Emmis Employs a Super-Cop
Station group goes the centralization route
By Ken Kerschbaumer -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/16/2005 7:00:00 PM
While many station groups look to standardize traffic systems, some are planning to centralize them. The Emmis Communications Centralcasting facility, located in Orlando, Fla., handles master control for five stations: WKCF Orlando; WFTX Ft. Myers, Fla.; WVUE New Orleans; WALA Mobile, Ala.; and WBPG Gulf Shores, Ala. Each station has its own Harris/Encoda traffic system tied into a Florical automation system located at the hub. Together, the systems handle playout of all SD and HD programming.
Joe Addalia, Emmis Centralcasting director of operations, says a program from Harris/Encoda helps the traffic and automation systems speak the same language. The station group works with content packaged as files, moving it between the Centralcasting hub and the stations across a wide area network (WAN). “Purge lists, dub lists, logs, as-run logs and user reports are what keep the processes flowing,” says Addalia.
The facility highlights the delicate dance between automation and traffic. In addition to on-air operations, the Florical system also handles programming from other sources, including networks. It deals with as much as 18-21 hours of syndicated programming on weekdays and nearly 80 daily satellite feeds.
The Harris/Encoda system does require some manual intervention.
Addalia's bottom line: First figure out the workflow. Then buy the technology that can do it. “That's especially important with traffic,” he says, “because otherwise the workflow is based on the system's limitations.”
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