Chicago public television station WTTW, along with lead station WJCT in Jacksonville, FL and eight other public TV stations, have formed the Digital Convergence Alliance (DCA), a joint venture to combine broadcast master control operations. The venture’s overarching purpose is to provide stations with a reliable, long-term broadcast traffic and control operation and meaningful cost savings. WTTW management has been actively involved in the joint master control design to be sure it meets current and future broadcast operational needs.
The initial construction of a joint, secure master control center will be funded by a $7 million grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). The CPB, a private, nonprofit corporation, promotes the growth and development of public media and is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting.
WTTW plans to redeploy all savings into expanded content creation. The station’s current Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Digital Broadcast Operations Center will be utilized for transferring WTTW local content and other programming to the DCA, and to take local control during special live broadcasts.
Dan Schmidt, WTTW’s President and CEO, said, “We’ve been aware of combined master control operations around the country for some time. The DCA provided the best technical solution and most cost effective operation.”
As a founding member, WTTW will benefit from future cost efficiencies and be involved in venture management. “WTTW has a long history of quality content creation,” said Schmidt, “and combining our master control operation frees up resources to create more.” All savings and resources previously devoted to broadcast operations will be redeployed, and no jobs will be eliminated because of this venture.
The DCA joint master control is scheduled to become operational in the spring of 2013.