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Chicago2008

How regular program overrides work

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Good evening,

During sever weather cut in's how does the TV station accomplish overriding the regular programming? Dose it take more then one person to accomplish this or is just a simple matter of knowing passwords to override? Thanks

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Good evening,

During sever weather cut in's how does the TV station accomplish overriding the regular programming? Dose it take more then one person to accomplish this or is just a simple matter of knowing passwords to override? Thanks

The answer is it depends. If it's just the meteorologist and there's no production they will call master control, which may be in-house or in a hub far far away and tell the operator/controller they would like to do a cut-in and they can switch the on-air from network or a syndicated show to a weather flash or macro with an open that runs from the playback servers then just radar full with the meteorologist's mic. If there is a production crew then same procedure as above except the control room will be hot as if they are in a newscast. At some stations whose master control is hubbed there may be a router panel in the control room upon which the director can take control of the station away from the hub. This would enable them to do a squeeze but still let breaks run full. Then when the event has concluded they can put the station back in control of the hub.

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Ok, now for a weather break in how much lead time do they give the meteorologist before going on the air?

 

The answer is... it depends. There's no book of standards that gives a set time for any of these things.

 

If its weather, people probably knew it was coming. The control room crew might be on standby and can get on air in less than 30 seconds. It could be a surprise and take 10 or 15 minutes. Every station is different and every alert is different. Some stations have rehearsed for this stuff and some have not. Some have better procedures that can get them on-air faster than others. I remember the old KAKE weather center tour video explained that the meteorologists could switch their own video and mix their own audio. That wouldn't fly in a unionized shop where union technicians are the only ones allowed to do that stuff. That would play into it too.

 

Sorry, but this is another one of those questions that doesn't really have an answer to it.

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The answer is... it depends. There's no book of standards that gives a set time for any of these things.

 

If its weather, people probably knew it was coming. The control room crew might be on standby and can get on air in less than 30 seconds. It could be a surprise and take 10 or 15 minutes.

 

Back during the Presidents Day Blizzard in 2003, which started on the day of the Daytona 500, WTTG was cutting in during every commercial break to give a quick weather synopsis. They started off with the anchor in the newsroom to briefly mention again that airports, roads, etc were shut down and when they tried to toss to Sue Palka, you heard one producer ask "where's Sue?" another producer replied back "SHE'S IN THE BATHROOM!" live and loud for everyone to hear. They quickly tossed back to the network and didn't bring it up again.

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I'm familiar with one station that is hubbed and the directors can switch from the hub feed going out to air to the control room feed with the press of one button at any time. No need to involve anyone else. From a logistics perspective, they can go on air after management alerts them to go on once talent is out in the studio and ready to go. So, usually within a few minutes.

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Ok, now for a weather break in how much lead time do they give the meteorologist before going on the air?

Depending on the automation system for on-air a matter of seconds. If news wants a fancier production then it would take longer to get everybody in place. When I worked master control, we were in-house and if the meteorologist wanted to do a cut-in without the production crew he would call master and say he wanted to do a cut-in, I would give him a five count over the phone then switch the station to the control room via a hot switch in the master control automation.

 

Each station is slightly different, but they all *should* have procedures in place to get on the air cleanly and quickly whether it's breaking weather or news. Stations whose master control are hubbed should have a switcher in their control room or elsewhere that would take control from the hub. Like I said in my previous post, when the event is over they will put control back in the hands of the hub and likely fill out some kind of interrupt form. And the hub operators are aware that stations have this capability.

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At KBEX-TV we first try to find a sober person...then we start yanking cords until we make it work.

 

We all wear rubber boots "just in case".

 

kbexmaster.jpg.d0a9df860f1377d6a44a9b73959d2f2a.jpg

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It all depends.

 

One thing stations that have gone completely automated in the control room could be on air in seconds. They could have a predetermined playlist where the lowest on the totem pole could operate. Label it something severe weather, have it set up with the Wx open, choose the correct camera for the Wx center, and the right camera for chroma, and let the meteorologist control the show only changing cameras when needed then advance to wrap it up.

 

That’s one advantage stations using APC have over the ones with seperate switcher, CG, video play out and audio. But I imagine some of the stations that haven’t switched are union and there’s probably a rule about having one or two on staff at all hours.

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