Art Murphy, Studio Engineering Crew Chief, WHDH Television / 07.24.2012 06:39PM
Boston Stations Enjoy GV Maestro Switching
BOSTON—In July 2008, we began broadcasting
our network programming and
some commercial and promo spots in
high definition while continuing to run
other spots and shows in standard definition.
We didn’t have a real HD master
control operation, so we took a hybrid approach
by using our Grass Valley M2100
for SD content and a high-definition signal
router to handle HD content, with our
station automation system controlling the
breakaways to and from HD. Last minute
changes to our playlists had to be edited
exactly right or there would be on-air
problems. Further complicating things
was the requirement to switch multiple
secondary events for breakaways.
OLD SYSTEM WAS CLUNKY AT BEST
It wasn’t the best way in the world to
handle the transition to HD, but the system
worked and we lived with it for about two
years. However, more and more of our program
content and commercials were being
delivered to us in HD and this resulted in
our playlists becoming much busier and
Those factors helped pave the way for
the purchase and installation of a new HD
master control system in 2011. In making
our equipment choice, we evaluated several
vendors of master control switcher
products. In the end, the feature set of the
Grass Valley Maestro, combined with 10
years of good experience with our existing
Grass Valley M2100 SD master control
system were the driving forces in staying
with Grass Valley.
We selected one HD switcher frame
for WHDH and one for our sister station,
WLVI. Both frames are locally controlled
by a single Grass Valley hardware control
panel, as well as one Grass Valley GUI and
our station automation system. All sources
coming into the HD Maestro are either native
HD or have been upconverted to HD.
Our on-air automation lists are now much
easier to manage due to the reduced number
of breakaways that were previously required
We purchased the Maestro system with
Grass Valley’s internal DVE option, allowing
us to do squeezebacks for such things
as school closings and election results, and
to add logos, program IDs and other elements
and effects to help differentiate our
channels from others in the market. Maestro
also provides a number of integrated
features and control options, including
support for multiformat video and audio
on a single board.
TRAINING MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
As we received excellent training from
Grass Valley, the new Maestro system was
relatively easy for our operators to learn.
Yes, there was a learning curve, but it really
wasn’t that difficult. And all of our
master control people really like the large
user-friendly control panel and the GUI
that’s a part of the new switching system.
Since installing the new Maestro master
control our on-air problems have been
greatly reduced. That’s the thing about a
Grass Valley Master Control—once it’s set
up, it just keeps on running.
Art Murphy has served as studio engineering
crew chief at WHDH since 1976.
He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact
Grass Valley at 800-547-8949 or visit