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Your observation about perception vs. reality rings true with me in areas beyond radio stations.
TV stations which I have visited also have this characteristic. The news area is furnished with nice furniture and drapery and backdrops but look to the side or turn around and you see cables tangled all over the place and windowless concrete block walls. Now with green or blue screen backdrops and Chromakey the illusion is further enhanced.
On a personal experience note, I worked for a “world class” medical research department which published over 100 peer reviewed scientific papers each year. To the outside observer it must have appeared that we had neat uncluttered lab benches with sparkling equipment but such was not the case. We all shared a small area in the hospital basement and my desk was an end table squeezed between the bacteria culture oven and the placenta storage freezer. The whole area was a mess. Later, a fellow engineer was brought on board to do computer programming and he produced a great volume of quality work but his desk and office was littered with computer listing to the point where he won a local newspaper’s “Messiest Office in the City” award.
Our director used to say “Intensive care is an idea, not a place” and he was right.