WLEX Deploys News Vehicle With Combo Cell-Satellite Connectivity

LEXINGTON, KY.—WLEX-TV, the NBC affiliate in Lexington, Ky., has begun using a new mobile news vehicle from Frontline Communications with connectivity provided by Dejero CellSat, Dejero announced today.

Built upon a Chevrolet Traverse SUV, the station’s new remote vehicle does not require a specialized operator or pre-arranged satellite slot to contribute stories and live shots. “You simply put up the dish in case it’s needed, and it connects on demand –and only when the cellular signal alone isn’t strong enough,” says Sam Gordon, operations manager at the Cordillera Communications-owned station.

CellSat takes advantage of Dejero’s patented network blending technology to improve reliability with the combination of cellular connectivity and a Ku-band IP satellite link provided by Intelsat, the company said. If there is a falloff in cellular bandwidth, up to 7.5 Mb/s are available via satellite.

[Read: Dejero And Intelsat Partner On Video Transmission Solution]

“We have a full remote production facility connected directly to the studio, plus anyone can jump in and drive the SUV as there is no need for special licenses,” says Gordon.

Operators back at the studio can control the vehicle’s transmitters in the field, monitor and route incoming video feeds and view detailed performance data with Dejero’s cloud-based management system, the company said.

Having satellite connectivity available for times when cellular networks are congested proved useful for the station in December when it sent a crew to Nashville to cover college bowl play from Nissan Stadium.

“Although the Nissan Stadium in downtown Nashville, which usually has solid connectivity available, with somewhere around 70,000 fans, we figured that the cell networks could get overloaded—so we needed a backup. CellSat gave us the extra confidence that we wouldn’t lose connectivity during a live shot,” says Gordon.

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.