by Jim Marco
Director of Engineering
SYRACUSE, N.Y. WSTM-TV and WSTQ are at the top of the ratings for producing several number one newscasts in the Syracuse market. WSTM has been in operation for 58 years and is one of the highest viewed NBC affiliates in the country. WSTQ is a CW affiliate.
Our primary focus is local news and information. We produce up to five hours of live news each day, plus our offline content.
I was directly involved with the commissioning of our OverDrive automated production control system, as our parent company, Barrington Broadcasting (an early adopter of OverDrive) purchased the system for us. The installation went quite smoothly with Ross technicians on-site throughout the whole process.
WSTM-TV/WSTQ director Paul Dobrzynski works with the stations' Ross OverDrive system. While going from fully manual news production to an automation model was challenging, Ross made it easier by breaking the transition into steps and processes. Ross provided the best training and support we have ever experienced—everyone was involved, and it became a complete collaboration. We also took the opportunity to place our news production model under a microscope in order to make some significant improvements. In just a matter of weeks we were up and running with high-quality newscasts and no issues.
To learn the OverDrive automated production control system, we used the "divide and conquer" approach. Each member of our transition team became responsible for their own specific element. By doing this, we created several experts who were able to share, collaborate and train other users. We decided to do this with the engineering, production and news elements. We also found two things that are vital to implementing production automation on a successful basis. The first is practice, practice and more practice before going live. We scheduled and implemented two solid weeks of rehearsals. Second, you must have a solid IT infrastructure and employ good engineering practices in your networking design.
OverDrive allows us to produce high quality newscasts over our entire news platform with efficient staffing, while maintaining rock solid consistency and production values. With OverDrive, the highest quality news product is realized regardless of personnel skill level, time of day or the complexity of production. Workflow is streamlined without sacrificing flexibility or content. The system is completely scalable to our production needs and staffing levels.
In my opinion, the OverDrive automated production control system has addressed what I consider to be the most significant challenges in news production. These include being able to maintain flexibility for breaking news and other unscheduled or unanticipated events, and leveling the playing field by making it easier for people of varying skill levels to generate consistently solid news production in a streamlined and efficient manner.
Jim Marco is director of engineering for WSTM-TV and WSTQ and has more than 33 years of broadcast experience. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact Ross Video Limited at 613-652-4886 or visit www.rossvideo.com.