Raycom’s WAFF goes HD with Snell Kahuna

WAFF-DT, the NBC affiliate in Huntsville, AL, has upgraded its news production facilities from analog SD to full (1080i) HD, including a new studio and set, several HD edit bays and a control room. The centerpiece of that control room is a Snell Kahuna multiformat HD/SD video production switcher.

WAFF produces more than seven hours of live, multi-element newscasts every weekday from its new production control room, in addition to weekend programs and pre- and post-production activities. The station joins other Raycom Media properties in the group that have launched have begun producing local HD newscasts using the Kahuna switcher.

J.T. Harriman, chief engineer at WAFF, said they wanted equipment that was “easy-to-learn, intuitive and would stand up to the rigorous daily routine of very busy daily newscasts.” They chose the Kahuna and “it has performed exceedingly well,” he said.

Different operators at the station save their personal settings on the Kahuna for each individual newscast, loading their preferences and presets without affecting the next newscast.

Kahuna's multiformat capabilities are also very important to the WAFF operation, as the station is continuing to rely on SD sources for some aspects of its HD broadcasts, including all ENG and satellite live shots. The switcher can automatically convert these SD streams to 16:9 widescreen format to provide consistency with the HD content.