Mid market, big ideas
New KHQ-TV building, facility designed to be contemporary and flexible
By Alan Waldman -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/24/2001 8:00:00 PM
On March 5, NBC affiliate KHQ-TV began broadcasting from its new 53,000-square-foot state-of-the-art digital facility in a former auto district in downtown Spokane, Wash., that it is helping bring back to life. The $15 million project includes $8.6 million for building design and construction and over $2 million in new digital equipment. The architect was Oklahoma City's Rees Associates, the general contractor was Spokane's Robert B. Goebel, and the systems integrator was Austin, Texas-based Beck and Associates.
KHQ-TV President and General Manager Lon Lee confesses that the decision on what digital standard to broadcast in will be delayed as long as possible toward the May 2002 legal deadline. According to Lee, the station had to move or renovate because the electrical infrastructure of its previous building was incapable of supporting a digital installation. The old building used mostly 15- to 20-year-old equipment, and its small control room and newsroom were originally built for KHQ radio.
"Our goal was to build a new building that would both be contemporary and give us the flexibility to support a world-class news organization in our size [76th] market for 50 years," Lee explains.
Another goal is to originate up to nine separate TV signals out of master control for KHQ-TV and sister stations KNDO(TV) in Yakima and KNDU(TV) in Richland.
"The new building features a dramatic, two-story, 70-by-50-foot newsroom/backdrop to the news set," explains Rees' project designer Lisa Matthews.
More than 15,000 square feet of 24-inch-raised computer-access flooring allows maximum flexibility in current and future wiring of technical and news operations. Initially, the building has more than 60 miles of installed fiber and wiring.
"KHQ basically has an all-new system from the ground up," declares systems integrator Fred Beck. "The primary audio signal distribution format is digital AES, using co-ax. The primary video-distribution format is serial digital video, but we also have new, smaller analog video and audio routers to handle miscellaneous input and output work."
There are more than 40 Leitch analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters with frame synchronizers. The great majority of the routing equipment is from Philips. The Sundance automation package, which has fully mirrored Play to Air, via Leitch video servers, includes automated satellite acquisition and recording, plus automated digital video effects, squeeze-backs and voice-overs.
The primary monitoring in both master control and production control is accomplished by multiple-video-stream multiplexing to 50-inch Panasonic high-definition plasma monitors. Video-multiplexing equipment was supplied by Avitech.
News and programming can originate from either of two studios or the newsroom itself. The new equipment includes Philips LDK 200 studio cameras, a Philips Saturn master-control switcher, a DD35 production-control switcher, Accom Dveous video effects and a Wheatstone SP8 audio console. The videotape format throughout the facility is Panasonic DVCPRO.
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