ABC's flagship station in New York City, WABC-DT, went live this week from a new street-level studio on the city's upper west side (at 66th and Columbus, near the famous Lincoln Center). The studio includes large windows along two sidewalks, enabling passersby to view the local newscast operations as they happen.
It's currently the only street-level studio among the major network local stations in NYC, although WNBC, WCBS and WPIX are all expected to unveil similar studios on the street soon. Others, operated by Fox News and CNN, have had street-level news studios for years.
The new studio will utilize the station's existing control room, located in the same building as the station's newsroom and former studio. Camera control and other commands are sent via a fiber-optic connection. A digital ticker wraps around the entire facade, giving passersby the latest news and weather headlines. The building also houses work and production spaces for various ABC and Disney-produced programs.
A unique feature of the set, designed by Clickspring Design (New York), is a ceiling-mounted, sliding camera that offers a bird's eye view of the set. During one 11 p.m. newscast, the station was able to quickly wipe from the ceiling camera to an outside camera mounted across the street without a hiccup. The set also employs multiple LED lighting fixtures from Litepanels, and colored lighting strips adorn the anchor desk and other key areas that appear on camera and allow the producers to change the mood depending upon the story being reported.
The main anchor desk has a video wall behind it (made up of multiple flat-screen monitors), and is also fronted with multiple video panels as well as a protruding "ABC 7" logo at the front of the desk. Anchors report from behind the desk as well as from several strategic locations — like the Weather Center that includes an interactive "Big Board" that allows forecasters to touch maps while presenting the weather.
The new corner space is actually the former location of a Disney Store (ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company). The former WABC studios will be used to expand the "Live with Regis and Kelly" show.
As it did previously, "Eyewitness News" airs six hours daily, three hours on Saturdays and four hours on Sundays from the new studio.