Project X: The Beginning of the ENG Revolution
by: Tim England
Project X was top secret. No one could go to the basement without authorization. Only the engineers and top management were allowed behind the closed doors of the prop room in the basement. Other employees were curious but were told not to ask about it. Strange for a television station to be involved in a cloak and dagger operation, but management believed that secrecy was essential.1
The Nashville television market has always been highly competitive. In the early 1970s, WSM-TV, the NBC affiliate on Channel 4, usually had the upper hand in terms of ratings and revenues, but the CBS affiliate, WLAC-TV, had a loyal following that enabled it to maintain a respectable second, and, on occasion, land in the top spot.2
In 1974 the management of WLAC-TV, Channel 5, thought it could devise a new weapon for its arsenal that might make a difference in the ratings battle. Secrecy was ordered in hopes of catching the competition off guard. Project X began in the early morning hours after sign-off. Two vans were driven into the station's basement and sealed off. Engineers then went to work customizing the vans with the latest and most sophisticated news gathering technology of the time.3 Channel 5 was preparing to mark a new path in the delivery of news; the station's vans were being equipped for Electronic News Gathering (ENG).
To beat the competition was only one of the station's objectives. ENG would enable Channel 5 to deliver news events live. By linking the station to the news scene electronically, using microwave relays, the station could report news stories as they happened and not be encumbered by film processing delays. ENG also offered the potential for cost savings. Stories could be recorded on reusable tape instead of film, so the budgets for film and film processing could be reduced or perhaps eliminated.
On Saturday, October 12th, 1974, Channel 5 announced the completion of Project X. A feature article in the Nashville Tennessean's Sunday Showcase magazine described ENG as "a revolutionary new type of all-electronic news system."4 The vans were scheduled to hit the streets on October 14th. To help spread the word, a heavy on-air promotional campaign was launched,5 along with a series of newspaper ads:
WLAC-TV announces Live ActionCam. Not a movie camera!
Not a videotape system! But a small television camera
that can broadcast anywhere in Nashville. Live Action-
Cam gives you instantaneous, "live" coverage of events,
not delayed broadcasts. Our two news vans will take you
wherever big stories break and let you see news happen-
ing "live"! For a whole new way of experiencing news,
see Live ActionCam reports. Live ActionCam is exclusive
with WLAC-TV. Another first for Nashville!6
Channel 5 not only laid claim to being the "first" in Nashville to use ENG, it also touted being the first non-network owned-and-operated station to have such a system.7 Other stations have reason to dispute Channel 5's assertion of being first. An August 19, 1974 article in Broadcasting magazine mentions three other non-network O&Os using mini-cameras and microwave relays for live remotes: WCVB-TV Boston, KREM-TV Spokane, and WTOP-TV Washington.8 Nonetheless, Channel 5's commitment to ENG caught the industry's attention.
Other stations took note because Channel 5 had taken the plunge without the benefit of a major network's financial backing. Also, it was serving a mid-sized market, and its plan was to go beyond the broadcast of special events by ENG to a point where the system became a part of the station's routine coverage. Channel 5's news and engineering directors found themselves the center of attention at industry gatherings in 1975, because others wanted to know how they did it and what to expect.9
The purpose of this paper is to review Channel 5's early commitment to ENG. The station's entry provided an awakening. New tools were available for news delivery, and Channel 5 showed the industry that these tools were not for the exclusive use of the dominant players. All stations -- wishing to remain serious competitors in the news gathering business -- would have to find a way to deliver news electronically.
From Conception to Realization
The Channel 5 "Viewfinder" was conceived in 1971.10 Ralph L. Hucaby, Channel 5's Director of Engineering, was asked by the station's general manager to design a small mobile unit that could be used by the station to cover special events.
