WOUB-TV Moves Closer To Full Digital Production

By
Kelly Martin


Updated Fri, Mar 8, 2013 1:49 pm

After several years and millions of dollars, WOUB-TV’s digital transition is almost complete. Installation of a new digital production control room will change the way television has been produced at WOUB for 50 years.

The federal government’s mandate requiring broadcast television stations to begin digital broadcast by 2009 caused stations around the country to replace aging (analog) equipment with newer digital equipment.
 
The costly changes took many years for stations – including WOUB -- but opened opportunities for additional streams of broadcasting that give viewers a choice in the type of over-the-air programs and content that is available. The changes include digitally produced content for web viewing. 
 
The Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP) helped WOUB replace aging equipment by making matching grant money available. 
 
The PTFP grants were cut from the federal budget in 2011 and left many stations in rural areas without larger populations (such as WOUB) without a way to complete the transition.  
 
With the last of WOUB’s PTFP grant money, new equipment was purchased to upgrade the production control room. The new production control room will bring WOUB one-step closer to producing content in high definition. The last step of the process will be the purchase of high definition field cameras. 
 
The installation of several systems will change production of programming and provide a whole new set of job skills to the hundreds of Ohio University students who train with WOUB professionals every year. 
 
Mike Rodriguez, WOUB’s director of student professional development, says the new equipment is complex, but an excellent learning tool. 
 
“This equipment is what major television networks are using and is much more technically complicated than the former equipment,” said Rodriguez. “It will take some time to adjust to, but with experience working with this equipment students can literally operate any control room in any market.” 
 
Rodriguez continued, “Using this equipment will give additional skill levels that they didn't have the possibility of before.” 
 
WOUB’s daily news show “Newswatch” will begin producing in high definition the week of March 11. All elements of the show will be in high definition, except for field reporting. Replacing field cameras is the next priority to complete the digital transition. 
 
After her passing last fall, the family of former WOUB staff member Connie Stevens organized the Connie Stevens Memorial Equipment Support Fund. Money raised through this fund will go to meet the continuing need to replace and repair aging equipment necessary to WOUB staff and students.  
 
Contributions to the equipment fund can be made at this link.  Please include "Connie Stevens Memorial Equipment Support Fund in the comments section. 

Slideshow: Production Control

WOUB's new production control room brings the station one step closer to completing the digital transition. 

Photos by Megan Westervelt

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