In 2008, WPLG-TV began the process of building a new 67,000sq-ft, two-story TV facility in Pembroke Park, FL. The facility would house two studios, a satellite tower and administrative and data storage areas. A number of key objectives included making the building and key systems hurricane resilient, improving the layout, enabling an HD news workflow (including ENG) and building a production control room environment to allow newscasts to be done in either an automated or manual fashion.
Located in a hurricane zone, WPLG has to be able to remain on-air while providing critical updates to local viewers. The building structure was designed to be hurricane resistant, exceeding the South Florida Building Code, and in some instances, door and window manufacturers had to redesign and test their products to meet the requirements supplied by WPLG’s insurance carrier.
Another challenge was to engineer building power and air-conditioning to survive multiple failures while keeping the station on the air. When multiple failures occur, cooling is allocated on a priority basis to the most mission-critical areas.
The building layout brings news, engineering and IT into one space to create better interaction and efficiency. The IT-centric building enables a tapeless HD workflow while housing the graphics design hub for all six Post-Newsweek TV stations.
Special acoustic considerations were also implemented in the studios and control rooms, including isolated concrete floor slabs, low-velocity air supply and separating walls with five layers of drywall and internal/external sound-absorption material.
WPLG built the HD news workflow with equipment that would ensure smooth operation. HD field acquisition is done using Sony XDCAM HD, and HD editing in the field is done with Avid NewsCutter/Mojo. Content is then microwaved back to the station and into a central storage server for playout. Due to some challenges with various file, codec and control compatibility, manufacturers also had to get involved.
Ultimately, the issues were resolved, and the result was a solid, tapeless workflow for the station. This has increased the speed and efficiency of production, resulted in operational cost-savings and allowed human resources to be better used.
The first newscast was March 28, 2009, and Phase 2 of the production control room workflow (winter 2009) will be centered on the Ross OverDrive automated production control system. OverDrive will control the Ross Vision production switcher along with other control room equipment. The planned system will provide a flexible manual or automated production approach to enable WPLG to produce more news cleanly and efficiently.
New studio or RF technology — station
Submitted by Ross Video
Beck and Associates: System design and integration
DFW: MEP consultants
Miller Construction: General contractors
Rees and Associates: Architects
WPLG: Darren Alline, chief eng.; Steve Ellis, asst. chief eng.; Darren Koski, maintenance supervisor; Juan Rodriquez, special proj. supervisor
Technology at work
Avid: iNEWS, Unity ISIS, AirSpeed Multi Stream
Beck: Broadcast service panels, consoles
ETC: Lighting control, dimmers
Evertz: Core infrastructure gear with VistaLINK monitoring, routers, multi-image displays
Ikegami: HDK 725P studio cameras
Kino Flo: Lighting
Miranda: Xplay, Vertigo-XG
NEC: LCD monitors
Ross Video: Vision and CrossOver production switchers, OverDrive production system, openGear conversion, SoftMetal production server
Raritan: Paragon KVM system
RTS: ADAM intercom
Vinten: AutoCam SP 2000 control system and pedestals
Weather Central: MetLine, ESP:Live HD, 3D:Live HD, RouteCast HD, NewsNavigator HD
Wheatstone: D10 and D12 consoles