Harris Improves Efficiencies at Maine Public TV

Harris’ ADC user interface

BANGOR, MAINE— Maine Public Broadcasting Network (MPBN), reaches every corner of the state as well as viewers in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Canada. Like most public broadcasters, we’re faced with increasing production demands and reduced resources.

To meet these challenges, we recently implemented a master control upgrade and file-based workflow, with the Harris ADC automated playout system positioned at the core of the operation.

Our staff is responsible for a great deal, including monitoring of five TV stations, ingest and recording, automation processes, and interconnection to three studio sites. The recent technical upgrade helped to streamline daily processes, particularly as we consider additional channel launches.

Central to the project was the implementation of the BXF-compliant Harris Live-Update software, which provides direct integration of the ADC to our traffic and scheduling software. Harris Live-Update software facilitates a seamless exchange of information between the two systems, and eliminates the need for many manual processes.

Operations and programming is tightly integrated here, with our staff working closely together. On a typical day, our operations staff takes the daily log and performs a download into ADC. The traffic and scheduling system selects the day and instructs the system to download; ADC then automatically fills out the day’s log.

After downloading logs, operators then download a list of interstitials for server ingest. The show data is pre-filled as it comes through the BXF interface. The operators then verify content and mark the “in” and “out” times. BXFdriven notifications informs programming personnel once the content has been prepped for air. The content then reflects what has been completed in master control within the traffic and scheduling system— thus establishing a continuous, automatic, two-way flow of information.

Data entry has been reduced to a onetime process, with staff no longer required to visit or phone our operations area for a status report. Programming personnel get an immediate snapshot of what is and isn’t available, and whether or not record list material arrived.

ADC also issues an as-run log into the traffic and scheduling system that can be reconciled against program logs.

Harris ADC automation and its BXF-compliant design have enhanced operations in several ways. Electronic communication between automation and traffic has greatly reduced manual exchange errors, such as transposed numbers. The Live-Update module has allowed our master control personnel to better manage their duties, as they no longer need to manage the entire workflow. Also, information now flows bidirectionally and seamlessly with the Live-Update BXFbased interface between ADC and traffic, allowing the programming department to know if shows have been recorded, when they are prepped and when they become available. Routine purges of content from traffic are now possible, and reconciliations can be performed efficiently with the availability of real-time as-run logs are available. No more time is wasted on manually filling out information.

Ultimately, everyone in the chain from traffic to operations to billing now knows the status of every event immediately. This upgrade and transition lets us deliver a better on-air product, while saving us time and money.

Gil Maxwell is vice president of engineering and chief technology officer at the Maine Public Broadcasting Network. He may be contacted atgmaxwell@mpbn.net.

For additional information, contact Harris North America at 800-231-9673 or visitwww.broadcast.harris.com.