KUVN & TEC: A Standup Job For ENG

We all know what ENG trucks look like--cargo vans or big SUVs--but KUVN chief engineer
Bryan Switzer and Television Engineering Corporation (TEC, www.tvengineering.com) had something else in mind. A design that allows the occupants to stand up, based on the Dodge Sprinter.

The Dodge what? The Sprinter. You might have seen one or two around town not quite knowing what it was, but something telling you that it looked like a European import of sorts.

You’d be right. Since 1995, Mercedes-Benz has been building the Sprinter, and the commercial van is a big hit in Europe.

In 2001, the Düsseldorf-built Sprinter debuted in America under the Freightliner moniker. In 2003, Dodge introduced their version of the Sprinter.
The big thing about the Sprinter? It’s big. Tall, actually, as the 102-inch (exterior height) version seems to be made for ENG crews who would rather stand than squat.

“My assistant chief engineer, Tony Ukrainzow, came to me with the idea to use the Sprinter,” said KUVN chief engineer Bryan Switzer. “The Sprinter allows for full stand-up height inside the truck, but it still feels compact when it’s driven,” said Jack Vines, Jr., sales manager for TEC.

KUVN’s ENG Sprinter is built to accomplish both nightly newsgathering and editing as well as serve as a base for remote newscasts. Five crewmembers can operate comfortably inside the vehicle. This allows them the ability to edit, create voice-overs, and monitor and feed video and audio back to the studios in a spacious, user-friendly workspace. One of its upcoming assignments will be a live Christmas parade in December.

“One of our goals is to design vehicles that are both state-of-the art and affordable for our customers,” said Vines. “The Sprinter allows us to achieve both those objectives by incorporating proprietary technology in many features throughout the truck. At the same time, the vehicle has extended service intervals over its competitor, the Ford E350.”

As the only vehicle of its kind in the Dallas market, KUVN’s Sprinter has received its share of strange looks since being inaugurated for election coverage, especially from other stations. The ENG Sprinter will probably draw even more attention as KUVN converts the terrestrial microwave truck into a DSNG truck in 2005 or 2006.