Broadcasters thinking of building an entirely new operation will want to take a look at what NBC Owned Television Stations has constructed near the Dallas-Fort Worth airport for the group’s KXAS NBC 5 and KXTX Telemundo 39 stations serving the North Texas markets.
The project highlights the growing importance of IP and file-based work#ows inside broadcast facilities. It also illustrates how station owners are looking to make their operations as flexible as possible so they can quickly adapt to changing tech and market conditions.
Prior to the rebuild, the stations had studios in Fort Worth, with some news operations and most of the sales team located 30 miles away in Dallas. “Our infrastructure needed to be updated, and when we did the business case, we found that we could spend the same amount of money to get a new facility that would far exceed what we could do before,” says Matt Varney, NBC 5 and Telemundo 39 VP of technology.
The 75,000 square-foot building, which will make Telemundo fully hi-def, has three new HD production control rooms, four new studios and a 4,000 square-foot data center. When it goes live later this month, it will handle six program streams—NBC 5, Cozi TV, Telemundo 39, Exitos and Mobile DTV feeds for both stations. The facility will also house about a dozen NBCUniversal businesses, including an NBC News bureau and the station group’s Art Works centralized graphics hub.
On the Shoulders of Giants
The facility is located at 4805 Amon Carter Boulevard in Fort Worth—notable because Amon Carter founded the first television station in Texas, WBAP-TV Channel 5, in 1948. But if the building’s architectural style makes nods to the 1950s and ’60s, the guts of the facility has been designed to handle the rapid technological change facing broadcast stations, with an open floor plan and interior walls that can be moved as needs change.
“The old building was built for the way TV was done 60 years ago, but the new one is designed to give us the flexibility to accommodate entirely new functions 10 years from now,” Varney says.
During the four years it took to conceive and design the facility, the same attitude carried over into the NBC stations group’s selections of technology and vendors. Working with systems integrator TI Broadcast Solutions Group, Varney’s team began by focusing on improving their workflows.
“We started by talking to people about how they wanted to use the studio or the technology,” Varney says. “We really focused on creating an ideal system for what we wanted to do before we started looking at best-of-breed technologies to meet those requirements.”
At the center of that e$ort was their decision to deploy Grass Valley’s Stratus to handle the flow of content through the system. “It is not only a news production system, but an overarching media asset management system that will be the central housing point for all the content in the building,” Varney says. “It will facilitate a much quicker speed to air and knock down a lot of workflow barriers that have popped up in the last 10 years.”
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