Christmas has come early at WANE-TV, NewsChannel 15.
The news station, part of the Lin Media Group, is in the process of having its broadcast area upgraded for the high-definition age, complete with multiple monitors, updated backgrounds, enhanced graphics, and sets that feature an emphasis on weather coverage and news anchor versatility.
“The kind of information that can be given – you can display more at one time in the backdrops,” explained Brian Gifford of Orlando, Fla.-based FX Group, which designed and is installing the desks and backgrounds of the studio. “There are so many different things that can be done with this kind of installation, these kinds of cameras. You can change the look and feel of the broadcast, as you see fit.”
A multi-person area to deliver weather reports will have “weather graphics that are amazing,” said Ted Linn, WANE’s news director. “We will have better picture quality, better and brighter, to take advantage of this. It dramatically improves our capabilities.”
The news station began discussing the upgrade around a year ago, said Alan Riebe, the vice president and general manager at WANE. The news station had some fundamental challenges in even starting the work, considering the age of WANE’s headquarters on West State Boulevard. The facility was built in the late 1950s.
“The challenge has been to use the expertise and staffing that we have on hand to continue to present the news. The fact that we did not have a second set has made this challenging,” Riebe said.
WANE’s solution: Gut the newsroom, place the outgoing anchor desk there for the daily broadcasts, and show their viewers what the build looks like as it is happening.
“It’s like building a house,” Linn said. “You want to see what’s going on with it, what the progress is each day.”
Riebe, Linn and James Riecken, WANE’s operation manager, each referred to the ongoing upgrade as being like Christmas, with all of the new technology that will be at their disposal. The gift-giving isn’t confined to WANE, however. The news station has donated to IPFW the equipment that will be replaced.
Gifford and the FX Group will complete their work by week’s end. The station will then use local contractors to finish wiring and testing. The floor of the new broadcast area was also completed by local contractors.
Riebe said the station will conduct a week of testing, with that process beginning, optimally, by Aug. 20. If that is the case and there are no technical problems, it is possible WANE’s first broadcast in the new broadcast area would take place Aug. 27.