SAN FRANCISCO—NRJ operates two Spanish language television stations in the San Francisco market: KTNC and KCNS. Both serve the growing Latino community in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley in northern California and are programmed from a common master control facility.
During the past year we had to phase out an older automation system based on traditional video servers controlled by separate automation computers. The older system was reliant on more than two full racks of computers, video servers, multiple software packages, three separate Ethernet networks, fiber network, switchers, and various dedicated equipment to provide just two commercial video streams with a limited amount of backup capability. It was a fine system, 10 years ago.
THE RIGHT FIT
A-LIST is a fully integrated channel automation and playout system. With “channel in a box” being the buzzword these last few years, we looked at multiple vendors in that category for our new master control solution. I discovered there were various systems marketed as a fully integrated automation, playout and graphics solution, but many were actually repackaging older automation elements into streamlined products called “channel in a box.” They didn’t take that final step of operating the full suite of traffic import, playlist, server, and graphics from one computer platform.
So instead we decided to give a separate automaton system and video server another go, but that approach proved to be slow and troublesome. It was necessary to change direction; this time with a vendor who embraced the single computer concept.
RUSHWORKS’ A-LIST fit the design concept of fully integrated channel automation and playout: one powerful computer, running everything internally and doing so with up to four channels of HD program playout. It had the full package, and at a price point that made it possible to deploy a second identical ALIST computer for complete redundancy.
GOOD TO GO
Given the simplicity of RUSHWORKS proven Windows environment that A-LIST is built upon, integration within our master control and traffic environment could not have been easier. We opted to link two business-class 16TB NAS media storage units into the A-LIST network as a gateway from the production editing system and it worked perfectly with the A-LIST “Fetch” routine that automatically pulls in the media files to the A-LIST internal storage for on-air playback.
Prior to delivery we supplied test files from our various sources to RUSHWORKS to assure formats were compatible. To our delight the A-LIST systems were delivered so they could automatically play our spots and snipes right out of the box. We didn’t even need to push the power button; ALIST is configured to automatically load the current playlist and begin playing at the correct point. This automatic recovery function preforms perfectly. The operators were amazed at how quickly and completely the system recovers from a cold start. It was truly a turnkey experience.
From day one, our engineering and operations staff was very impressed with the ease of deployment and the well-designed user interface. Training was quick and easy, making for a stress-free installation. The new system went on the air on the second day the RUSHWORKS field engineer was on site. What more could one ask for?
The A-LIST system has been on air for three trouble-free months and we look forward to a long reliable operational life from the system.
Rick Owen is a long time broadcast engineer residing in the San Francisco area. He can be reached at email@example.com.
For more information, visit www.RUSHWORKS.tvor call 888-894-7874.