By Bill Jennings, Chris Gentry, and Colleen Richardson
BCTV is a local community television station in Bedford, New Hampshire, a city with approximately 23,000 residents. We have three broadcast channels: a public channel, a government channel and an education/school district channel. In addition to our broadcast responsibilities, we also stream live video on our station’s web site and operate the town’s radio station, WBNH-LP 105.1FM, which is located at BCTV.
We have several existing hardwired live drops that feed back to our station’s headend. The demand for live programming has grown steadily over the last few years—live sports coverage is extremely popular. Finding ways to capitalize on this popularity required us to look at how we could manage live broadcasts from away games as well as ones played at home.
Additionally, we’ve had other broadcast requests come up when our live drop venues were unavailable for live coverage. Because of the urgency of the subject matter, there wasn’t the flexibility to reschedule to another live drop location. This restricted us to recording the events for later rebroadcast, which was a disappointment not only for us but for town officials and residents who hoped the event could be broadcast live.
So the demand for more live programming was clear. We needed live broadcast capability that would work from anywhere, at any time, without excessive manpower and location limitations, at a reasonable cost.
While investigating solutions, we tried LiveShot through the Comrex loaner program. Even though we had the unit for just two weeks, it quickly became an integral part of our kit. Our LiveShot loaner saved us several times—most notably, it helped us broadcast one of the biggest football games that ever took place in Bedford. It was a semifinal game against our team’s archrival. We had used our hard line in the past to broadcast games from the press box, but when we tried to turn it on that night, everything went dead. We had no internet, our fiber was cut, and we didn’t know what to do.
We decided to try using LiveShot over the school Wi-Fi network. It was a good thing we found a solution because the game turned out to be an overtime win for Bedford. People were watching not only in Bedford, on their TVs and/or mobile devices, but all over the country through our web site streaming services. If we hadn’t had LiveShot, we wouldn’t have been able to broadcast the game at all. Instead of turning into a big embarrassment, we had viewers asking if we were using HD because the quality was so high.
We purchased our own LiveShot in March of this year. Our station’s popularity continues to grow with every live broadcast. Recent LiveShot broadcasts have included high school graduation ceremonies and softball and baseball state tournament games. We were even able to cover the total solar eclipse in August. We find ourselves choosing LiveShot over our hardline drops regularly simply because the quality is so much higher.
If a product can get us the shots we need, it helps us stay in business and succeed in a competitive market. Comrex LiveShot has taken us to a whole new level of video production and distribution.
At BCTV-WBNH, Bill Jennings is station manager, Coleen Richardson is assistant manager and Chris Gentry is broadcast production coordinator.