In 2009, KWWL-TV, the primary NBC affiliate for the northeastern third of the state of Iowa (DMA 88), was in need of a total technology refresh in order to compete for leadership in the market. KWWL began the research process to design a completely new and independent facility that was fully HD, and would employ a current news production workflow. The new facility would be 50ft away from the original control room and would become part of its news set.
The design of the physical facility turned out to be a pretty simple process for KWWL. The original layout was cramped and poorly laid out, so the station worked directly with local contractors and developed a more logical and efficient design. With the construction of the new facility under way, it was time to invest in updated news production gear.
The timing of this project fell into place since HD video equipment was evolving and becoming more affordable, and KWWL was experiencing a strong need to update all of its old, analog equipment.
Working with systems integrator Roscor, KWWL had only five months but managed to build a new control room, install new equipment, create a graphics package, train its entire staff and rebrand the station. Everyone in the facility pulled together, putting all the equipment and elements into action. In order to perfect their newscasts, the team would run through them twice. They would begin their newscast by going on-air using the old control room, equipment and graphics, and follow up with a practice run using the new control room. Everyone was on hand adjusting lights, moving equipment and marking camera positions. KWWL staff pulled together through long days, but the preparation and final outcome was worth it.
At the heart of the new automated facility is a Ross Video OverDrive automated production control system. OverDrive interfaces with the station’s new Ross Vision 2 MLE video production switcher, XPression character generator and motion graphics system, Yamaha audio mixer, and Panasonic robotic studio cameras. The interface ability among these diverse products was essential to the success of each and every broadcast. The changes in HD equipment caused a dramatic improvement in workflow, allowing KWWL to work more efficiently and to repurpose staff accordingly.
On April 11 of this year, KWWL became the first station in the Cedar
Rapids, IA, market and the first Quincy Newspapers station to broadcast in HD. There’s a new visual look and feel to KWWL’s newscasts, including HD weather maps and graphics to enhance the experience for viewers and advance the station’s product. On an abbreviated timeline, from research process to end result, KWWL now has more capability and no limitations in its competitive Iowa market.
New studio technology — HD
Submitted by Ross Video
KWWL-TV: Jarrett Liddicoat
Quincy Newspapers: Brendan Ford, Brady Dreasler
Roscor: Chad Thielen, Tom Sibenaller
Ross Video: Chris Kelly, Dave Halvorsen
Technology at work
AJA Video Systems
Panasonic: Robotic studio cameras
Ross Video: Vision production switcher, OverDrive automated production control system, XPression character generator and motion graphics system
Telemetrics: Camera control system
Yamaha: Audio mixer