Avid Streamlines Election Coverage

Some 140 stations used specialized software from editing and graphics supplier Avid Technology to automate their election coverage last week. The system, called LeaderPlus, helps stations cover voting results by ingesting multiple wire feeds and Web polling data, then linking to graphics systems to automatically create on-air updates of voting action. The Windows-based system, which runs on a SQL database, works with Avid's Pinnacle Deko and DekoCast systems, as well as third-party graphics products.

“It takes AP wire feeds and any other wire feeds that have election data coming across,” says Avid Director of On-Air Product Management Johnathon Howard, “and is automatically configured to recognize those and put them in the right place.”

The $17,000 system also simultaneously updates stations' Websites and can analyze multiple data points and quickly indicate voting trends.

Fox's KDFW Dallas-Fort Worth used LeaderPlus to cover a total of 350 races in 25 counties (a number of bond proposals boosted the workload) last week. The station accepted wire feeds from both the AP and the Texas Secretary of State into LeaderPlus and linked them to a Chyron Duet graphics system for instant on-air updates.

The system also helped drive extensive election coverage on KDFW's new Website, www.myfoxdfw.com, and the Texas station did some extra HTML programming to allow Web users to customize election coverage based on the races they wanted to monitor. KDFW's Web push was part of a broader online initiative across the Fox station group. Says Managing Editor Chip Mahaney, “There is a great emphasis now on having more content on the Web than we provide on-air.”