Pappas Telecasting Upgrades Omaha Facility With Utah Scientific

Pappas Telecasting Companies, the largest privately held, commercial TV broadcast group in the United States, has upgraded its Omaha, NE, broadcast facility with digital routing and control systems from Utah Scientific.

The Pappas Omaha facility currently provides four broadcast streams from a single building: KAZO, affiliated with Azteca America; KPTM, a Fox affiliate; KXVO, a member of the new CW network; and MyNetworkTV, FOX’s new second network, which is broadcast on one of KPTM’s digital subchannels.

The company has installed a UTAH-400 32x32 SD and 16x16 HD routing switcher configured to provide both SD and HD video—two of the stations are currently broadcast in SD and the other two broadcast in HD. The UTAH-400 is integrated with an Omneon Spectrum video server under control of an NVerzion automation system that was delivered a few months ago.

Omaha is the third Pappas location to install the UTAH-400 in 2006, with one more station expected to install the equipment in 2007. Dale Scherbring, Vice President/Director of Engineering of Pappas Telecasting (and formerly Chief Engineer at KPTM), is very pleased with the decision to upgrade to the UTAH-400. “I like the small footprint (of the UTAH-400) and the flexibility to load both SD and HD in the same frame,” said Scherbring. “In the future, more and more of the plant is going to be IP-based, and we needed a solid SDI core for on-air switching, which this upgrade provides.”

When the facility was first opened in 1985, it included an analog routing switcher with stereo audio and an MC-500 master control panel from Utah Scientific. That original routing switcher is still being used as a prefeed to the new UTAH-400. The long-term performance and reliability of that original equipment was one factor in the decision to stick with Utah Scientific products for this upgrade.

Another factor was the flexibility and understanding of Utah’s team as the project moved forward. “They worked with us to make sure the installation worked for us,” explained Scherbring. “As we moved forward, some adjustments to the configuration were needed and they just made it happen. The installation has been smooth and our operators are very comfortable with the change.”

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