Ohio News Network's News Wheel

The Dispatch Broadcast Group's Ohio News Network (ONN) selected Crispin to provide a cost-effective solution in automating its statewide 24-hour news channel. The legacy system required a half-hour show to be edited to tape and then replayed. The first block was reserved for the top stories. Graphics were pre-produced on the tape masters. Breaking news was manually inserted over the taped shows through a master control operator. Commercial breaks were scheduled to occur through the legacy master control automation system.

Prior to the onset of this project, the master control equipment for ONN was relocated to a new control room, consolidating master control facilities for ONN and WBNS. The project was envisioned to use existing equipment and facilities to the greatest extent possible.

The general design goal was to provide complete control over the on-air programming via the AP/ENPS newsroom system. The system needed to be capable of executing multiple active rundowns as driven by producers through ENPS. Playback of stories would originate from GVG Profiles with embedded graphics scheduled in the rundown. The graphics would originate live from a Pinnacle FX Deko II. While automated, the system would still need to support the ability for live news and weather cut-ins. Additionally, the system would need to provide support for commercial breaks.

The Crispin News Rundown Manager also needed to support multiple active rundowns. This feature created a requirement for the FX Deko to stay synchronized with all the active rundowns. To accommodate, Crispin created another function to parse the CG events from each story created from the built-in ENPS CG editor. Crispin then provided device control of the FX Deko based on the CG objects. This had the added benefit of no longer requiring additional hardware and software to connect the FX Deko to MOS. Leveraging existing live production components, the only new equipment required was a Videotek RS12A switcher, the Pinnacle FX Deko II and the Crispin automation system.

Live news cut-ins were accomplished by creating an ENPS object that causes automation to switch to the studio output. The director then triggers out of the live news cut-in to continue to the next news wheel element. Commercial breaks have a similar object that causes automation to trigger the master control automation to roll the break. At the end of the break, the master control automation triggers the first news wheel element of the following segment.

On schedule and on budget, the automated news wheel system was transitioned to air on September 8, 2003. With minimal investment, the existing news wheel process was automated to a more efficient operation. The entire news playback process is now driven by the ENPS newsroom system as entered by producers. Changes in show format and content order is completely controlled by ENPS and reflected immediately in the Crispin Playout control.

This approach provides broadcasters with existing news productions and the ability to add a 24-hour news channel with little investment.

Design Team

The Dispatch Broadcast Group
Jason Pheister, dir. new media
Ken Eyerman, asst. chf. eng.
Vince Jones, ops. mgr.

Larry Tawes, systems eng.

Mark Hunt, special proj. mgr.
Jim Zagrabelny, software dev. mgr.
Will Owen, software eng.

Equipment List

Crispin Rapid Play X

Crispin News Rundown Manager

Thomson Grass Valley Profile and Vibrant

Videotek RS12A switcher

Pinnacle FX Deko II