The transition to a fully digital, high definition facility continues with the normal bumps in a road that traditionally accompany a project of this nature. As the headline reads, things will get worse before they get better. I would try to explain the steep learning curve that has been part of this process, but I’m pretty sure my observation wouldn’t be anywhere close to right in the eyes of KBTX engineers and other personnel who have trained and been trained.
This transition has been through many phases over several years. More recently, we hit the critical points that will round out this new chapter in KBTX history and in the history of television broadcasting in the Brazos Valley.
PHASE ONE: New HD transmitter. Done.
PHASE TWO: Installation of HD servers. Done.
PHASE THREE: Installation of HD playback and for commercials/syndication. Done.
The KBTX Control Room is almost complete with the new switcher and all other pertinent components needed for HD News. This included some incredible cabinetry custom built locally by Kent Moore Cabinets. Once the room has all the finishing touches, it will be among one of the best in the business, and reflective of an all-new workflow.
The new high definition cameras have been on-air for approximately two months in standard definition, but with a markedly improved picture. Our retired Sony studio cameras were in service with KBTX almost twenty-years.
Perhaps the crown jewel of the KBTX facility will be the Newsroom. Wall treatments have been completed less some planned accent lighting. Installation of 25% of the desks and work stations have been put into place and will feature a whole new design created for a nice on-air look and efficiency in workflow. Among the components to be installed is the news assignments desk to be located in the center of the newsroom.
You may have noticed that the old background of televisions tuned to various news channels started going out one by one. Rather than replace them (and honestly, you really can’t find those old TV’s much anymore), we decided to wait for the re-build. That was a smart decision, since only two were still in operation when we began to remodel!
The homestretch to project completion involves installation of software and equipment, primarily the system used to “play-out” all video. The staff has learned a whole new way to edit with trainers from all over the country, with special thanks to Josh from KXII-Sherman who assisted in this process.
Finally, the design of the new broadcast set will feature a unique look for KBTX. This process is underway with off premises construction starting in the near future. Each phase of set construction has started in some form. It is my intent to share colorized drawings of a couple of the new sets planned for construction in the KBTX studios.
Once completed, it has been our goal that the Brazos Valley becomes home to one of the state’s premiere broadcast facilities. Granted, we know our friends at KHOU-Houston, WFAA-Dallas, KENS-San Antonio and KVUE-Austin serve larger markets with larger buildings and a bigger staff, but once this workflow and new look is installed and on-air, there is little doubt that KBTX will be a leader among broadcast facilities. With this business changing, we become content aggregators more than broadcasters. Provisions were made in the design of this facility to maximize our ability to be faster, more reliable, and more accurate in our coverage of news that happens throughout the region.
Until this transition is completed, you will see things on-air that make me cringe and will be noticeable to you.
While most errors are human-based and part of the learning curve, because of this cutting-edge technology, programmers and trouble-shooters from companies like Sony are staying with KBTX to diagnose and otherwise correct these issues. We are learning together as this project is rolled out to other stations in the Gray Television family. Once this smoothes out, the final element to this project may cause noticeable on-air glitches. This particular piece of the puzzle won’t be in place until early December.
While the intent is for a smooth transition in all areas of this build-out, we know errors most likely will occur. They did before – without a new workflow! All of this, however, is in an effort to perfect what we do and to put us in a better position to do more for everyone we serve.
KBTX takes pride in the partnership we’ve shared with one of the fastest-growing areas of Texas. We are always open to input, suggestions, and conversation that leads to delivering what you expect and deserve from the region’s only true local television station.
Thank you for sharing in this journey with us. We’ll do better at updates and pictures as we continue in this exciting time in KBTX history. The plate has been full, the work intricate. We never take for granted our responsibility, and look forward to a renewed dedication to striving to be better.
On a side note, another exciting bit of information. For the first time in its history, KBTX has been nominated for three Emmy Awards. The 10:00 Newscast featuring “Arctic Blast” was nominated, as was Aggie Game Day and a special series by Meredith Stancik and Shane McAuliffe, “To Avery With Love.” KBTX is honored for this recognition and are in hopes we can bring home the awards during a special presentation later this year in Houston.
Thank you for making KBTX and kbtx.com your primary source for information, the people you know, the news you trust.