New studio technology - station
WXXI transitions, updates and expands
WXXI public broadcasting is a community-owned television and radio production and broadcast facility serving the Rochester, NY, region with quality local and national programming. The 30-year-old facility was originally built to provide service for one TV station and one radio station. It was time to transition to digital, update and expand. The redesigned facility needed the ability to produce multiple TV and radio streams for six TV channels and six radio channels in a digital environment.
The design needed to include a plan that maintained the operation of existing channels to minimize off-air time. The blueprint for the renovation was divided into four manageable phases. Each phase included re-configuring space within the building to house the new master control room, television production control room, five new radio studios, news production booths and conferencing areas.
The new multichannel digital master control room has a 16:9 projection screen and also has ergonomic access to all workstations, allowing multiple activities to take place simultaneously. The new production control room was built around the Ross Synergy 3 digital production switcher. Synergy was the best fit, offering simultaneous 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratio conversion. The switcher can control the existing routing system and video servers. Synergy is used for live and post-production purposes giving quality video production.
Another step in the renovation was the major reconstruction and installation of five new radio studios. The studios were designed with the flexibility to handle workflow for live produced talk radio and various music genres. Each studio was designed with special modifications to adapt for TV and video, including the installation of a lighting grid and attention to camera placement. Wheatstone easily integrated TV and radio to route the digital audio from one venue to another within the building.
The integration was, in part, managed using VidCAD software to build 3-D views of the installations to plan and manage cable runs prior to and during installation. The main challenge during the renovation was maintaining current operations.
As an early adopter of many new technologies, the facility’s design had elements that had not been fully implemented before in a broadcast environment. These innovations involved an overall attempt to streamline the process of putting both TV and radio programs on the air by integrating traffic and automation in a way that would allow WXXI to know what content was available and where the program is archived so it can be retrieved for air.
The new television and radio broadcast facilities have proven to be extremely successful and have a big impact on the look and feel of WXXI productions.