KCRG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Cedar Rapids,
Iowa, is installing a file-based high
definition content management and distribution platform from Grass
Valley that is expected to be
operational in September.
The deployment is part of a larger upgrade to KCRG's HD
infrastructure, which includes plans to build a new HD facility in 2010.
"All of this is part of a plan to go from what we used to
be, which was a single-channel, analog, tape-based broadcaster, to a multiplatform
digital broadcaster where everything is in HD from acquisition to ingest and
playout," said KCRG vice president and general manager John Phelan.
When the first phase of the project is completed in
September, KCRG will be the first station in its market to automatically record
and playback syndicated programming and commercial spots in HD.
"We think that will give us a competitive advantage," Phelan
The file-based system will also allow them to automatically
insert ads and other content in their standard-definition digital second
channel, Local 9.2, which provides local news, weather and other programming.
"The file-based system will allow us to start producing some
revenue from the digital channel," Phelan said.
The station's engineering staff is in the process of
installing a new Grass Valley Maestro SD/HD branding and master-control system, two Grass
Valley KD SD/HD media servers for commercials and syndicated programming
playback, a Grass
Valley Concerto Series HD router, Grass Valley GeckoFlex signal-conversion
and other equipment, said KCRG director of engineering and IT Kirk Schroeder.
Much of the equipment for the new HD facility KCRG is
planning to build in 2010 will also be from Grass
"A great deal of it, from cameras to production-control
switchers, file servers and newsroom servers, will come from Grass
Valley," Phelan said.
Other vendors for the upgrades will include Sundance Digital
and Harmonic, Schroeder said.
KCRG went with Grass
Valley after looking at a number of
vendors, Schroeder added. "When we started looking at who had our favorite
server, master-control switchers, master-control routers, production switchers,
and so forth, Grass Valley
was always there at either No. 1 or tied for No. 1."
The vendor also offered "a very generous trade-in program,
which was important for us because our plan was to build a brand new digital
broadcast facility" in 2010, Phelan added. "Some of the equipment we are now
installing will be moved to the new facility and some of it will be traded in.
That made it possible for us to do this in a very effective manner."
Phelan noted that they've just started designing the new
facility. "Initially we are going to have only one HD studio and we are going
to design for two control room but we want to make sure the building can be
easily expanded to put in another studio or whatever we need in the future,"
Final designs should be completed in December. They
hope to break ground in early spring when the weather improves and complete the
building by the fall of 2010. "When we move into that we will be HD from
acquisition out in the field to ingest to playout," Phelan said.