Local HD Fired Up at KOLD-TV

TUCSON, ARIZ.: KOLD-TV is now producing local news in HD, Chief Engineer Lorne Earle tells Television Broadcast.

“Better late than never… KOLD began producing HD news on Aug. 31, 2010!” Earle said.

Actually, in KOLD’s case, it was better early than on time. Earle said the upgrade went so smoothly that it was finished ahead of schedule.

“We were originally scheduled for a late October launch but was able to launch early on Aug. 31,” he said. “It was a fun project.”

KOLD, the CBS affiliate in market No. 67, built a new set for the upgrade. FX Group was brought in for the design. Four new JVC 790 studio cameras were added, as well as two Panasonic AW-HE50s, a Snell Kahuna 3ME switcher and a WSI Trueview HD weather graphics system.

Earle said field acquisition was still in 16:9 standard definition due to the return transmitter-studio links. The station is now producing four-and-a-half hours of local news Monday-Friday, and one hour on the weekend, he said. KOLD is second in market to upgrade locally to HD.

KVOA-TV, the Tucson NBC affiliate, upgraded to HD in April 2007, becoming the first station in Southern Arizona to do so. KMSB-TV, the local Fox afil, is planning to convert to local HD news early next year, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

Earle said there were no unforeseen problems in KOLD’s upgrade.

“We have a strong engineering team and operations team, and [did] tons of planning!” he said.

Local HD upgrades are rising again after a lull during the worst part of the recession. WABI-TV of Bangor, Maine, stepped up the resolution on Monday.
-- Deborah D. McAdams