Bay News 9 shifts to automated server-based facility
Bay News 9 of Tampa, FL, has shifted its broadcast operations to a new 23,000sq ft facility that houses automated server-based production and playout for the 24-hour local news channel, as well as the network’s weather, on-demand and Spanish channels.
More space was needed to accommodate the joint broadcast operations of the network’s different channels. The engineering and design team also sought to put playout under the umbrella of a single flexible and scalable automation system that could adapt to the company’s future growth.
Shared and easy access to media in standardized formats for streamlined production and playout was another key element in the facility design. Ascent Media was chosen to integrate and install the facility’s broadcast systems. The facility features integrated control and studio spaces.
Two control rooms and one master control room, separated by glass walls, allow staff to make visual contact and voice contact over the intercom. The facility boasts four studios that can be used interchangeably and run simultaneously in English or Spanish to facilitate regular production as well as breaking news and weather coverage.
Under the umbrella of OmniBus Systems’ Columbus automation, the four news channels share media via centralized storage on a Pinnacle Systems Vortex media server with 1000 hours of storage at 25Mb/s. An archive storage solution from ASACA is integrated into the system to allow any user at any desktop to pull video from archives.
The automation system serves as the facility’s central interface for controlling devices, getting feedback and relaying playout messages. The OmniBus Desktop Control (ODC) interface gives the station’s reporters and other staff the ability to search and browse archived material, create graphics, put production elements for studio events into the script and control a variety of other functions from a single desktop. The ODC user interface is installed at all edit stations in the newsroom, at all workstations within the facility and, through a dedicated WAN, at each of the network’s remote bureaus.
The real challenge proved to be moving all four channels and the station’s online news source to the new studios, control room and newsroom.
Four hurricanes forced the network into a short timeframe for systems planning and building. However, the network launched broadcasts from its new facility on June 27, 2005, without taking programming off air.