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Kahuna Is Key New Mexico PBS Player

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—When KNME-TV began operations here in 1958, it was one of a very early group of non-commercial educational broadcast stations. The station has grown to become the largest provider of preschool education in the state. New Mexico PBS is big on education, and we’re also big on quality. I was trained as a video engineer in the NASA Image Sciences division and video and technical quality are my forte and highest priority.

In 2010, we received a grant from the National Telecommunications & Information Administration Public Telecommunications Facilities Program that provided much of the funding needed to convert us to HD. My colleagues and I subsequently researched technologies that would result in the ultimate production control room and studio upgrade.

Jim Gale We picked the best cameras, audio console, lighting, video and audio monitors. As we not only produce public affairs programs, but also documentaries with live studio content, video production is a very important part of what we do. After a thorough evaluation of video switchers, we purchased, in our opinion, the most powerful unit on the planet—Snell’s Kahuna multiformat production switcher.

Snell is a phenomenal company that believes in the quality of its product, is committed to the high fidelity of the image, and is dedicated to taking care of its customers. Our Kahuna system was accompanied by a Snell engineer who did the switcher commissioning and then trained us on its technical aspects. Later, the company provided training for our professional operators, as well as the University of New Mexico students who are also on our staff.

Ease of use was high on our wish list in a video switcher. We don’t have a dedicated TD, so the system had to be easy to learn and use. Manufacturing quality, technical quality of images, and flexibility of the system also were key factors. The Kahuna’s flexibility brings incredible efficiency to our workflow, saving us time and money. Its three M/E banks and four tiers of effects per bank make it possible to handle 12 keys, and its internal resizing engine allows us to easily handle any format or aspect ratio.

Snell is known as one of the world’s premier image-processing companies, and we see this expertise reflected in the Kahuna. The chromakeying is better than anything we’ve ever seen and we use it constantly. The Kahuna also has four two-channel DVEs built in, and these also are better than the DVEs I’ve seen on any other switcher. Finally the free technical support for the life of the product is also a compelling benefit, particularly as Snell is one of the few companies to continue this type of customer service commitment.

The Kahuna is an amazing switcher designed by very smart people, and it hits the top of the price/performance curve.

Jim Gale has spent 38 years in non-commercial television, and has been at New Mexico PBS for the past 14. He may be contacted at

For additional information, contact Snell at 818-556-2616 or visit