Nexstar Stations Rebuild With Avid

"Avid is simply a great partner. We couldn’t ask for better."
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The new Nexstar Joplin, Mo. Market television facility
CHAMPAIGN, ILL. — When a tower collapsed onto our KSNF television studio in Joplin in May last year, it caused significant damage to the building. However, some good came of that difficult situation, as it created an opportunity for us to rebuild in some very smart ways.

Our parent company, Nexstar, owns, operates, or provides services to 62 mid-market stations in the United States, most in a duopoly or triopoly. Our own situation encompasses stations KSNF, KODE-TV and KQTV in the Joplin market. Prior to the tower collapse, each of these stations had limited physical space. Even though the disaster was not what anyone might have anticipated or wished for, it did allow us to build a new facility that allowed us to maximize efficiencies by operating all three stations from one location.

AUTOMATED ENVIRONMENT

One of the elements we needed for this new facility was an automation system, and fortunately, we didn’t have to look far. Avid Automation had been extremely successful in other Nexstar stations, so we felt little need to research and evaluate competitive systems. We knew Avid’s FastBreak 8000 automation would provide us not only with the flexibility and reliability to run our three channels simultaneously, but also scale seasily up for adding more channels.

None of the stations had used any automation, relying instead on a full-time operator. Avid’s FastBreak automation now enables one operator to manage the on-air lists for all three stations, eliminating human error and freeing team members for handling other duties. An assistant operator makes sure content is available for the stations by setting up the Avid Digital Media Manager Engine (DDME) transfers or dubbing in commercials received either on videotape or from an FTP site.

As an increasing volume of programming is now delivered via satellite with direct file transfers to cache servers, we wanted to be able handle these transfers more efficiently, making it easier to receive content from today’s digital media sources. The FastBreak 8000 system’s DDME works with Pathfire or new Pitch Blue cache servers to facilitate direct file transfers of the video and metadata to our video playback server. With the program essentially ready to air when we receive it, this is a great time saver for us.

The FastBreak 8000 system runs 24/7, with Avid providing fulltime support. Earlier this year, we encountered a critical situation at our Little Rock facility due to a computer virus basically taking operations down. Avid quickly had a field engineer on the plane and shipped new computers, allowing us to speedily get back on air.

This kind of response and customer service is one of the reasons we chose Avid. We use Avid iNEWS systems for newsroom management and automation, Media Composer for editing, Avid AirSpeed servers for playback, Avid Unity for shared-media networking and Avid Deko systems for graphics.

Avid is simply a great partner. We couldn’t ask for better.

Brad Hampton is regional director of engineering for Nexstar Broadcasting. He may be contacted at bhampton@nexstar.tv.

For additional information, contact Avid at 978-640-6789 or visit avid.com.