I went away and thought about this for awhile
and thought about coming up with a unit that
could do nearly anything. I pretty well
dreamed up a basic concept of a microwave link
back to the station from a truck.11
Hucaby's ideas, though, did not go beyond the blueprint stage in 1971. The cost of implementation was too prohibitive. The necessary equipment was very expensive and too bulky for the purposes intended. The station's owner was unwilling to make the commitment at that time.12
WLAC-TV was a CBS affiliate. Hucaby had worked at CBS for a brief period on a special assignment before he came to Channel 5. He had helped the network in setting up Television City in Hollywood and while there made many friends in the broadcast engineering group.13
CBS was also interested in developing an electronic news gathering system. Film had its limitations, particularly in terms of immediacy. Advances had been made to speed up film processing and to make the cameras more compact, but the network wanted something more. The minicamera was an important innovation in the early 1970s. The camera was relatively lightweight and could be used to record on videotape, thus, its images were electronically produced and not on film. The cameras were initially used to tape international news events and to provide live coverage at the 1972 presidential conventions.14 Joseph Flaherty, who directs CBS's technical operations, said the other networks finally took notice of ENG's capabilities when they were scooped by coverage of Henry Kissinger's "peace is at hand" briefing.15 The New York Times reported the network's coup in the October 27, 1972 edition:
In the inevitable television race to cover
yesterday's briefing by Henry A. Kissinger,
national security adviser to President Nixon, the
Columbia Broadcasting System came in first with the
help of an electronic partner called the mini-cam.
C.B.S. News was able to go on the air at 1 P.M.,
about 25 minutes after the briefing ended, with a
visual recording of Mr. Kissinger's comments...16
Within a year of the Kissinger scoop, ENG equipment had reached the local level. CBS provided all of its owned-and-operated stations with at least one mini-cam,17 and NBC had done likewise with three of its five O&Os. The camera being used was called the PCP-90, manufactured by Philips Broadcast Equipment Corporation.18
The impact of "live" coverage of a local news event was dramatically shown on May 17, 1974 when a gun battle erupted between the Symbionese Liberation Army (infamous for its kidnapping of newspaper heiress Patty Hearst) and law enforcement officials. KNXT-TV Los Angeles, a CBS-owned station, carried the shootout live for two hours interrupting regular programming for the broadcast. The station had the good fortune of being able to situate its camera directly in front of the house under attack.19
The CBS-owned station in Chicago, WBBM-TV, was also enjoying success with its new minicamera. It had live coverage of a dangerous chemical leak that threatened nearby neighborhoods, the aftermath of a train crash, the hospitalization of the city's mayor, and a threatened transit workers strike.20 But CBS was not entirely satisfied with its ENG equipment. A smaller camera and recorder were desired. The network approached Ikegami of Japan to develop a smaller camera, while Sony developed a more compact recorder. Advances were made quickly.21 By mid-1974 CBS was ready to proceed with a plan to have one of its stations go completely electronic; news film would be dropped altogether. KMOX-TV St. Louis, the network's smallest O&O, was chosen.22
At the same time, Channel 5 in Nashville was gearing up for its own conversion to electronic news. The technology had moved forward significantly since 1971 when the station first considered the possibility, and, perhaps more importantly, the price seemed more affordable. WLAC-TV was now ready to make the commitment. The Ikegami camera, the Sony three-quarter inch recorder, a digital time-base corrector, and the NURAD antenna system had made ENG more practical.23
In 1974 Channel 5 bought two HL-33 battery-operated Ikegami color television cameras. The cameras weighed 16 pounds each and were accompanied by backpacks weighing 31 pounds each. The backpacks were used to carry the batteries that operated the cameras. The batteries were supposed to have at least a two-hour charge.24 Initially, coaxial cable was used to connect the cameras to tape recorders located in the station's vans. The cable, though, was soon replaced by a microwave link using a small transmitter (model MA-13CP) manufactured by Microwave Associates of Burlington, MA.25
Sony manufactured a portable three-quarter inch tape recorder. The 30-pound VO-3800 helical recorders26 were battery operated and accepted 20-minute cassettes. After recording an event, the tape was either removed from the unit and physically transported back to the station for editing, or it could be microwaved from the remote location to the station and re-recorded on the Sony VO-2850.27
The time-base corrector (TBC) was necessary to stabilize the video signals taped on helical recorders.28 The TBC converts the signals into digital information so that they can be sent at uniform intervals and, thus, meet Federal Communication Commission (FCC) standards for picture quality.29
Transmitting tape or live pictures from one of the vans to the station involved a microwave relay. Channel 5's relay was mounted atop the 33-story Life-and-Casualty Building in downtown Nashville. On board the vans were mobile microwave transmitters (Model MA-2G) capable of 12 watts of output which fed into a Nurad antenna (Model 20-CR-2) on top of the van. The transmitter and antenna beamed signals toward the L-&-C Building where an antenna (Nurad Model 20-QP-1) picked them up.30 The antenna consisted of four horn-shaped devices -- with one aimed toward the north, one toward the south, one toward the east, and the other toward the west -- thus, making it possible to receive signals from any direction.31
