CHTV, WHJE jumpstart preparation for digital age

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By: Tommy Sneider <tsneider@hilite.org>

Entering the classroom, it appears like a walk into the past. Cameras with books on them point towards the set for the anchors that day. Currently, both the television and radio programs here, CHTV and WHJE, are undergoing changes both in their equipment and in the way they broadcast.

Some of this change has been dictated by technology. “This is a shift towards high definition television, instead of still being in the analog world,” CHTV teacher Hal Espey said. According to an article from CNNMoney.com, all televisions receiving analog broadcasts around the country will turn black because of the switch from analog to digital broadcasting on February 18, 2009.

Espey said that a little over $1 million was budgeted for the renovations, which include new cameras and other equipment for CHTV and WHJE. Although it appears to be a lot of money, the equipment is overall expensive, according to Espey.

Kyle Borcherding, CHTV staff member and junior, said that he is looking forward to seeing all the changes that are made. “The computers are going to have digital editing software, which will make editing a lot easier than it is right now,” Borcherding said.

Over the past few years, renovations to the broadcast area have mostly been toward the physical structure. “We’ve never actually had a renovation where we have updated all the equipment,” Espey said. “Some of the pieces are from the 1970s and ‘80s, while some are recently updated. Some of the equipment isn’t sophisticated enough for modern television standards,” he said. Other additions include buying new tripods, cameras, teleprompters, and portable equipment for the sports coverage.

The other part of the money is used for renovating the WHJE radio equipment and rooms. Andrew Chernoff, CHTV and WHJE staff member and senior said, “There are going to be many more production booths, which means there is going to be more space to work. Right now, the plan is to have the broadcast booth move to the front of the senior hallway and the pathway to the freshman center. That way, people can see into the booth and see what the DJs are doing,”

“The most exciting thing will be the whole output that goes over the air on (CHTV),” Chernoff said. “Name another school that will have equipment like (high definition) cameras. There are none.”

The new high definition cameras will allow CHTV students to use equipment that will produce high quality pictures and help keep step with the rest of the country as it moves to a digital delivery system. For example, next year the coverage of the baseball and softball will be different. “Sports are a big thing that we do, so they’ll be affected by the upgrade,” Espey said.

Even though the change to digital broadcasting does not occur until a little over a year from now, CHTV and WHJE are getting a jump-start to prepare for this change. Chernoff said, “I think (the renovation) is definitely going to help make things run more smoothly. The cameras are going to be sweet and the new high-tech equipment and renovations are going to make CHTV and WHJE seem like more professional stations.”

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