Cox Media Group Ohio (Cox) has been at the industry forefront throughout its 112-year history. Cox is committed to integration of its TV, radio and newspaper operations, simultaneously maximizing efficiency and expanding reach. It followed naturally for Cox to partner with another industry leader, Comprehensive Technical Group (CTG) in 2009. Cox backed up its commitment to innovation with a $13 million investment in a newly configured studio, centered on its flagship television station WHIO-TV, simultaneous to a $30 million renovation of its Cox Ohio Media Center. Not only does Cox support traditional entities with efficiencies of scale and combined resources, but also the facility is hardwired to support emerging media outlets. The forward-thinking that allows content to migrate effortlessly between TV, digital media, print and radio has made Cox Interactive a major player in digital media.
CTG faced one central challenge within its project scope of provisioning, engineering, integrating and relocating broadcast facilities for WHIO-TV: how to keep the current facility on-air while repurposing and reusing about 30 percent of the existing gear into the new system, all with no interruption of signal. CTG identified this key efficiency (which allowed greater flexibility in other budget areas) and pulled it off through careful planning and close client communication via video-conferencing.
The project scope included master control, production control, satellite distribution, technical core, editing, IT infrastructure, graphics, weather graphic systems and studio. Key product lines included Grass Valley for master and production control, Harris for automation, Evertz for terminal gear and Avid for editing. Project manager Josh Shibler described one key advantage for the project: adequate and appropriate space. "The previous facility had been built piecemeal over 60 years," he said. "Here we had custom space, and a clear sense from the beginning of what went where."
The state-of-the-art planning extended to every detail, culminating in a 10in thick sod roof that was not only green, but soundproof enough to mitigate the helicopter flyovers from a local hospital.
Senior account executive Ry Alford described another significant project challenge: an unalterable deadline. "We knew from the day we signed on in January that on Dec. 11, within a span of a few hours, we would be making this shift," he said. "We nailed this deadline with early project planning, meeting mutually agreed milestones and maintaining good client communications."
All of this unfolded within a complex master project also comprising build out/installation of sets, a newspaper newsroom and relocation of multiple radio stations.
CTG staff was on-site from June through Dec. 2010, and when the switchover was completed on time and flawlessly, they were proud of playing a major role in a facility that answers real needs — not just for the staff it houses, but also for the viewers who now get more and better information about their world.