| In 1999, KCEN, a privately held NBC affiliate covering the Temple/Waco, TX, market, took the 2006 “digital dictum” as an opportunity to get started on right away. They received help with their advance planning from Professional Communications Systems (PCS), a systems integrator based in Tampa, FL. |
KCEN engaged PCS consulting services to create a five-year plan in conjunction with its management, other outside firms and the equipment manufacturers. The plan would allocate resources and phase in the project with a minimum of interruption and an organized approach to capital investment.
The first step was a detailed scope of work document, a general timeline, and the corresponding equipment and services to support it. The plan called for the station to employ the latest technological innovations available in the industry that were appropriate for the size of the station and the market. The implementation had to be cost-effective, meet all needs and be completed within the allotted time frame. Also, the team had to make three surrounding news bureaus compatible to ensure consistent broadcast quality.
The design and installation process of phase one began with the replacement of the spot playback system with server-based commercial playback designed to operate under automation control. In conjunction, all of the ENG and production equipment was updated from analog to the Panasonic DVCPRO digital format.
Phase two involved upgrading graphics capability with a Chyron multichannel digital production system, including a Duet character generator and an Aprisa still store.
In phase three, a Wheatstone broadcast audio mixing console was added.
Phase four was planned to meet the FCC 2003 deadline. PCS designed and integrated an HDTV pass-through to support digital transmission while the tower and RF system were upgraded.
In the fourth quarter of 2004, the fifth and final stage in the five-year plan was completed — under budget. PCS upgraded the infrastructure of the broadband-capable digital operations, including a multichannel NVISION master control switcher, NVISION multilevel routing and distribution and a Thomson Grass Valley Zodiac platform.
Redesign of the existing monitoring, EAS and critical path signal distribution was required to support the new infrastructure.
KCEN chose PCS due to its history of designing, installing and supporting small to mid-market TV broadcast systems.