BRCTV13 modernizes workflow with Octopus newsroom computer system

Blue Ridge Communications wanted to bring its 31-year-old local news and sports channel into the 21st century. A new Octopus newsroom computer system lets journalists in the field collaborate easily with producers at headquarters while integrating seamlessly with existing graphics, teleprompter and playout platforms.

When BRCTV13 decided to replace its aging newsroom computer system, managers went looking for a platform that would increase journalists’ productivity while bringing a badly needed technology update to the company’s production platform.

They found what they were looking for in Octopus Newsroom.

A local origination channel founded in 1988 by Pencor Services Inc.’s Blue Ridge Communications, BRCTV13 provides local news, sports and coverage of community events to cable TV subscribers in Palmerton, PA. Its ten-year-old EZ Newsroom system wasn’t keeping up with Pencor’s business objectives for the network.

Executives at BRCTV13 wanted an NRCS that would integrate into the network’s existing infrastructure, but also future proof against technology change by being able to freely add new innovative third parties over time.

In a world of interoperability and open standards, this meant it had to be MOS compliant.

Media Object Server (MOS) is an XML based communication protocol that allows newsroom computer systems to interoperate with third-party systems such as teleprompters, graphics systems, playout systems, playout automation systems and MAMs.


“We had significant investments with existing platforms that included a ChyronHego graphics system, Autoscript teleprompters and Nexio playout servers,” explains Frank Stanek, director of technology. “We also had an archival database going back 11 years that we needed to ensure is still available to our newsroom teams.

“We needed to do a MOS upgrade on some of our systems,” Stanek continues, “but this ensured we could keep our current ecosystem without any painful migrations or middleware.”

With journalists spending increasing amounts of time producing in the field, the company also wanted to streamline workflows. “We needed the ability for our journalists to work out on location but still have the ability to seamlessly collaborate with our newsroom systems back at headquarters,” says Kim Bell, BRCTV13’s general manager. “So, in addition to having 30 desktop clients for our news team, we also had 10 Octopus Mobile journalist licenses.”

Journalist / Producer Alyssa Kratz added that an Octopus mobile app lets her work from her phone while reporting from the field.

Staffers also found efficiencies that removed friction from their day. “I appreciate the ability to simultaneously work on my script while in the editing bay,” says journalist Nick Volturo. Kratz added that she is now “able to update rundowns and stories while a show is on the air without having to exit out of the teleprompter.”

For Aren Woods, technical director at BRCTV13, the bottom line is increased productivity. “Everything is consolidated and uniform,” he says. “The people at Octopus did a really good job at accomplishing that and it will make our workflow more streamlined.”

Another significant advantage of Octopus was the fact it could work across both the MAC and Windows PC environments transparently.

“We are delighted with the Octopus system and it allows us to be more efficient than ever before and has really bought us into the 21st century with all the different mechanisms of how news is delivered in the modern era,” Bell says. “We are also looking forward to the new iReporter application, which basically allows us to build a community of mobile journalists that is actually based on our viewers. This could be very disruptive for BRCTV13 by enabling us to deliver much faster on breaking stories.”

Octopus worked with a local System Integrator, Lerro Corporation, to deliver the system. Lerro has extensive experience in a wide variety of video workflows.

Gene Sudduth, Director of Sales, Octopus

Learn more about how Octopus is streamlining news production. Make an appointment for a demo at [email protected] or call Gene Sudduth, National Sales Director, at 844-OCTNEWS

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