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New Orleans station upgrades with Utah Scientific routers

WLAE, the PBS member station in New Orleans, has installed a full complement of signal distribution and channel branding equipment from Utah Scientific to upgrade its operations after enduring significant damage during Hurricane Katrina. The station has installed a UTAH-400 V-288R digital routing switcher as well as Utah Scientific control and master control systems. The new router has replaced a 15-year-old analog router, also manufactured by Utah Scientific that survived the 2005 storm.

The station is currently broadcasting three streams, including some programming for sister station WLPB in Baton Rouge, making it one of the first stations in its region to perform multistream broadcasting. The new master control facilities enable WLAE to cut into feeds easily and automatically for branding, logo insertion, EAS, and promos. WLAE went on-air with the Utah Scientific equipment in January, just in time for the home team victory in Super Bowl XLIV.

WLAE had just installed a digital transmitter and received a grant to support further automation of its broadcast facility in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit. The new transmitter was swamped, and then, after the roof blew away, most of the studio equipment was soaked. Weeks went by before anything was salvaged, and at that point one of the few items that could be dried out and put back into service was the 10-year-old UTAH-300 router.

The new UTAH-400 router (configured as a 128 x 128 matrix that supports 3G HD/SD signals) was chosen because it supports system-wide flexibility, with each I/O capable of routing either SD or HD signals.

In addition to the UTAH-400 router, the station installed a Utah Scientific SC-4 controller, MC-400P master control with integrated emergency alert system (EAS) and logo insertion, and Utah's Softpanel-2 control panel software.