Archive for the Operations Category

SBE – Interactive Radio

Posted in Engineering, Events, Internet, Management, Operations, Solutions on October 15, 2010 by James Rowe

It’s fall and it’s time for the national meeting of The Society of Broadcast Engineers.  The 2010 SBE National Meeting is in Madison, Wisconsin this year and in a location where you can really focus on interesting subjects on the SBE agenda.  They’re gathering at the Madison Marriott West in Middleton on October 26th.  The meeting is in an area with some good restaurants and easy access to the highway for adventurous souls who will need to experience the capitol city.  I am quite familiar with Madison and the Marriott West.

SBE is calling this year’s meeting the “Broadcasters Clinic.”  I’m particularly interested in the very first session October 26th, Tuesday, 9:15 AM CDT, on Push Radio.

“PUSH Radio is a term that we’ve coin[ed] to describe[s] the advances in technology that we have experienced over the past several years and how they push the boundaries of the traditional time based studio to transmitter radio content delivery concept and permit a more flexible, free form methodology for content delivery – it could be used to empower listener interactivity, link to web content, decentralize the studio and put more employees out in the street interacting with the listeners, among other things.”

They’re discussing administration and the audience, not to mention interactivity and getting out among listeners.  I think it’s a really good way to begin the national meeting.

Register for the meeting at the SBE website. Rooms at the Marriott may be taken by now but there are other hotels nearby and IMHO you will need a car to get about the area and the city.

While I’m expressing my delight with the SBE let me mention their Broadcaster’s Clinic page is social.  There are Facebook and Twitter buttons at the bottom of the page with the call to “Get Social with the WBA,” the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.

Spread the word. Get social. Get interactive.

Let me add if you’re planning to attend the first meeting of the SBE 2010 convention you will be interested in the new service launched by Rowe and Company.  This link will take you to the website with information on curaYtor Production.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC


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Law and Order for Social Media

Posted in Internet, new media, Operations, Solutions on August 30, 2010 by James Rowe

Social media audiences are growing and aging reports the Pew Research Center’s Pew Internet project. The law and order crowd is growing at double the rate of older users involved with online social networks last year. The attention given social media in traditional media in the past year grew as much from my observation. So, do you know who the audience is? It’s a significant question given the latest research and fresh changes.

A previous post on Broadcast Newsroom Computing announced free one day online meetings for social media planning to explore methods to control images, brands and digital lives. The slide presentation from the webinars evolves into an eBook – “Secrets of Social Media Planning.” The new eBook is posted online. The eBook “Secrets of Social Media Planning” is the companion to the whitepaper “Social Media Simplified” and the video short “Social Media Thinking.” All are posted online.

Here’s the video:

The eBook, whitepaper and brief video are recommended to media organizations searching for simple rules to planning and governing use of social networks and new media technologies. Often myriad new technologies frustrate planners. The free eBook and companion paper bring some order to the development process.

The eBook is an easy, informative and entertaining read. The whitepaper is straight forward with some different sources. The video short is simply a nice respite.

Be social and share the eBook, whitepaper and video with family, friends and associates. Get everyone thinking about professional and beneficial uses of social media. Let’s use the new tools to improve everyone’s life.

In a fun style the eBook promotes simple rules for law and order among vast online social networks and overwhelming number of new media technologies. Mobile telephones and entertainment devices connect users to the Internet and family, friends and associates more immediately and persistently than ever. The always connected nature is changing all forms of media. Click here to answer our Polldaddy question – do you know who your audience?  You can always comment here, too.

Online social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn alter ways friends and family interact. So perhaps a few simple laws are in order to keep everything civil and to make best use of new technologies and new ways people communicate.


James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

Live Video Production for Less

Posted in Economy, Engineering, NAB, Operations, Products, Solutions on March 22, 2010 by James Rowe

The annual bash for television and radio executives in the United States is just a few weeks away. Every year broadcasters from around the world flock to Las Vegas, Nevada in the tens of thousands to learn of innovations in technology and services.

There is one booth expected on the huge exhibit floor at the National Association of Broadcasters convention producers of live video for multiple platforms, television and the web, should visit. This post only suggests products to consider.

