KOAT-TV’s new news truck and helicopter
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—KOAT-TV is a Hearst Television station and ABC affiliate. Our DMA covers more than 130,000 square miles—including the entire state of New Mexico—as well as Southern Colorado and Southeast Utah. When a big news story breaks past the 100-mile mark from our headquarters, many times we send out multiple crews working rotating shifts. This requirement necessitates a news production vehicle with more working space than would ordinarily be needed.
‘NEW MEXICO’ TOUGH
Shortly before Christmas last year, we took delivery of the newest addition to our ENG/SNG fleet. The truck was the first of a new generation “News- Runner” series box truck built by AMT, and the first one constructed on the larger International Terra Star chassis. The heaver chassis in the new truck was an important consideration as New Mexico’s terrain ranges from 3,000 feet in the south to well over 11,000 feet near the Colorado boarder. An under- powered vehicle just can’t hold up in this environment. We felt that the News-Runner was the right choice in terms of size, speed and power. It is also extremely well designed, very rugged and had the same quality you’d expect to see in million-dollar production trailers.
Every step of the vehicle’s construction was coordinated with the engineering staff and when the truck was delivered it was all ready to cover its first story. KOAT-TV’s vehicle included some additions beyond those found in a standard SNG truck, including an SDI switcher with a custom AMT panel that provides a simple connection of the control panel and multiviewer monitor when we’re doing four or five camera production. This addition was designed to be easily tucked away to provide more work space when it’s not needed. There’s also a16-channel audio mixer and plenty of onboard analog/SDI up, down and crossconversion and frame syncing, with routable ins and outs.
The new truck also has two nonlinear edit work areas and plenty of room for the uplink operator, reporters, photographers and editors. It’s a true rolling newsroom.
The final touch on our new sat truck was the installation of microwave transmitting and receiving capability. This links with KOAT-TV’s helicopter and allows us to beam live video from the helicopter to the sat truck for integration into the live show, or to serve as a link back to Albuquerque.
AMT did an outstanding job in the design of the truck from bumper to bumper. What really makes the truck stand out is the unique paint job that mirrors the station’s helicopter and proudly displays the Zia “sun,” which is the symbol for the New Mexico state flag and also for the many Indian tribes that populate the state. The Zia represents the four times of day, four seasons, the four compass directions, and the four stages of life. We feel that this is very fitting for this beautiful new truck that will serve as the cornerstone of the KOAT-TV fleet for years to come.
Gary Williams is director of engineering at KOAT-TV. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact Accelerated Media Technologies at 508-459- 0300 or visitwww.acceleratedmt.com.