WGTD-FM Dives Into Local Sports With JVC Cameras, ProHD Studio 4000S Production System

WGTD-FM, a nonprofit radio station owned by Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Wis., is using three JVC GY‑HM250SP 4KCAM sports production streaming camcorders and a ProHD Studio 4000S sports production and streaming studio to produce coverage of local high school sports on Facebook Live. The station began using the new JVC system a few weeks into the 2018 football season, and produced this season’s first game on Aug. 23.

All coverage is streamed to Facebook Live in 720p, with the station rotating game coverage between several venues. For the upcoming football season, the production crew will be located in the press box at each field, with two cameras positioned in the “crow’s nest” outside the press box and the third on the field. The GY-HM250SPs are connected to the Studio 4000S via HD-SDI.

“The cameras are absolutely incredible,” said Troy McDonald, digital director and development specialist for the station. “They are lightweight and easy to use. The picture is so clear – people are impressed.”

In an effort to find a new revenue stream, the station decided to explore new ways to find an audience by covering Kenosha and Walworth County high school football and basketball. With its classical, jazz, and news programming, the radio station attracts an older audience that creates a challenging sales environment.

WGTD tested the idea using iPads as cameras that were wirelessly connected to a master iPad running iOS-based switcher software. The system relied on cellular service, so there were a lot of connectivity issues. “It was just not pretty,” admitted McDonald. “It’s a miracle we generated an audience to prove the concept.”

McDonald said the integrated replay system in the Studio 4000S was a huge selling point. A dedicated replay tab offers a preview of every camera, and allows the operator to easily produce slow-motion replays with dynamic camera switching and freeze frame options. “It lets us have that feature that heightens the drama and keeps viewers engaged,” he explained. “The software is so easy to use. It’s made a huge difference for us.”

With the previous system, football scorekeeping was done manually, and the crew did not even attempt to keep score for basketball. Now, game coverage includes lower-thirds with names and logos. The crew also brings a SportzCast Scorebot to every game, connects it to the scoreboard, and receives automatic scoring updates to the 4000S wirelessly.  “The graphics through the 4000S have added a whole other layer to what we do – and it’s great,” McDonald said.

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