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Morning news show anchor Kyle Bosch rehearses prior to the launch of KSPR's high-definition newscast. The HD camera in the studio, along with graphics, are fully automated, operated remotely by a single director.
Morning news show anchor Kyle Bosch rehearses prior to the launch of KSPR's high-definition newscast. The HD camera in the studio, along with graphics, are fully automated, operated remotely by a single director.

KSPR debuts new set, high-definition newscast

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Viewers who were watching KSPR-TV's 10 p.m. newscast on Nov. 1 saw something brand new to the Springfield viewing area. That night was the first that the station broadcast the news from its new headquarters at 999 W. Sunshine St. And it was the first night TV viewers in the Ozarks watched a local newscast in high-definition.

In June, TV stations nationwide transitioned from analog to digital signals. It has only been in the past few weeks, however, that KSPR crews started gathering HD video throughout southwest Missouri.

"Because we have the first high-def cameras in the market, we're really using this as a chance to show viewers the Ozarks in a way they've never seen it before," KSPR News Director Brad Belote said. KSPR is a media partner with Springfield Business Journal.

The transition to HD, he said, required new studio and field cameras, as well as editing systems.

Because KSPR was moving its location to share a building with managing station KY3, it was an ideal time to upgrade all equipment to HD, said Mike Scott, KY3 Inc.'s vice president and general manager.

"We (were) kind of limping to the finish on St. Louis Street," Belote said. "We've had a couple different pieces of equipment that have held on until the end and have finally decided to give it up."

Construction costs for the wing that houses KSPR's studio and newsroom were $4.7 million, according to previous SBJ reports. Scott said that amount does not include the cost of the new equipment or the set design, but he declined to disclose those costs.

Market watch

Mark Gordon, who is vice president and general manager at KSFX and provides services to KOLR10, said it's understandable that KSPR made the switch at the same time it moved to a new studio.

KOLR10 and KSFX, he said, are running network and sports programming in HD, but equipment for newscasts is only added as needed.

"At the end of the day, viewers are going to watch the programming they like the most, and if it's HD programming, that's great," Gordon said, noting that recently added equipment shared by both stations is capable of running HD. "And if it's not, some people will still say, 'I sure wish it was,' but they're not going to stop watching because it's not in HD."

He said KOLR10 and KSFX are probably between one and two years away from airing newscasts in HD.

Scott said KY3 also has been on a multiyear transition plan to switch over. The studio cameras have been HD-ready for several years, he said, adding that KY3 would be airing HD newscasts within 60 days.

The hope, for KSPR at least, is that ratings will see a boost from its HD newscasts. It's one of the reasons the station decided to launch its new look on Nov. 1, Scottsaid, because it's at the start of a sweeps month.

"Most of the research will suggest that people will choose HD over non-HD programming when they have a choice. Certainly, in the area of news, you still have to have a quality product," Scott said.

Behind the scenes

KSPR's equipment upgrades minimizethe number of production staff members needed to put the newscast on air. What was once a five-person job now only requires one person. Cameras are robotically operated, audio levels and graphics are computer-controlled, and a director oversees it all, Belote said, noting that production employees were reallocated to understaffed areas at the station.

Even though KSPR and KY3 share a building, there are no plans to share studios or newsrooms, Belote said. In the future, both stations may find working together can be more efficient, he said, in areas such as gathering election results and local sports scores.

The two stations will be sharing Belote's expertise. A search for a new KSPR news director is under way, and, when hired, Belote will become the director of digital content for KY3 Inc. He'll oversee company Web sites and anything that doesn't involve a broadcast signal, he said.[[In-content Ad]]


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