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Indiana PBS Stations Lay Groundwork for Joint Master Control Operations

As federal grant programs dwindle and private contributions remain challenging to acquire, public television (PTV) stations have had to find resourceful ways to cope with escalating operating costs.

One of the biggest financial drains they experience stems from acquiring, upgrading, and maintaining all of the capital equipment required for their broadcast master control operations.

Rather than struggle to equip master control rooms at their respective facilities, some PTV stations have banded together to share a single, centralized Joint Master Control Operations (JMCO) center.

One notable JMCO installation is CentralCast LLC, which established a JMCO in Syracuse, N.Y. that serves nine regional PBS stations in the New York/New Jersey area. Another JMCO project that’s been in the news is the Florida Digital Convergence Alliance (DCA), led by WJCT, a PBS station in Jacksonville, Fla. The DCA already has six public TV (PTV) stations in the Southeastern U.S. on board, with expectations that additional PTV stations will join the venture.

Now Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations (IPBS) are also considering a joint broadcast master control operation for several of its IPBS member TV stations and other interested TV colleagues.   

With the July–August 2013 installation of a new Harris Broadcast HD/SD Interconnection/I-Light IP multicast network, IPBS can now share HDTV and radio shows with each other in real-time. With some expansion and additional equipment, this platform also lays the groundwork for a JMCO center, which is part of IPBS’ future roadmap.

“I think all PBS and NPR stations are looking for efficiencies anywhere they can find them to reduce legacy equipment costs,” said Roger Rhodes, Executive Director of Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. “By reducing capital and operating costs through a JMCO, our IPBS stations will plow those savings back into our primary mission, producing high-quality content that can hyper-serve and enrich our local communities.”

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