08.01.2003 12:00 PM
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
WXYZ-TV automates with Crispin

Each year engineering departments set out to address technical issues and set goals for their facilities, targeted at news, programming and other departments. In the last two years, one challenge has touched virtually every department at WXYZ-TV: automation. After an in-depth review of products in the marketplace, we chose Crispin software to change the way we work.

Automating with Crispin has helped WXYZ-TV balance greater efficiency with "cleaner air."

An automated digital master control eventually tied the facility together, but it was news automation that started the process. The DNA Newsroom system is now second nature. Using 4x speed Panasonic Newsbyte editors and SGI Origin 200 servers the station plays 3000 clips to air a week. It relies on Crispin news automation to control the SGI for playout and interface to the facility’s Newstar newsroom system.

With news automation accomplished, a total station solution was needed, so we invited Crispin to demo its new System 2000 at the station. Crispin installed its automation system and allowed the staff to run the system for a week of evaluation. This was enough time to prove system stability and give us the needed confidence to make a software purchase. There were several criteria the staff was looking for in an automation system. The system needed to provide device control of the SGI and Profile servers to tie news and programming together through common control point. It also needed to control an M2100 switcher and an SMS7000 router from Thomson Grass Valley. Other requirements included database control of news feed and syndicated recordings, and over program and newsroom deletion. A system was needed that would handle breaking news events eloquently. Our master control has been running System 2000 for over a year now.

The database controls all record and delete processes in the facility. Closed loop recon with the traffic system has reduced man-hours in accounting. Automation in master control and news has led to greater efficiency and “cleaner air” — two things that are sometimes hard to balance.

Crispin’s System 2000 automation provides a common control point for news and programming, leading to greater efficiency. Upgrades to the system also provided the ability to balance two daily news shows.

WXYZ also produces a daily one-hour news show for WKBD-TV, the Detroit UPN/CBS-Viacom station. The time frame was tight to get “Action News at Ten” up and running. The challenge faced was providing simultaneous news and master control operations every night without jeopardizing our 11:00 “Action News” franchise. Upgrades to the System 2000 automation were added via email, and in one week, we had the technical capability to meet this exciting challenge. “Action News at Ten” is now second nature. The station will likely look to Crispin for a MOS interface for newer newsroom software and a possible archiving solution in the near future.

Ray Thurber is chief engineer for WXYZ-TV, Detroit.

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