On Tuesday, June 12, WLUK-TV, the Fox affiliate in Ashwaubenon, WI, officially opened its new FOX 11 News & Content Center, where the station’s news, sports and weather will be created and where journalists will report their stories.
WLUK-TV is owned by LIN Television (based in Providence, RI), which operates 27 television stations in 17 different markets nationwide.
The $2.2 million project, built by The Selmer Group, broke ground last summer and was completed in nine months. It was constructed as an addition to the WLUK-TV studios at 787 Lombardi Avenue, in Ashwaubenon.
“This is all about providing an environment for our workers to go out and produce local content, local features and local stories,” said Jay Zollar, station GM and vice president. “That's our mission, here at FOX 11, to appease our viewers.”
The building houses WLUK-TV's television news operations, as well as the station’s Web site. Carl Winnekins of The Architects Group Limited, of Green Bay, is responsible for the spacious design, which lends itself to staff collaboration and a comfortable work environment. VerHalen Commercial Interiors offered guidance on the building's interior design. includes a new lobby with leather chairs and a sofa. Prominent in the reception area is an artistically styled coffee table, made from the locust tree that grew on WLUK-TV's front lawn prior to construction.
The new FOX 11 News and Content Center houses more than 60 journalists and staff. The Assignment Desk is the focus of the room, situated on a raised platform. All the technical controls for incoming video feeds are located here. This way journalists do not need to walk to the engineering department to access material, such as a live remote broadcasts from news events.
News director Juli Buehler said the open concept of the building addition allows journalists to work on multiple platforms, simultaneously. “We are now better able to move our digital news content quickly to the online platform. And not only can we broadcast live from the News and Content Center, but we can stream that material directly to fox11online.com,” he said.
Adjacent to the Assignment Desk is the Ingest Center. FOX 11 journalists use the area to access computers and upload digital video and text. The Ingest Center links this material to the station's video servers. Journalists can then edit the material simultaneously for multiple platforms; online, mobile or broadcast.
The FOX 11 Severe Weather Lab is located near the Assignment Desk. New technology, that includes live cameras that actually drop down from the ceiling, allow meteorologists to go live at any time of day.
In another area of the News and Content Center is a wall of flat-screen HD plasma screens (the largest is 54in). FOX 11's journalists will conduct live reports for the newscasts in front of this so-called “monitor wall,” in a presentation area where in the center are three large monitors that can be programmed to Web sites, maps or any of the station’s remote cameras. When news breaks, this area, like the FOX 11 Severe Weather Lab, can go on-air quickly.
The sports department includes four large HD screens, where journalists can monitor and record sporting events from across Northeast Wisconsin and around the world. The sports staff is also able to write text, edit video, and upload the content to the Web, all from the same space.
The FOX 11 News and Content Center also houses the WLUK-TV art department, which provides graphics and videos for the station's multiple platforms.