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Time Is Money

Given all the advances in TV technology, it's surprising the concept of joining a program in progress hasn't become passé. When a sporting or other event runs long, viewers either miss part of the next program or have to tune in at odd times to catch it all.

More critical than confused viewers, though, are the lost ad revenues. Stations typically "roll under" the next program, so that, when the live event ends, audiences are switched quickly to the program in progress. Problem is, advertising spots are rolled under as well.

Florical Systems has a solution: Auto JIP, or Automated Join In Progress. An option for the company's AirBoss automation system, it lets operators hit one button and create a commercial break following the end of the live event.

"It allows the operator to look at the run-list screen and see the items that won't be aired in real time," says Florical President and CEO Jim Moneyhun. The system allows the operator to move a commercial down the run list, deleting PSAs or promotions.

Florical is also introducing a product that addresses the flip side of the joining-in-progress problem: handling breaking news. It enables stations to create a template for handling breaking-news items, with preprogrammed opens, closes, bumpers, and more. "It allows breaking-news inserts to be done without having a production team there," says Moneyhun.

In the area of media transport, Florical is introducing MediaTrans Plus, a system that uses MPEG-4 compression to send content between locations over T1 lines. A 1.5-Mbps T1 line, Moneyhun says, can transmit standups with studio-quality video. Bonding two lines together gives enough bandwidth for sports productions.

"The cost of interconnectivity," he adds, "has slowed down the move to highly efficient operations." MediaTrans, he believes, will enable centralized station groups to connect more cost-effectively with each other and with the central hub.