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Weigel Routes Heavy Load With Snell

CHICAGO—Weigel Broadcasting Co. has a proud heritage of technology, innovation and programming. Our flagship station, WCIU-TV, was launched in 1964 as the first UHF station in Chicago. In addition to WCIU-TV and four other Chicago-based stations, Weigel also operates broadcast operations in the South Bend, Ind. and Milwaukee, Wisc. markets.

Kyle Walker Forming the center of our operation are two Snell Sirius 600 routers. These were originally installed during the reconstruction of our main transmission facility to accommodate centralcasting operations as we prepared to offer programming to markets outside of the Chicago area.

As Weigel has developed its programming network and evolved from analog to digital, the Sirius 600 routers have grown with us. Currently, we are nearing completion of the final upgrade to the routing system to support almost 100 percent HD broadcasting, a considerable milestone for our operation.

REDUCING DOWN TIME
The Snell routers have been extremely reliable through all of these changes; in fact, we have never had failure of even a single card. And while our reliability has been excellent, we do appreciate that Snell, although based in the United Kingdom, provides an extensive support network in this country to ensure that customers never have to wait more than a day to get parts, if and when they might be needed.

A key component in our routing package is Snell’s Aurora control system which gives us the flexibility to control things either by using hardware panels or via soft panel control. In addition, Aurora’s user-friendly GUI permits on- and off-line editing of the system database, and provides storage and recall of a number of user-defined configurations.

With the cable networks and national terrestrial channels that originate from our main facility, Weigel carries quite a large broadcast load compared with most stations. We have found through experience that the Sirius 600s are more than up to the task. Each of the 128x128 frames has now reached 98 percent of its switching capacity, with signals being routed at least once every 60 seconds, 24 hours a day.

GETTING READY TO GROW AGAIN
We designed our new control room facility in 2005 to accommodate a reasonable amount of future growth, but are just about to max out that expansion capacity, with equipment now packed into more than 50 racks in the terminal equipment room.

As our Snell Sirius 600 routers have been the workhorses of our operation for more than seven years, Snell will be the logical choice for our next upgrade as our engineering staff is very familiar with the panels and overall system operation.

Weigel Broadcasting is pressing forward to roll out additional regional and national channel origination capability and are looking forward to maintaining our relationship with Snell. We have found the company’s signal routing products to be both cost-effective and reliable in the extreme.

Kyle Walker is director of engineering for Weigel Broadcasting Co. He may be contacted atkwalker@wciu.com.

For additional information, contact Snell at 818-556-2616 or visitwww.snellgroup.com.