The group owner is using Utah Scientific equipment for master control of 12 Fox and ABC stations in six markets in Montana.
The system, one of the largest anywhere based on Utah Scientific equipment, is located in Missoula.
“Ironically, what really sold me on the new Utah Scientific equipment was an old piece of Utah equipment — an analog router that has been in place at my home station in Billings since I came to work here in 1984,” said Mark Huller, director of engineering at Max Media. “Utah Scientific still supports that router and even has parts for it. The reliability and durability of Utah products is phenomenal, and so is the service. When it was time to begin the digital conversion process in Missoula, I naturally turned to Utah Scientific again.”
Max Media’s Missoula facility is delivering a dual ABC/Fox HD program feed to KTMF Missoula, ch. 23; KTMF-LD Kalispell, ch. 42; KWYB Butte, ch. 18; KWYB-LD Bozeman, ch. 28; KFBB Great Falls, ch. 5; and KHBB Helena, ch. 21.
Previously, the Montana Fox stations had been owned by Equity Broadcasting, which was transmitting an analog signal. After the digital transition on June 12, those markets went without Fox for about a month until Max Media took them over and began digital broadcasts from the Missoula facility.
Planning for the digital transition and growth, Max Media put the Utah-400 routing switcher in place two years ago. The master control system was expanded this summer. The Utah MC-400 master control incorporates a multichannel control system with MC-GUI soft control panels. Each of the 12 channels has Utah Scientific’s MC-40/EAS capability, which inputs the EAS signal and performs keying and audio message presentation into the feed without the need for additional equipment. The MC-40/EAS features two keyers, an internal logo generator, and an audio clip store.
“What Max Media is doing in Montana represents a trend for broadcasters in small markets,” said Tom Harmon, president and CEO of Utah Scientific. “Centralcasting is a means of harnessing advanced digital technology to save money and at the same time provide higher quality, more consistent transmission for viewers. By providing durable, reliable operation, Utah routers and master control systems fit perfectly into this model.”