Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation Expands Automated Scheduling, Server, and Playout With Snell ICE

Streamlined Master Control Infrastructure Reduces Costs, Creates Efficiencies, and Paves the Way for Public Broadcaster to Offer Centralcasting

READING, U.K. -- Dec. 11, 2013 -- Snell today announced that the Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation, owner of three public television stations in Virginia, has expanded its deployment of Snell ICE channel-in-a-box solutions integrated with the Myers ProTrack TV and Snell Morpheus automation systems. The automated Snell/Myers scheduling, server, and playout environment is enabling Commonwealth master control to reduce costs and operate more efficiently, as well as providing a foundation for the broadcaster to offer centralcasting services to other public stations.

Commonwealth operates Public Broadcasting System (PBS) affiliates WCVE and WCVW in Richmond and WHTJ in Charlottesville, Va., collectively known as the Community Idea Stations. In addition, Commonwealth has recently contracted with public station WPTV in Harrisonburg, Va., to provide master control origination services for WPTV's main HD channel, as well as its two SD channels. In order to support the three additional channels, Commonwealth has added two new ICE channel-in-a-box systems to the ICE units that have been playing out its own channels since 2009, including three channels for WCVE, three for WHTJ, and one for WCVW.

"Because public broadcasters rely solely on viewer support and federal and state funding that is in constant jeopardy, ways to streamline operations, reduce costs, and develop new revenues are always top-of-mind," said Mark Spiller, vice president of engineering and digital operations at Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation. "The integration of Myers ProTrack with Snell automation and channel-in-a-box solutions affords us the ability to run our stations without 24-hour personnel, which represents huge savings. Plus, we can add channels in a highly modular and cost-effective fashion simply by adding a new ICE unit and integrating to ProTrack and Morpheus automation. We appreciate Snell and Myers for working so closely to ensure a truly seamless connection between their solutions."

Snell solutions have played a significant role in Commonwealth's migration to digital and file-based workflows, including the launch of its new digital operations center in 2008. Since then, the broadcaster has relied on Morpheus automation, a Snell Hyperion monitoring and quality control system, and a Snell Sirius 256x256 router to automate, manage, and control signal distribution for WCVE, WCVW, and WHTJ. In 2009, Commonwealth replaced its previous master control servers with ICE channel-in-a-box systems in order to provide a modular and cost-effective solution for adding new channels as its own operation expands, and also to enable additional channels for centralcasting of other stations.

In Commonwealth's current master control configuration, Myers ProTrack provides broadcast management, traffic, and logging for each station's playlist. ProTrack feeds data for all primary and secondary playlist items including programs, interstitials, promos, and PSAs into Morpheus, where it is automatically routed to a storage system or to an ICE server for playout. In addition to the original Snell router, Commonwealth has added another Sirius 128x128 router to provide for future expansion and to support the addition of WPTV, which is currently requiring only 32 inputs and outputs.

"As one of only a handful of public broadcasters that are beginning to offer centralcasting services, Commonwealth is at the forefront of a consolidation movement that is highly beneficial to broadcasters on both ends. Stations that outsource their master control functions can drastically reduce their capital overhead, and stations providing the service are able to tap into a powerful new revenue source," said Karl Mehring, senior product manager at Snell. "Centralcasting is a perfect application for Snell's ICE channel-in-a-box, which combines enterprise-level server, switching, and playout functionality with the flexibility to add new channels quickly and easily."

More information about Snell's full Broadcast Infrastructure product line is available online at

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About the Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation:

Operated by the Commonwealth Public Broadcasting Corporation, the Community Idea Stations include WCVE and WCVW in Richmond and WHTJ in Charlottesville, Va. With a combined audience of more than 300,000, the Community Idea Stations work together to strengthen communities, empower families, and inform citizens throughout central Virginia.

About Myers:

Founded in 1982, Myers has been a pioneer in developing broadcast management software that adapts to the ever-expanding complexity of digital workflow. Our unmatched development expertise has led us to create a family of software products that enable any broadcaster, large or small, to make an affordable investment in high-quality, scalable broadcast management software that will become an indispensable asset to the organization.

About Snell:

Snell is a leading innovator in digital media technology, providing broadcasters and global media companies with a comprehensive range of solutions for creating, managing, and streamlining the distribution of content for today's multi-screen world. Specializing in TV Everywhere and Live TV applications, Snell provides the necessary tools to transition seamlessly and cost-effectively to 4K UHDTV, file-based, and 3Gbps operations, while enabling broadcasters to monetize and deliver their media assets across multiple distribution platforms. Headquartered in the U.K., Snell serves more than 2,000 broadcasters, post facilities, and global media companies in more than 100 countries through its worldwide team of sales and support personnel. More information is available at

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