JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -You’re probably wondering what is going on at WLBT after watching our newscasts Wednesday.
We are having a “pardon our progress” moment and we’re confident you’ll be pleased with the multi-million dollar changes.
You can see the construction underway right now in the WLBT news room. It’s new and it’s state of the art.
Ted Fortenberry, WLBT General Manager said, “We’re investing about 1.2, 1.3 million dollars in a new control room. We’re putting new lights in the studio; we’re upgrading our cameras, it’s an investment in the communities we serve and also in the quality of our newscast and journalism.”
Our new home for newscasts is just above the traditional studio, but don’t be alarmed. It’s not for long. As a matter of fact, it’ll be just a little over a week and here’s why.
“As part of the, just the ongoing evolution of the television industry, many of the companies now have automated cameras and that’s what we’re going to, so our studio right now, we have four cameras in the studio. We’re going to go to 10 cameras in our studio. They’ll all be automated, so anything that they do with panning, tilting, zooming, will all be done by remote control and then those operators that were running the cameras will take on other responsibilities.” said Fortenberry.
He continued. “Yes, so this room, we call it the TMP control room which is a...it’s kind of a new way of doing business that Gray Television, our parent company, is rolling out across the company and it includes our master control operation which used to be a separate operation from our production control. Production control, production control handles producing newscasts and anything to do with live production. Master control is where all the commercials are played; where all the programming is played, where our NBC programming goes through master control. Now, it’s all going to be all-in-one facility, so we’ll produce our newscasts there and also have our master control in one operation.”
That’s not all. Gray Television is also investing more than a million dollars in a brand new, state of the art transmitter; already online and operating.
Jerry Kirk, WLBT Chief Engineer said, “Got rid of our old IOT tubes which was very flakey when it came to thunder storms and lightening, with the solid state, we’re almost guaranteed to be on the air through thunder, lightening and everything else.”
Why do all this? It's all about you, the viewer and the communities we serve.
Ted Fortenberry said, “The quality of our product will improve, so, when you see our shows, one our sets are going to look better with new lights, over a hundred thousand dollars just in the lighting and then the quality of the cameras and the look will be a lot better, so the community will benefit of having a state of the art program that they can watch and they can be proud of as you would see in a major market, even like a New York or L.A. or somewhere else.”
“You know, Gray Television bought Raycom which is the company that owned WLBT before and they took over January the second. They have invested in less than six months, over a million dollars in what we’re getting ready to do here, so it’s pretty exciting not only for the station, for the communities we serve and the city of Jackson. We’re located in downtown Jackson so it’s an investment in our capital city as well.” said Fortenberry.
Now, all of this is expected to be completed by the end of summer. And get this! We’re already getting calls from you about how much better your reception is since our new transmitter went online.
I asked chief engineer Jerry Kirk how it would impact people who still use rabbit ears, he said the new transmitter will be clearer reception and more reliable.
We’re here to serve you.