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Clear-Com's Encore

Following an EF-5 tornado in 2007 that destroyed most of Greensburg and parts of Kiowa County, residents were left without the means to relay important information to one another. To avoid similar problems in the future, it became a chief priority to design a communications platform, with state-of-the-art technology, in Greensburg, KS. At the end of a four-year planning and building stage, many people finally celebrated the grand opening of the HD television production studio and mobile production trailer, which has been named the Kiowa County Media Center.

Sustainable innovation

The new center features two studios. One is a TV production studio with a green screen and lighting grid for full studio broadcasts. The other is an Internet radio studio equipped with an interview room that enables people within the community to produce their own radio shows. During planning, the goal was to construct a sophisticated, energy-efficient media center that would set an example in both sustainability and innovation for rural communities throughout America. To achieve this, reliable and high-quality technologies that could tackle any production challenge were sought out. Intercoms, in particular, would play an important role in equipment setup as communication was pivotal to coordinate efforts in the studio and in the field.

Through company sponsorship, we installed a Clear-Com Encore partyline intercom system in the media center. The intercom system resolved the communication challenge, helping the County deliver programs and information to local residents. Further, it also positioned the media center as a pioneering, model media outlet for rural American communities. Several months after beginning operations, results have been positive and encouraging.

Solidified teamwork

In addition to serving as an information hub on natural disasters, the center is also used to coordinate news, local events and sports broadcasts, along with productions, educational programming and other materials like advertising for area businesses and organizations.

Clear-Com's MS-702 Encore partyline main station is set up in the control room, while an RM-702 Encore partyline remote station is installed in the audio area. From the control room, the director can collaborate with the lighting designer, who manages the lighting board; the technical director, who oversees the video switcher; and the graphics operator, who updates the scoreboard, name identification and other elements during sports coverage. The director also corresponds with the audio technician, who controls the sound levels and mix-minus for the production, as well as the floor manager, who advises the talent and camera operators in the television studio. The same setup has been replicated in the mobile production center to allow communication between the different crew members.

Clear-Com's RS-603 wired beltpacks offer great audio clarity for easy information exchange between all members of the broadcast team, which has strengthened teamwork. One channel of the beltpack is designated for the entire crew, while the second channel is assigned to the talent, enabling them to receive distraction-free instructions from the director over an in-ear monitor. The most dramatic benefit lies in the ease of coordinating communication across far distances. Even for distant productions (on the football field or in the gymnasium, for example), the Encore partyline can still be used since the wired beltpacks seamlessly operate several hundred feet from the main or remote station.

Next generation

All programming produced by the center is transmitted through the Internet. Some content consists of live broadcasts streamed through the center's website. Other content is made up of pre-recorded pieces uploaded to the site. Whether it's sending out information or promoting local events, every second counts. In order to keep things running smoothly while making that happen, clear communication is key.

Clear-Com's intercom systems are remarkably clear and have provided full communications capability for all of the Kiowa County Media Center's production needs. Not only is it able to connect more than 3000 citizens to the pulse of breaking news, but it has made the distribution of information over broadcast easier than ever before.

Grant Neuhold is programming and technical producer for the Kiowa County Media Center.