Kentucky Stations Collaborate for Statewide Newscasts

Feb 4, 2015

Kentucky Public Radio Network Coverage Map

Near-live mid-day newscasts are fed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Louisville Public Media and air on four of the five member-stations that make up the Kentucky Public Radio Network.

Todd Mundt (LPM) has led the workflow changes for his newscast unit.

“Until we have an interconnect for live transmission, we are producing and recording the newscasts each hour around 20-30 minutes before broadcast," said Mundt.  “The Master Control system automatically grabs the two-minute audio file and forwards it to FTP servers, making it available to WKYU, WEKU and WKMS several minutes before broadcast.”

Each station can originate the newscasts as a backup to LPM, additionally any station can opt out of a newscast in a breaking news situation. 

John Hingsbergen (WEKU) led the engineering group to troubleshoot technical issues.

“While, as with any newscast, our goal was to provide a statewide “live” service, the engineers quickly realized that doing such would have unforeseen complications,” said Hingsbergen.

The newscasts contain a mix of stories from participating stations. KPRN is using PRX Networks for its sharing platform. The group also uses a shared daily news budget through Google Docs to avoid duplication across the state.

KPRN has existed for more than a decade for content sharing and to provide a funding pool to employ a reporter to cover the Kentucky Legislature. Chad Lampe (WKMS) has been part of KPRN for 8 years.

“Sharing had dipped in recent years,” said Lampe. “Now, every station wants to hear their content in these newscasts, so content sharing is growing again.” 

The collaborative coverage comes from a number of meetings organized with consulting firm Public Media Company through a Collaborative Operations and Services Grant from the CPB.

David Brinkley, KPRN Chairman (WKYU), said the purpose of the grant was to explore solutions to help the stations better serve their communities in an evolving media landscape.

“This is a tremendous benefit of service that will ultimately reward all in our coverage areas with more timely, useful and relevant news,” said Brinkley.  “All of the general managers involved in this project applaud the local news directors, reporters, programmers, engineers and traffic managers who have contributed to the evolution of news and content distribution in our areas.”

Through its combined efforts and signals KPRN reaches a diverse and growing population of 6.8 million.