphone high and the next announcer likes it lower. Plus, understandably, announcers really need to “get into the zone” before a shift, as every word they’re saying is being scrutinized. It’s hard to concentrate with someone else in your studio space, even if it is another professional, so having two studios is generally a priority.
The third studio is often used as an “off-air” studio. This is where interviews and other things are recorded, to be played back later. As well as this there is always a production booth or studio where all the ads and promos are made by the audio producer, and often a news studio too. Small community radio stations can get away with just one studio, but even the most basic stations tend to have at least one other, if not several.
Image by David Jones