The competition for advances in media technology has increased especially as the economy has worsened. Major American broadcasters are still laying off workers and restructuring like KCBS in Los Angeles. ABC News is laying off journalists and closing bureaus this year so economic issues persist.

Broadcast Pix makes live video integration technology. Broadcast Pix is obviously targeting broadcasters. However, traditional media purveyors make up a very small portion of their market share according to inside sources. This is the decade of multi-platform and broadcasters require solutions to fit limited budgets. BP recognizes the new order of media production in my opinion.

I respect the view of WRAL-TV chief engineer Pete Sockett. Broadcast Pix quotes him in their marketing material. “… compared to building legacy HD control rooms, the Slate 5000 HD (BP top of line controller) reduces equipment costs by as much as $100,000 per studio because it integrates so many production elements into a single unit.” Sockett refers to a solution that reduces the requirement for control room operators to one.

Broadcast Pix underscores the value of cost savings with its solutions for live video production. BP has wrapped a number of control room tools into a single controller. The products make live video presentation more cost efficient whether for television or the web or closed circuit. The Massachusetts’ based manufacturer claims a 70 % reduction in control room costs with their products.

Broadcast Newsroom Computing next examines innovator in media technology.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

United States Elections are News Projects

Posted in Journalism, Management, News Production, Operations, Project Management, television on February 26, 2010 by James Rowe

Media coverage of the US electoral process must evolve. For decades news operations searched for elections reporting technology to gain competitive edge and handle irregular tasks. The perfect election software or system has yet to be developed. Many United States newsrooms use LeaderPlus or vizrt. I’m agnostic regarding the leading systems. The cost disparity, as well as functionality, between the two is huge. There are freelance professionals who configure and manage the systems. Usually those professionals are skilled in technology. Civics is rarely part of their repertoire.

I’m a certified LeaderPlus systems administrator and knowledgeable about vizrt. In my opinion LeaderPlus excels at wires ingest however vizrt graphics really pop. Every operation has issues with the Associated Press wire service and Secretaries of State offices; two main sources of election results in the US.

This is a mid-term election year in the States. There are primaries, and in some states even special primaries, before the November 2nd Election Day. The California Secretary of State provides dates for the Golden State and so does South Carolina for The Palmetto State. Such is the case with each state. November’s date is a legislative election and Project Vote Smart offers information on candidates same as CQ-Roll Call Group. It is the Secretaries of State offices that are true election repositories.

Election Projection displays the year’s important electoral dates on a calendar. The calendar is important. News departments ideally begin working with elections coverage technology six months prior to Election Day. Few comply with vendor’s requests for a comfortable process. Many already fell behind readying for primary coverage.

Newsrooms usually handle the civics side and engineering and operations the technical setup. The two departments must work in concert to win on election night. Keeping editorial and technical workers on a timeline for smooth election night reporting is project management. Each election season has a beginning and end –the day after the election – so elections coverage agrees with the definition of project. Project management for elections coverage is evolution required for success in my opinion.

Broadcast Newsroom Computing gazes into the ABC News crystal ball to glimpse the future of television news.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

Is WiMAX Good Enough for Broadcasters?

Posted in IT, News Production, Operations, television on November 28, 2009 by James Rowe

Sprint Nextel promises “a secure wireless channel” with broadband communication first quarter of next year.  WiMAX is here and Wayne Ward, vice president of Sprint’s emerging solutions unit, said the wireless provider is testing a technology to deliver the quality of service broadcasters require.  Ward described a secure transmission over a wireless and public network.

Where would the WiMAX standard with secure channels place microwave and satellite transmission of live video from the field?  Wireless technology remains far behind the quality microwave or satellites provide. TVNewsCheck reports Fred Fourcher, chief executive of Bitcentral described the capacity of wireless broadband transmission as “a constant juggling between how much time you have and how much quality you can submit."  Speed and quality of transmission of standard and high definition video is still best handled by microwave and satellite.

When expense and acceptance of lesser classes of transmission enter the decision process WiMAX would become a feasible method to send video from the field for broadcast news operations.  TVNewsCheck applauds KIFI TV in Idaho Falls, Idaho as pioneering WiMAX in television news coverage by using the technology along with two microwave trucks. 

