Do you know what this is? Seriously, I’m asking because I wasn’t sure. It’s been out back behind our station for years, possibly decades, and I’ve always regarded it as a piece of equipment that serves a function yet what function that was escaped me.
It looks like a huge satellite dish and that’s what it is essentially. I asked one our veteran engineers for the scoop and here’s what he said:
It is used to bring feeds from non-PBS satellite. We have a 6.1 M antenna and a 5.5 M antenna that are the primary receiving antennas for non-PBS feeds. The “backyard” 3.7 M antenna is supplemental and has a limited view of satellite arc but it has been used in the past especially during election coverage.
So there you have it. Still slightly more tech-speak than I’m used to or capable of understanding (trust me – UNC-TV engineers are working on a completely different level than those of us who work in programming) but I get the basics. We have towers and dishes and all sorts of sending and receiving apparatus around here (after all it is a television station) so you can be certain any piece of equipment with which you are unfamiliar does indeed serve a vital purpose.
UNC-TV creates hundreds of hours of original programming a year and much of it needs to be edited into the final product you would see on your television. That equates to thousands of hours of raw footage and B roll that must be seen in order to create that final product.
Nowadays, most of the material is digital and can be viewed from an office PC, laptop or similar device. In years past, it might be on any manner of videotape that could require a special tape deck or playback machine to watch. Thus screening rooms were set up where producers, directors, talent and other personnel could view raw footage or the perhaps a final edited product.
FYI: since the advent of digital, these screening rooms are virtually unused and most have been converted into audio booths or coopted as storage space or something else entirely. What’s in this one? Can’t tell you – the door is locked.
A quick snap this week of some fridge magnets featuring old UNC-TV brands.
Just For Kids has been a part of our children’s programming since the 1990s but it will soon be phased out for our 24/7 Kids Channel brand, Rootle. And longtime viewers may recall the name North Carolina Public Television (NCPT). It’s what UNC-TV was called between the UNC Center For Public Television days and the current label.
Here’s a fantastic picture of our broadcast tower as seen from what I assume to be helicopter (possibly some other aircraft). The heights are dizzying but the view is spectacular. And, yes, that’s the UNC-TV facilities in the background.