Five Citadel Communication Stations Turn To Video Technics Automation for File-Based Master Control Operations

Atlanta, GA (January 9, 2011) – Having made the decision to convert from their tape-based Master Control operations to a file-based HD system, Citadel Communications Ltd., headquartered in Bronxville, NY sought a company-wide solution to meet the needs of all of their stations in different markets. KLKN 8, in Lincoln, Nebraska; WOI-TV-5, in Des Moines, Iowa; and KCAU TV-9 in Sioux City Iowa are ABC affiliates; and WHBF-TV 4 in Rock Island, Illinois is their CBS affiliate. Earlier this year WLNE 6, an ABC affiliate in the New Bedford, Massachusetts market was purchased by Citadel Communications bringing the group total to five stations.

Dan Ackerman, Vice President of Engineering, and his team started investigating different servers, automation solutions, and methods to convert their master control studios into HD and automate them as much as possible. After inviting several different server manufacturers and automation providers to give product demonstrations, Ackerman then went to visit a couple of the stations in which the server solution from Video Technics was already in place. “We really liked what Video Technics was doing and determined that the Apella™ HDS Server and their suite of software tools best met our HD commercial playback and automation needs.”

The Apella HDS is a multi-channel HD/SD media server that supports a mixed database of DV and MPEG-2 files. The compact 3RU chassis features front-loading hot-swappable drive bays with 16TB of internal raid storage. Virtually unlimited channel I/O can be implemented simply by networking Apella servers together. Extensive native codec technology, DVCPRO HD, and MPEG-2 up to 300Mb/s, and support for mixed AVI, MOV, and MXF file types, allows media files in the VT database – regardless of SD/HD standard, compression format, or file type – to be played back-to-back from the same output channel.

The Apella video servers offer “out-of-the-box” workflow solutions for mission critical content management and automated multi-channel delivery. When fully integrated with the Video Technics asset management environment, the result is an efficient, multi-channel broadcast operation providing high quality and continuous on-air service, with a minimal amount of manual intervention. The Apella is designed for flexibility and collaboration using the native VT software applications to facilitate the workflow. VT Proxy Editor™ allows operators to prepare and segment incoming content using low resolution proxies from their desktop and does not require the use of a full baseband channel. VT HotFolder™ allows file-based media from content delivery providers like DG Fast Channel and Pitch Blue to be easily pushed to the server for immediate editing or playout. VT Director™ provides live production-style playback for MOS-enabled news production, manual spot insertion, or emergency playback override. The new VT Scheduler PRO™ software, which is central to the Citadel solution, orchestrates fully automated, frame-accurate multi-channel playout and ingest capabilities either as a standalone integrated box, or as part of a complex mixed network of legacy equipment and functionality. Many features typically found in more expensive automation products are standard, including "sub event" controls for precise timing of secondary triggers relative to the main event, easy manual triggers, join-in-progress playback, and flexible traffic list import with extensive reporting for billing reconciliation. Also available are optional legacy external device controls for VTRs (Sony BVW protocol), video switcher/mixers (GVG200 protocol), 32 additional GPI I/O triggers, and integrated character generator automation for logo channel branding and EMS.

“We are very pleased to have the complete Apella solution being utilized at all five stations within the Citadel Communications group,” said Andy Tuggle, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Video Technics, “With the Apella HDS video servers, VT Proxy Editor, VT Hot Folder, and VT Scheduler Pro, each station now has an ideal solution to automate their Master Control ingest, asset management, and playout needs.

Video Technics worked closely with Citadel to further enhance the automation software and refine a seamless workflow complete with the ability to convert traffic lists into effective playlists, manage and prepare media assets from any desktop, automate ingest and playback with traditional 3rd party devices, and accurately reconcile on air playout back to traffic for billing.

“The Apella HDS and software from Video Technics provided the automation solution that responded to our objectives. While the cost-effective price point did play a part in the decision process, it wasn’t the most important thing,” Ackerman said, “What was really important was how reliable the video server was and the added benefit that the automation solution was integrated and supplied by the same company as the server manufacturer; providing us with a simple, single source solution.”

Jeff Swanson, Traffic Manager for KLKN concluded, “We are very happy with how Video Technics customized their software to match our workflow, and I feel that they have been more than accommodating in addressing all of our concerns.”

Ackerman added, “Since the launch of VT Scheduler Pro automation we‘ve been able to significantly reduce the man hours required to prep our program content, and have even added five more hours of program output a day!” He continued, “This is file-based automation working as it should by reducing overhead costs and improving revenue streams. That’s a significant return on our investment and certainly makes a positive impact on our bottom line!”

About Video Technics, Inc.

Video Technics, Inc., a pioneer in revolutionary systems development, supplies the global broadcast industry with innovative, feature-rich workflow solutions built around the company’s IT-based media servers. Video Technics’ Apella™ and NewsFlow™ products streamline the entire production process, and feature inherent proxy editing, embedded ingest/playout tools, and digital asset management. For more information visit:

About Citadel Communications Company

Citadel Communications Company Ltd is a private company that currently owns four Television Stations. Located in Bronxville, NY, Citadel Communications Company was established in 1984. READ MORE