With the launch of a new local sports and weather secondary channel, KHQ, the Cowles Publishing-owned NBC affiliate in Spokane, Wash. (DMA 75), needed a cost effective way to produce local programming. The solution was a new 20-foot production trailer built around a Broadcast Pix Slate G 1000 integrated production system. The secondary channel, SWX, […]
With the launch of a new local sports and weather secondary channel, KHQ, the Cowles Publishing-owned NBC affiliate in Spokane, Wash. (DMA 75), needed a cost effective way to produce local programming. The solution was a new 20-foot production trailer built around a Broadcast Pix Slate G 1000 integrated production system.
The secondary channel, SWX, has been on the air since January, but had its official launch on Aug. 30. Doug Miles, KHQ’s director of broadcast operations, calls SWX a “hyper-local” channel, with coverage of regional hockey and arena football, as well as high school and college sports.
KHQ has a 53-foot truck to produce programming for Fox SportsNet and other clients, but it is not an economical choice for local programming. “We needed a trailer that we could use to substantially reduce costs for less complicated shoots,” Miles explains. “Not every production needs a 53-foot production truck and a staff of 20.”
Instead, the new production trailer was designed by Advanced Broadcast Solutions in SeaTac, Wash., to run efficiently with a smaller crew. The main area houses the Broadcast Pix Slate, where the director/technical director switches the show and uses the Slate’s built-in multi-view to monitor the production on two LCD screens.
Next to the director, the producer also serves as CG operator, while a third operator handles camera shading and instant replay duties. The front of the trailer has a separate room dedicated to audio with a Yamaha digital mixing console. Although the Slate can handle HD, SWX programs are produced in SD because the channel is broadcast in SD.
Revenue is the name of the game for the new production trailer, which Miles said is already booked for shoots every week through Christmas. The unit is being used primarily for the station’s own sports productions, which will be sponsored through advertising, but KHQ is hoping to generate rental revenue as well. “It has to turn a profit,” he explained. “That’s the reason we bought it.”
KHQ already uses a Broadcast Pix system in the station’s secondary control room for weather updates, so Miles was confident in the new system’s reliability. He also said the new Slate, which was upgraded to support eight inputs and dual clip stores, was key to the SWX business model, because it offered a number of built-in features without compromising quality or requiring multiple operators.
“It’s super cost effective and one person can run it,” Miles added. “The switcher is really easy to use, very intuitive. We’re able to use split screen, replays, graphic transitions — everything you see in a normal production.”