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Sunflower Centralizes Operations With GV Maestro

We operate a multi-format master control suite here that centralizes the operations of seven program streams from five stations owned by Sunflower Broadcasting.

Our stations have been transitioning to digital for several years, and last year we became the first operation in the Wichita market to broadcast local and network programming, including the local newscasts, in high definition.

Les Bach By co-joining the stations into one Grass Valley Maestro master control switcher, we're saving resources and getting the work done much more accurately and efficiently.


The Maestro system serves as the hub of our digital production facility in Wichita, where all commercials, IDs and promos are inserted into the final program streams before they go to air. It accommodates the needs of five full power stations, one secondary weather channel and one cable channel—in a mix of both SD and HD—on a daily basis.

We've recently added some new functionality to our Maestro with the 10-bit 2D digital effects package that includes SqueezeBack, and we're also expanding our channel branding capability to include full-motion bugs and tickers, along with lower-third graphics that can be generated automatically. And we're also looking forward to adding Dolby E pass-through capability in the very near future.

One of the real selling points associated with the Maestro MC switcher system is that it allows us to add modules as needed, without having to buy the entire platform all at once. That's important, as our migration to full high-definition operations is typical of that at a lot of stations in that it's been evolving and changing during the past year. We didn't want to be rushed into anything that we would later regret, and with the Maestro master control switcher, we can use the same mainframe while continuing to add new feature sets along the way.


Something that we absolutely have to have is system reliability. And with the purchase of the Grass Valley Maestro, we really don't have to spend a lot of time worrying about failures. To pave the way for our start in HD, we installed the system in July 2008 and it has worked perfectly ever since. We're using Crispin automation along with the Maestro and the two systems seem to get along just fine together.

The Maestro Master Control system allows us to operate with one control panel and one operator, who runs all of our seven outgoing streams simultaneously. That would have been impossible before the Maestro came along. It has really saved us money in extra hardware and staffing.

Selecting the Maestro for our master control operations was an easy choice, in part because of our great and continuing success with other Grass Valley technologies. We route all of our video signals with Grass Valley Trinix and Concerto Series routing systems that handle a mix of analog and digital audio.

We're also big fans of the Grass Valley Aurora editing systems in connection with the production of news packages here. In fact, we were one of the early adopters of the NewsEdit platform, putting it into service back in 2004.

Les Bach has served as Sunflower Broadcasting's director of engineering since 2006. He may be contacted

For additional information, contact Grass Valley at 800-547-8949 or