Don Roberts, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s VP of sports engineering, is navigating a sports production landscape that has been profoundly changed by the COVID-19 pandemic while trying to make sure that Sinclair’s multi-billion-dollar bet on the former Fox RSNs pays off. He’s managing technical changes from the RSNs’ Bally rebrand and overseeing construction of a new origination facility in Atlanta, while meeting COVID protocols for three concurrent major-league sports for the RSNs and two professional tennis tours for Tennis Channel. Note: This story is available to TVNewsCheck Premium members only. If you would like to upgrade your free TVNewsCheck membership to Premium now, you can visit your Member Home Page, available when you log in at the very top right corner of the site or in the Stay Connected Box that appears in the right column of virtually every page on the site. If you don’t see Member Home, you will need to click Log In or Subscribe.
Blake Russell, EVP of stations operations and content development for Nexstar, has spent the past pandemic year building out a new newsroom, studios and infrastructure for NewsNation. Along the way, he’s been eliminating holdover technology from the company’s Tribune acquisition and built a novel, enterprise-level content sharing tool. Note: This story is available to TVNewsCheck Premium members only. If you would like to upgrade your free TVNewsCheck membership to Premium now, you can visit your Member Home Page, available when you log in at the very top right corner of the site or in the Stay Connected Box that appears in the right column of virtually every page on the site. If you don’t see Member Home, you will need to click Log In or Subscribe.
ABC Owned Television Stations had begun moving many of its workflows into the cloud over a year before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, making for a faster and smoother transition once remote workflows became necessary. Tish Graham, the group’s VP of OTV technology, says the current crisis will “absolutely” speed up the industry’s transition to IP and the cloud.
Richard Friedel, Fox Television Stations’ engineering chief, says the pandemic will likely accelerate the industry’s transition to IP and the cloud, slow down the NextGen TV rollout this year and permanently shift many station operations remotely. “We are going to have different workflows,” he says. “Some will probably continue forever.”
Louis Libin, chairman of Election Wireless 2020, coordinates wireless requirements for broadcasters at the upcoming conventions, debates and election night. He says the repack has made assigning spectrum more challenging than ever, and that broadcasters must temper their expectations relative to past years.
Rich Chernock, chief science officer of Triveni Digital, is leading the effort to develop TV’s next-gen transmission standard, ATSC 3.0. At next week’s NAB Show he will provide updates on ATSC 3.0 developments as well as lead an IEEE/BTS discussion on next-generation compression. He talks about where the process is now and what’s in store in Las Vegas.
As LIN Media’s chief tech, Brett Jenkins has numerous balls in the air. First there’s continuing the HD transition at the group’s growing portfolio of stations. Next, there’s his work on ATSC that is planning TV’s next-generation standards. And then there’s also automation, mobile DTV, streaming and keeping an eye on the emerging 4K technology.
The noncommercial Boston station is developing a new business as a centralcasting hub. Today, it’s announcing it will provide master control operations for New Hampshire Public Television. WGBH CTO Joe Igoe says his new facility has the capacity to handle 40 or more stations anywhere in the country that would like to save money by outsourcing.
With the Cox stations about done with their conversions to HD news, Technical Operations VP Dave Siegler is focused on media asset management, storing and indexing digital video and making it easy to push content online and onto mobile platforms. Other priorities include consolidating back-office and IT functions as well as integrating traffic and master control with BXF.
Steve Koenig, director of industry analysis at the Consumer Electronics Association, talks about the future of TV viewing in light of the CEA’s recent viewing habits study. “Consumers continue to crave video of all forms, including broadcast TV. The way they consume video may have shifted in recent years, but they’re still watching. Local news is one of the things American stations do best. That’s an opportunity to push that local content over the Web, using various apps and platforms. If consumers can find that content online, they can watch on their schedule and on the device of their choosing.”
Craig Porter, Young Broadcasting’s engineering VP, has spent $25 million modernizing the group’s 10 stations. First he took care of news production, moving to all-HD. Now master control is being transformed into a file-based workflow for commercials and programming.
Dan Ackerman, Citadel Communications’ director of engineering, explains what his company did to move its four stations (now five) from analog in 2009 to digital with full HD news operations by last September. He also talks about IP backpacks, his low-power solution to VHF reception problems and complying with the new loudness rules.
Dolby CTO Craig Todd heads the ATSC’s 3D planning committee. While broadcasters aren’t anxious to deal with another game-changing technology revamp, ATSC may be moving ahead with creating a standard, at the request of other members, especially Korea. One scenario is the creation of a 3D standard for the current TV system and then developing another that would be part of the next-gen transmission system in the works.