In the same article Streambox project manager Benjamin Larson said “a dedicated line is essential for suitable transmission” with WiMAX.  Streambox provides compression technology for KIFI.  More is required to compete with microwave and satellite.  Broadcasters demand a quality of service beyond the value cell phone users accept from high speed broadband. 

News production uses a number of technologies to deliver video and audio to an audience.  Some methods are best and some are just good enough.  The transmission path chosen depends on immediate advantages specific technology offers in speed and cost compared to quality.  Cost, timeliness and quality make WiMAX Sprint is expected to deliver in the next four months one the three best choices to be weighed in transmission decisions.

Next week Broadcast Newsroom Computing offers SMART goals as a success factor in getting the job done.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

Staying in Synchronization

Posted in Internet, IT, Management, Operations, Solutions on June 17, 2009 by James Rowe

These are the days of cloud computing and file sharing across firewalls without security violation.  Many news professionals have calendars they wish to track as their own and securely within their chosen group or organization.  Across enterprises or organizations was once too lacking in security however assurance of safeguard has improved.

Broadcast Newsroom Computing examines low level collaboration across secure boundaries.  There are more powerful solutions with a price tag to boot.  Two major players in professional collaboration across geographic and technological borders are Microsoft and Google.  Microsoft’s Outlook email and calendar application is standard and deep-rooted professionally.  Google has applications to link its public and private calendars to Outlook and even an enterprise version of Google Apps for a fee.

Google makes a direct appeal to replace Microsoft Exchange promising a seamless user experience in the transition to Google’s cloud computing environment while keeping the Outlook client.  Microsoft Office Live, MS cloud computing, is still in beta.  Live appears to be Microsoft’s competitive response to Google.  Compare the two services and decide which is better.  Today Google leads.  BNC is unable to gather Microsoft information beyond what is in being tested but works like released applications.

Google offers a free app for synchronization of Google calendars and Outlook.   The Premier version of Google Apps is their business solution with fee.

Mere calendar synchronization among individual calendars across machines is acquired with minimal expense through tools like SyncMyCal and  Mozilla’s Sunbird Calendar is free and works quite well with Google Calendars and others.

The ability to view someone else’s public or secure calendar to see if it matches your own is easy, as you have read.  You can publish project schedules, assignment calendars and futures calendars as well for public and private sharing.  Consider how uses of these applications and cloud computing might reduce costs of collaboration in the newsroom.

Next post Broadcast Newsroom Computing touts parent Rowe and Company, LLC  and its new vendor agreement with The Walt Disney Company and ABC Television.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC

Television Sets Reign

Posted in Management, Operations, television on May 28, 2009 by James Rowe

In the United States, viewers sit in front of huge television screens and enjoy movies, news and other forms of entertainment including games.  Nielsen Online quantifies viewing habits of Americans and the rest of the world.  The research firm measures quarterly viewing on television sets, personal computer monitors, and mobile phones.

Nielsen’s latest report is available online.   The quick read is at the end in “key facts” and “trends to watch.”   First bullet point on the page reads “Almost 99% of the video watched in the U.S. is still done on television.”  Almost three whole five-day work weeks  are spent each month watching television sets.  It makes Hulu advertisements about sucking brains empty seem like news reports from the future.

Watch for what Nielsen refers to as “time shifting usage.”   Digital video recorders and their usage grew 40-percent last year.  Online viewing, using the PC monitor, is expected to increase with broadband upgrades and consumer hardware upgrades.

Come screen three, mobile phone viewing, according to the latest Nielsen Online report, grew by 13-million people or 52-per cent over last year.  And teenagers are the avid viewers of video on mobile devices.

Get a good sense of how consumers handle the three screens of delivery, currently on the market, reading  Alan Weinkrantz’s blog post at  Haggling comes to America – Weinkrantz writes "Having made several calls over the last week, I did manage to negotiate the following….”  He haggled with Time Warner and at&t about the cost of each screen and the offerings on each.

While Nielsen Online affirms the television set is where many consume video in the United States other forms of viewing are growing.  The strategies adopted early by the likes of at&t and Time Warner portend the market and preparation to meet its needs.

Broadcast Newsroom Computing tomorrow suspends for a while Friday’s Memo.  Times are changing and priorities shifting so catch the latest announcements tomorrow.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC