Winsted’s ergonomic workstations

As the June deadline for the digital transition looms, PBS networks nationwide are preparing for the future of digital television (DTV). Broadcast centers such as PBS affiliate KENW-TV in Portales, NM, are getting ready for the transition by incorporating digital technology throughout their facilities. The station recently built a new broadcast center that includes studios, digital transmitters and a master control room.

A custom erognomic fit

KENW enlisted Winsted to help design a complete upgrade of its master control room. The company's ergonomic workstations took the station's master control room on the campus of Eastern New Mexico University from analog to state-of-the-art digital.

When considering workstations for the new control room, the station visited the company's NAB booth at the advice of another vendor involved in the upgrade project. At the booth, the station found a new design concept that fit what it was looking for.

By using Winsted's free equipment layout software, WELS, Jeffrey Burmeister, director of engineering, and his team worked with the company's standard product line to define the essential elements of the workstation. Slim-Line consoles seemed to fit the station's basic requirements. Then, over a period of several months, KENW worked closely with the company's engineers to refine the design, creating a customized solution that was perfect for its needs.

The new master control room includes four workstations in a semi-arc and, according to Burmeister, has the look of a glass cockpit. Each workstation features three 19in ViewSonic monitors, and the entire setup faces a custom monitor wall with four large LCD displays and eight smaller LCDs.

From the new master control room, the station's staff can ingest programs from other networks, such as PBS, and record them to a server for use later. Then, the traffic and program departments determine when they will air. Next, the operators time and trim the programs for the station's automation system.

One workstation includes the master control switchers, which allows the operators to play the programs on the scheduled day and time. Another workstation enables the staff to monitor and control the operation of the broadcast transmitters remotely.

In addition to providing public TV programming for most of Eastern New Mexico and parts of West Texas, the KENW broadcast center provides telecollege courses and instructional programming for local primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities. The facility also serves as a training center for the university's telecommunications students.

With help from Winsted, the new facility has become a showpiece for the station. The new digital technology allows KENW to provide HD programming and monitor every aspect of day-to-day operations from a functional and attractive master control room.

Randy Smith is the president of Winsted.