In August 2010, independent station group Young Broadcasting made the decision to upgrade its news production system to HD. This was an end-to-end HD news production upgrade from the field equipment all the way to the production systems. This included the installation of Grass Valley HD digital news production technology at KWQC, its NBC affiliate in Davenport, IA, to help that station migrate to local HD news operations. It was done with the idea that the shared storage system would improve efficiencies and get more news content to air faster. It appears the station was right.
Now that that system has been on the air for more than a year, station personnel there say it has exceeded their expectations for performance and streamlined the station's news production workflow. The staff now collaborates more effectively, and stories get to air faster than ever — often beating the local competition. In fact, the news experiment has gone so well that the Young Broadcasting station group has now decided to upgrade the news departments of eight of its 10 stations to Grass Valley's networked, file-based, HD news production and distribution system. The newly purchased equipment, which is now being installed, will all be on-air by the end of the year.
At each station, a revamped news department will include 25 seats of Grass Valley EDIUS 6 multiformat editing workstations, two K2 Summit production clients, and Aurora Playout software modules and client computers for automated playout. (They have also added a Grass Valley K2 BasecampExpress System to handle asset management, archive management and proxy generation.) The eight new Young stations standardizing on Grass Valley technology include: WKRN, Nashville, TN; WATE, Knoxville, TN; WRIC, Richmond, VA; WLNS, Lansing, MI; WTEN, Albany, NY; KELO, Sioux Falls, SD; WBAY, Green Bay, WI; and KLFY, Lafayette, LA.
Craig Porter, director of engineering, broadcast systems, said they have had a great experience with Grass Valley technology at KWQC, and the staff has become more productive in preparing its daily newscasts. In addition, by standardizing on a single vendor (Grass Valley), they were able to enjoy significant cost and implementation time savings. And, the new Grass Valley equipment gives them a news production platform that they can grow with into the future.
Grass Valley's EDIUS 6 nonlinear editing software, with its real-time SD and HD editing performance running on standard PC workstations, allows the stations to turn around news stories quickly. The Grass Valley Aurora Playout system offers highly coordinated news playback from the K2 Summit. It automatically creates and adjusts playlists from the Young stations' MOS-compatible newsroom computer system. It also features an intuitive playback user interface and GPI inputs and outputs for remote control of playback.
The stations involved will use the EDIUS NLEs to cut daily news packages while the Aurora Playout software, in tandem with the K2 Summit servers, will enable the stations' staff to automatically schedule their newscast rundowns while still retaining the ability to insert breaking news segments, or go live from the scene, at the last minute.