CHICAGO—Weigel Broadcasting Co. has a
proud heritage of technology, innovation
and programming. Our flagship station,
WCIU-TV, was launched in 1964 as the
first UHF station in Chicago. In addition to WCIU-TV and four other Chicago-based
stations, Weigel also operates broadcast
operations in the South Bend, Ind. and
Milwaukee, Wisc. markets.
Forming the center of our operation are
two Snell Sirius 600 routers. These were
originally installed during the reconstruction
of our main transmission facility to
accommodate centralcasting operations
as we prepared to offer programming to
markets outside of the Chicago area.
As Weigel has developed its programming network and evolved from analog to
digital, the Sirius 600 routers have grown
with us. Currently, we are nearing completion
of the final upgrade to the routing
system to support almost 100 percent HD
broadcasting, a considerable milestone for
REDUCING DOWN TIME
The Snell routers have been extremely
reliable through all of these changes; in
fact, we have never had failure of even a
single card. And while our reliability has
been excellent, we do appreciate that Snell,
although based in the United Kingdom,
provides an extensive support network in
this country to ensure that customers never
have to wait more than a day to get parts, if
and when they might be needed.
A key component in our routing package
is Snell’s Aurora control system which
gives us the flexibility to control things
either by using hardware panels or via soft panel control. In addition, Aurora’s
user-friendly GUI permits on- and off-line
editing of the system database, and provides
storage and recall of a number of user-defined configurations.
With the cable networks and national
terrestrial channels that originate from our main facility, Weigel carries quite a large
broadcast load compared with most stations.
We have found through experience
that the Sirius 600s are more than up to
the task. Each of the 128x128 frames has
now reached 98 percent of its switching
capacity, with signals being routed at least once every 60 seconds, 24 hours a day.
GETTING READY TO GROW AGAIN
We designed our new control room facility
in 2005 to accommodate a reasonable
amount of future growth, but are just about
to max out that expansion capacity, with
equipment now packed into more than 50
racks in the terminal equipment room.
As our Snell Sirius 600 routers have
been the workhorses of our operation for
more than seven years, Snell will be the
logical choice for our next upgrade as our
engineering staff is very familiar with the
panels and overall system operation.
Weigel Broadcasting is pressing forward
to roll out additional regional and national
channel origination capability and are looking forward to maintaining our relationship
with Snell. We have found the company’s
signal routing products to be both cost-effective
and reliable in the extreme.
Kyle Walker is director of engineering
for Weigel Broadcasting Co. He may be
contacted at email@example.com.
For additional information, contact
Snell at 818-556-2616 or visit www.snellgroup.com.