ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— RJ Communications
oversees the technical operation of
four TV stations in the Albuquerque/Santa
Fe markets that collectively operate a total
of 13 channels.
We’ve been using Rushworks’ legacy automation
system components to assist in
this effort since 2004, and recently migrated
to their NextGen automation platform
A-LIST provided us with a lot of flexibility
and versatility in creating playlists and
managing “live” inputs and graphics. This is
without a doubt the simplest, most graphical
and intuitive drag-and-drop interface I’ve
seen in any automation system.
NEW FEATURES ABOUND
Rushworks has also included several
features and functions in their latest version
that our operations people really appreciate.
The architecture now supports
both input and output signal flow and the
onboard graphics capability lets us manage
and schedule two independent crawl layers
and a third dedicated EAS crawl layer over
live passthroughs and clip playbacks. We
can even insert our station logo between
individual lines of text in the crawls.
Another recent enhancement is support
for animated “snipes” that can be scheduled
or triggered live. They’ve also integrated
their legacy “MultiZone” capability into ALIST,
providing the “hybrid” functionality of
a broadcast server and a bulletin board system
in one chassis.
The system’s Auto-Bug feature enables
us to fade on station logos over files and
events longer than two minutes duration,
and then fades them off prior to running
spots, promos, station IDs and public service
announcements. We’ve found the Auto-Fill
feature to be very useful too, as it lets us
drag in a specified folder with clips that fill
remaining time in scheduled events, fading
the last clip before the next event begins. We
also use the global Auto-Loop feature that
automatically plays files whenever any event
has time remaining.
An important feature when you’re dealing
with a variety of programming sources
is support for multiple formats. A-LIST not
only works with traditional MPEG-2 files,
but also H.264, AVI and QuickTime formats.
We plan to upgrade our operations to
HD in the near future and A-LIST will make
this easier, as it supports real-time upconversion
of SD files.
A-LIST Automation is a very complete
system that addresses our many and varied
needs. It records scheduled “live” inputs,
and also includes a standalone event
recorder for more demanding capture and
replay requirements. In addition, the system
provides a traffic import option for
most third-party traffic and billing
systems, and generates an as-run
log used for verification and reconciliation
with traffic systems.
NO SHORTAGE OF SUPPORT
The company’s technical support
staff has always been excellent,
with immediate access via
phone and email. I’m also amazed
that the pricing of their system
isn’t higher, given all of the capabilities
it possesses and the depth
of support behind it. Even with
the greatly enhanced feature set in A-LIST,
there’s been almost no change in price.
Given the economic challenges broadcasters
face, the price-performance ratio
for A-LIST is truly a winner for a stations’
Rob Ramseyer is co-owner and director
of engineering at RJ Communications. He
may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact
Rushworks at 888-894-7874 or visit www.rushworks.tv.