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Winsted Helps KENW Make the Digital Transition

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Winsted Helps KENW Make the Digital Transition
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Winsted Helps KENW Make the Digital Transition
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As the 2009 deadline for the digital transition looms, PBS networks nationwide are leading the way to the future of digital television (DTV). Broadcast centers such as PBS affiliate KENW in Portales, New Mexico are preparing for the transition by incorporating digital technology throughout their facilities. KENW recently built a new Broadcast Center including new studios, new digital transmitters and a completely redesigned master control room. The station enlisted Winsted Corporation to help design a complete upgrade of the station’s master control room. Winsted’s ergonomically designed workstations were the ideal solution to take KENW’s master control room on the campus of Eastern New Mexico University from an analog beast to a state-of-the-art digital beauty. When considering workstations for the new control room, KENW visited Winsted’s NAB booth at the advice of another vendor involved in the upgrade project. “The station was looking for a new concept, a new design for the control rooms. While visiting Winsted’s booth we saw a design that seemed to fit pretty closely with what we wanted,” said Jeffrey Burmeister, KENW’s director of engineering. By using Winsted’s free equipment layout software, WELS, Burmeister and his team were able to work with Winsted’s standard product line to define the essential elements of the workstation. Winsted’s Slim-Line consoles seemed to fit their basic requirements. Then, over a period of several months, KENW worked closely with Winsted engineers to refine the design, creating a customized solution that really worked well for their needs. The new master control room includes four workstations setup in a semi-arc and, according to Burmeister, has the look of a glass cockpit. Each workstation has three 19-inch Viewsonic monitors mounted on it and the entire setup faces a custom monitor wall with four large LCD displays and 8 smaller LCD displays. “This is an entirely brand new facility. You can compare it to the old facility, but that was just racks and work surfaces. It didn’t look anything like this at all,” said Burmeister. From the new master control room the staff of KENW is able to ingest programs from other networks, such as PBS, and record them to a server for use later. Then, the traffic and program departments determine when they will air. Next, the operators are able to time and trim the programs for the station's automation system. One workstation includes the master control switchers, which allows the operators to play the programs on the scheduled day and time. Another workstation allows the staff to monitor and control the operation of the broadcast transmitters remotely. In addition to providing public television programming for most of Eastern New Mexico and parts of West Texas, the KENW Broadcast Center provides telecollege courses and instructional programming for local primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities. They also serve as a training center for the university’s telecommunications students With help from Winsted, the new facility has become a showpiece for KENW. Cutting edge digital technology allows the station to provide high-definition programming and monitor every aspect of day-to-day operations from an extremely functional and attractive master control room.

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