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KMOV Automates News With Grass Valley Ignite HD

Don Lucy, senior Ignite operator at KMO V, uses the new news system.
ST. LOUIS — For the past two years Belo Corp., our parent company, has experimented with new technologies that decrease operating costs and streamline production. Like all stations, we have to stay competitive while operating under new economic realities.

We’re always trying to improve and upgrade to the latest technology and still live within our budgets. These issues were in mind when we decided to automate our control room operations with a Grass Valley Ignite HD system.

We went on-air with Ignite on Sept. 25 and immediately saw a marked improvement in our technical capabilities. We can do everything that we did manually before we installed Ignite and the newscasts still have the same on-air appearance to our viewers. Our news blocks are quite complex, so we push the system to its limits and it responds well.


Now, two people can run newscasts—a director and an Ignite operator; however, we anticipate that we’ll eventually be able to scale this to a single operator. We’ve purchased an additional control panel to use the Ignite manually if needed.

Training on the Ignite went very smoothly, thanks to the Grass Valley training personnel who worked with us on site. The instructors didn’t just teach us what to do; they taught us why we were doing things—and that really made a big difference to us.

The Ignite software works seamlessly with our Grass Valley Kayak HD production switcher, and this made installation even easier.

Among the new Ignite software features, we especially like the “CG List Preview Support,” which allows us to load an animated graphic from our c.g. system in preview mode and then take the effect to air in separate commands, either manually or automatically. There’s also new GPI/GPO pulse support and Ignite’s serial driver to facilitate more stable communications between the system and serially controlled devices.

When implementing a new workflow, the staff has to be on board or it will not succeed. Our staff has been great about learning how to set up news segments and transitions as “events” on a timeline with Ignite’s Transition Macro Element technology. Any segment of our newscasts can be pre-programmed and previewed prior to going on-air and can also be executed in real time to meet the demands of breaking news or other non-scripted events.

We’re the first Belo station to try control room automation, and are serving as a test bed for the 17 group stations. Based on our success, I’m sure we won’t be the last. The Ignite system is a technology that makes a lot of sense in today’s competitive environment.

Walt Nichol has served as director of technology at KMOV for 20 years. He may be contacted at

For additional information, contact Grass Valley at 503-526-8100 or visit