—WFMZ-TV is an independently-
owned television station serving
Allentown—part of the greater Philadelphia
DMA. For our morning, midday and evening newscasts, we collaborate with our main
studio in Allentown and a remote reporting
bureau located several miles away.
SEEKING IP CONNECTIVITY
Until recently, both sites communicated
via telephone, but during live productions
where every second counts, this method
of communication often proved unreliable.
To harness IP to bridge the gap between
these two facilities, we discovered Clear-
Com’s Eclipse-Median digital matrix intercom
system and Concert software and added
these new systems as part of a complete
overhaul of our intercom setup.
I had seen demonstrations of several
different intercom systems, but when I
saw Clear-Com, it was apparent that its IP
connectivity was far ahead of the competition.
The company offered products that
would allow me to do exactly what was
needed to connect our Allentown facility with our remote bureau. I also felt that
this new equipment was more advanced
as compared to what other manufacturers
With the Eclipse-Median and the Concert
Intercom-over-IP software we were
able to create an integrated communications
infrastructure that allowed our reporting
bureau to communicate with our
Eclipse system in the main facility.
Installation of the new system proved
to be relatively simple. An Eclipse-Median
frame was installed in our main studio and
V-Series key panels at the bureau were then
connected via IP to the V-Series key panels in our studio location. This allowed anyone
in the bureau to directly communicate with
Allentown in various points of the facility—
the control room, editing suite, audio room, studio and other areas of the building.
If we ever need to expand the system,
all we would need to do is add additional
V-Series key panels and connect them via
IP to accommodate additional users.
In addition to improving communications
between the main studio and bureau,
we also wanted to monitor our bureau’s
police scanners during off hours, and Clear-
Com’s Concert rose to the occasion here
too. The bureau’s scanners were linked to a PC running the Concert software and tied
via IP to another PC at our Allentown studio
that was also requipped with the Concert
software. With this setup we can monitor
the bureau scanner and stay on top of
potential news stories anytime.
IN MINUTES INSTEAD OF HOURS
Another feature beyond IP connectivity
that has streamlined our intercom
setup—particularly during special event
broadcasts such as election coverage—is
the Eclipse-Median’s Eclipse Configuration
Software (ECS). With our old intercom system,
another engineer and I would have to
spend hours programming the intercom
system prior to any special broadcast. With
the ECS, all of the needed changes and configurations
can be created in.
With live newscasts you don’t have second
takes. Clear-Com has helped to ensure
that all our staff can collaborate instantly,
clearly and effectively regardless of their
Brian Dewalt is director of engineering
at WFMZ-TV. He may be contacted at
For additional information, contact
Clear-Com at 510-337-6600 or visit www.clearcom.com.