KCSM Moves to Mainstream with Avid Automation

Moving from the PBS network to a mainstream broadcast model, KCSM needed robust, fault-tolerant automation technology that would enhance the productivity and flexibility of station operations. Finding what it needed in the Avid Titan automation solution, the station used it to anchor a complete redo of the facility and master control room.

Comments Chris Phillips, KCSM Director of Engineering, “Our search for an automation system demanded a time-tested product, supported by a manufacturer with excellent customer service. Combined with a well respected core application and an efficient ability to move assets between server and archive, our Avid Titan system has streamlined our workflow to the point of allowing us to re-task some of our master control engineers to other needed technical areas within KCSM.”

Betting on the Best

Operating in the fifth largest U.S. TV and radio market and broadcasting 24 hours a day to San Mateo and the surrounding area, KCSM had long been affiliated with the PBS network. When the time came to move to a mainstream format, the station began evaluating a full range of broadcast automation solutions, including those offered by Crispin, Probel, Harris Automation and MicroFirst.

Fortunately, KCSM had the flexibility and resources to bet on the best, so they decided on Avid Titan primarily because of its reputation in a number of key areas, including its reliability and ability to enhance productivity. Also of primary importance was the openness and interoperability necessary to work with with KCSM’s Omneon video servers. A major Omneon user for over a half dozen years, the station knew that having the two systems work seamlessly together was going to be key to maintain control of high channel count systems and manage virtually unlimited numbers of playlists.

Taking Control

These expectations were met and exceeded as the Avid Titan system enabled KCSM to streamline master control operations by automating the movement of files between their Omneon video server system and MediaGrid archive without a middleware solution to facilitate the transfers. In fact, this process brought about such a quantum leap in efficiency that it enabled KCSM operators to reduce its staff of eight traffic and broadcast specialists to five.

It was this ability to maximize operational efficiency that ultimately sold KCSM on the Avid solution. Now, KCSM has 3-4 channels as well as the ability to move files from server to archive, enabling the station to save innumerable operator hours.

Early Move-in Housekeeping

Early in the implementation of the new Avid system, there was a built in amount of move-in housekeeping required, including a plethora of tapes to be ingested and archived. But in a very short amount of time, KCSM was able to get the workflow down and clearly show that Avid Titan was more than capable of living up to its reputation for consistency and dependability, all the way to its core List Processor. As Chris Phillips, KCSM Director of Engineering, says with calm assurance, “it just runs.”

Currently, the Titan system at KCSM includes List Processors and ListSync™ for four channels, two Media Preps, two SIDON® workstations, two Air Control Workstations, one BXF Gateway and one Intelli-Sat™ workstation, Automation Archive Manager and a SQL server. These applications have given KCSM the confidence to know that it can move into the mainstream market with the combination of performance and reliability necessary to thrive and grow.

Just What KCSM was Looking For

Not only has the Avid Titan delivered the set of capabilities KSCM needs today, but it has come with built-in future proofing. For instance, as the SMPTE Broadcast Exchange Format (BXF) develops further, Avid is well-positioned to get the best response from the BXF standard. It’s just what KCSM was looking for. 

Solid Supply of Customer Support

As with any long-term, enterprise-wide technology investment, service and support were key factors in the success of the solution’s installation and implementation. KCSM has been extremely pleased that Avid support has surpassed its expectations in that area.

From the beginning, the Avid support team provided complete back-up and support of the advanced installation process as well as follow-on servicing. Even past the warranty period, Avid service and support teams made sure the station got everything it needed to meet and exceed their requirements.

Comments Chris, “It has certainly helped to have a built-in relationship with Avid sales, customer service, and development teams. We’ve had a great deal of success, based on a good solid supply of customer support.”