Last month, the LA market cluster — an amalgamation of four DMAs, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Beach and Santa Barbara — completed its massive relocation of 2GHz Broadcast Auxiliary Service ENG channels.
The scope of the relocation in the LA market cluster was staggering. The project involved replacing electronic newsgathering (ENG) equipment in some 200 ENG vehicles, 14 helicopters and at 175 receive sites.
While the relocation of the seven 2GHz analog BAS channels is important, it’s the fact that the new channels are digital that makes them interesting from a high-definition point of view. Effectively, the relocation project, which has Sprint Nextel paying for the replacement of old analog radios, receivers and other related ENG equipment with new digital gear, gets broadcasters halfway to the goal of doing HD ENG. It’s up to broadcasters to take the other step, namely adding the HD camcorders and encoders necessary to make live HD from the field a reality.
Chris Neuman, the former director of operations and engineering at KTLA in Los Angeles and now the owner of LA-based CNC Consulting, was the person Sprint Nextel selected to coordinate the relocation in the market cluster.
In this, the first of a two-part interview, Neuman discusses why the four DMAs were taken on at one time, the planning that went into the project and how he sees HD ENG playing out in the market.
A special note to listeners:Part II of this interview with Chris Neuman will be available as part of July 8 edition of the “ENG Update” newsletter and on the Broadcast Engineering Web site in the podcast section.