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FOX 24 Charleston Automates Closed Captioning of Live News with ENCO enCaption3R3

Southfield, MI, March 8, 2017–WTAT-TV, better known as FOX 24 in Charleston, SC, has significantly accelerated its closed captioning workflow and improved accuracy with a transition to ENCO’s software-defined enCaption3R3 system.

FOX 24serves the “Lowcountry” by airing 21 hours of live local newscasts weekly, featuring breaking news, sports, weather and traffic. Its intensive local news schedule includes FOX 24News Now, a live news-lifestyle-entertainment show that launched on January 9, 2017, and features topics and stories that are trending in the Charleston area. 

FOX 24 chose enCaption3R3because its powerful closed captioning speech-to-text engine accurately converts the spoken word into textin near-real-time. The station sends the audio of its live news program to the enCaption3R3 for processing, and feeds the closed captioning data to an HD/SD-SDI encoder. That encoder embeds the highly accurate captions into the vertical ancillary portion of the SMPTE 292M HD-SDI video stream for live broadcast.

“Launchingand producingthis new live show has been very exciting and it’s been well-received by our viewers, butthe high cost of creating real-time closed captioning might have prevented us from doing this new show at all,” said Matt McCarthy, general manager of WTAT-TV/FOX 24, which is owned and operated by Cunningham Broadcasting. 

“In a mid-size TV market like Charleston, the cost of hiring a real-time captioning service is one of the biggest costbarriers to launching a new live show,” McCarthy added. “The ENCO enCaption3R3 has proven to be an affordable, easy-to-use in-house captioningsolution, which has allowed us to move forward with our plans to produceFOX News Now.”

McCarthy was further tasked with finding a system that was easy to install and operate, as the broadcaster was faced with a hard deadline to get the new workflow up and running. As they had already selected their new encoders (manufacturing by Links Electronics), they had concerns about finding an open system that would offer seamless, trouble-free integration.

“The engineering team, myself included,was impressed with how easy it was to install enCaption and interface it with our encoder,” he said. “While we estimated that this process would take a week to a week and a half, we were pleasantly surprised to find that it only took a day and a halfto have both systems up and running reliably, and producing highly accurate captions for live news.”

Another key reason for choosing enCaption3R3 is that it generates live captioning that is legally compliant with all FCC mandates. While there is a slight delay of about four or five seconds, McCarthy said it satisfies their need to provide cost-effective closed captioning for WTAT’s hearing-impairedviewers.

FOX 24 Charleston broadcasts live weekday newscasts from 7-9am, as well as a half-hour newscast at 6:30pm and an hour-long newscastat 10pm. That newscast leads directly into FOX 24 News Now at 11pm. The 7am, 6:30pm and 10pm newsis are produced by the station’s news-share partner, WCIV-TV—the ABC affiliate in Charleston, SC. While FOX 24 used to share the costs of its live captioning service with WCIV, today all of its captioning is now done in-house using enCaption3R3.

“We’ve seen significant cost savings since installing enCaption3R3,” said McCarthy. “Under ourENCO agreement, we cancaption up to four hours of programming per day. That means we can create about six more hoursper weekof original, local programming, such as a new weekend sports show, without worrying about incurring additional closed captioning costs. That makes this a complete win-win.” 

About ENCO

Founded in 1983, ENCO Systems is a world leader in playout and automation system solutions for demanding radio and television organizations. ENCO is headquartered in Southfield, Michigan USA and retains a worldwide distribution network. For more information, please visit: