CNBC debuted a new set on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, making it the first media entity to have a permanent broadcast stage on the trading floor, a milestone marked by a ribbon-cutting ceremony before the market’s open.
The set premiered on “Squawk on the Street,” a program broadcast from the NYSE with hosts Jim Cramer, Carl Quintanilla, Melissa Lee and David Faber, as well as “Closing Bell” hosts Maria Bartiromo and Bill Griffeth. CNBC president Mark Hoffman and Steve Fastook, vice president of technical operations, were also in attendance.
“It’s a great, great day for CNBC," Hoffman said. "After 18 years here at the NYSE, Maria started on the floor in August 1995 and here we are with a new home. It’s absolutely fantastic.”
CNBC became the first television network to broadcast live from the floor of the NYSE with a report from Bartiromo in August 1995.
“It’s just so unbelievable to think that CNBC is now one of the major posts at the NYSE," Bartiromo said. "Twenty years ago when we first started down here, no one would have believed that the network would have actually be housed in one of the major posts, so it’s another step in the evolution, another first frankly for CNBC.”
NYSE Euronext CEO Duncan Niederauer thanked CNBC for its "shared vision" and said the project is "another example of investing in the floor and this great place and our partnership.”
Suffice to say, CNBC has always had a presence at the NYSE since its launch in the late 1980s. To really capture the ambience of the NYSE, though, CNBC would have to find a permanent home on the floor. The idea had long been on Fastook’s wish list and the project finally moved forward when the NYSE began a massive, multi-year renovation of the trading floor. It’s rebuilding each of its old wooden trading posts with more modern looking glass posts that feature flat screen TVs and other display technology, Fastook said. In conjunction with the redesign of the NYSE trading posts, CNBC began work on its new set.
After years of collaboration with the NYSE, the network now has a permanent set in a spot previously occupied by “Post 9.” It is located directly in front of the podium, where the opening and closing bell is rung.
“This is the next step in our evolution,” said Fastook, who oversaw the set’s design and construction, adding it “puts us smack dab into the middle of the trading floor. You can't get closer to the action than that.”
By sheer size alone, the set is impressive. It measures 12 feet by 23 feet. The set weighs 17,000 pounds with the anchor desk alone coming in at almost 1,000 pounds. Due to the weight, the NYSE had to place steel framing under the floor below to support it.
The set is clad with tempered glass, brushed aluminum and a composite surface that is used for skyscrapers. That material covers a welded aluminum superstructure.
From a technical standpoint, the set is mindboggling. It contains 36,000 feet of video and data cabling, 10,000 feet of fiber optic and has 60 access panels built into its raised floor. The set, and all of CNBC’s resources at NYSE are now high-definition, running on 15 uncompressed fibers back and forth to its headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J. In total, there is 200 miles of fiber between the Exchange and Englewood Cliffs.
The set features five LED television monitors, including a large touch screen that will allow commentators to draw trend lines, make notes and highlight market date. It also has five ultra-miniature HD robotic cameras on a custom made track system.
“When I first looked at those cameras, I didn’t know they were cameras,” Faber said, using his fingers to indicate just how small the cameras are.
Despite its size and grandeur, the set is energy efficient. The whole set draws about as much electricity as a window air conditioner. It’s lighted by more than 5,000 LED bulbs. There is not a single incandescent or fluorescent light bulb on the set.
“I’ve been building sets forever,” Fastook said. “But this is the most impressive thing I’ve ever been been involved with.”
Check out the ribbon-cutting ceremony by watching the video.