At the Newsroom
Under the original ENG concept, all of the tape recorded in the field was to have been microwaved to the station and re-recorded there for editing.32 Channel 5 had three Sony 2850 three-quarter inch videotape recorders at its newsroom to record the incoming signals. Actually two tapings occurred simultaneously. One recorded the signal on a master tape to be used for editing, and, in the other, a time code33 was recorded with the signal to be used by the news staff to select shots for the final package. For those occasions warranting live coverage, signals from the van were routed to master control for inclusion in the newscast or to interrupt regular programming.34 If regular programming were to be bumped, the news director was required to seek clearance from the station's top management.35
Editing of news stories required two machines and at least two tapes. Portions of the master tape were dubbed to a second tape by means of "electronic splicing" using the time code for frame accuracy.36 The edits were simple cuts from one scene to another; there were no dissolves or fades or music.37
Two Ford Econoline 200 vans were customized for Channel 5's use. On board were the minicam, lights, the videotape recorder, a two-way radio system, a television monitor, storage batteries, a microwave transmitter and antenna assembly, and seating for at least three. The antenna assembly was mounted on top of the vans, and a platform was added to enable camera operators to take shots from thatangle. The six storage batteries were inverted to provide 120 volts AC to operate the equipment and recharge the camera batteries.38
The batteries proved to be a disappointment as a power source. Keeping them charged was a problem. They were designed to provide a substantial amount of energy for a short period of time, and what was needed in the vans was continuous power over a long period of time. Larry Brown, an engineer at Channel 5 then and now, said the six automotive batteries were eventually replaced with two golf cart batteries which added substantial weight to one side of the van.39
Living with ENG
The vans were kept on the road six days a week. Sunday was maintenance day. The Monday-Friday schedule called for one of the vans to leave the station at 6:00 a.m. while the other came on line at 7:30 a.m. They were to return to the station only to change crews or after the 10 p.m. newscast. The Saturday schedule started later in the day lasting from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.40
The crew consisted of a photographer, a driver, and sometimes a reporter. The reporter often traveled separately using one of the station's cars. To operate the microwave system, at least one member of the crew had to have a second class license from the FCC.41 At a 1976 ENG Workshop sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters, Channel 5's Director of Engineering, Ralph Hucaby, urged his fellow broadcasters to make sure the crew included a technician.
He can save stories from being lost for technical
reasons, can make minor repairs quickly; and his
meticulous attention to detail will pay off time
Having ENG forced the news and engineering departments to work closer together. Maintenance problems seemed to multiply with the advent of the new technology. The news department relied heavily on engineering to keep the machines up and running.43
The ENG equipment (including the studio gear and vans) required 60-80 work hours a week to maintain. Mechanical parts were less reliable than the electrical ones. Tape recorders would not stay in adjustment. Knobs would break. Belts would wear out. Wires would short-circuit. Connector pins would get smashed. And probably the longest day in anyone's broadcasting career was the day a camera was accidentally dropped.44
Converting to ENG was a costly proposition even if the numbers looked more favorable in 1974 than they did in 1971. The total cost of the conversion for Channel 5: $350,000.45 To make its transition, KMOX-TV reported spending a half-million dollars.46 Broadcasting47 provided the following breakdown to show where the money probably went:
|Sony portable recorders||$ 5,000|
|Studio editing units||$13,000|
|Vehicle & Conversion||$75,000-$100,000|
Chris Clark Botsaris, who has been a news anchor and in news management at Channel 5 for more than 25 years, said he attempted to justify the high cost of converting to ENG by emphasizing the savings that would be realized by reducing or eliminating film.
I remember looking at our film budget, our chemical
budget for the processor, and figured that we could
eliminate about 50 percent of those costs. That
was our first projection: let's get two of those
[ENG] cameras in here, cut our film and chemical
costs 50 percent, and see if we can't pay for them
that way. It was, at least on paper, a less
expensive way of getting the job done.48
Film vs. Video
Unlike KMOX-TV, Channel 5 did not drop film from its newscasts initially. The station sought a 75-25 ratio of video to film, because it wanted to maintain its stringer system and could not afford to provide all of the stringers with ENG equipment. The extra photographers were needed for Channel 5 to maintain a presence in its Area of Dominant Influence, which reached from northern Alabama to southern Kentucky.49 At first, the station projected the ENG equipment would pay for itself in a maximum of six years,50 however, by March of 1976, Channel 5's director of engineering was willing to admit that that timetable would probably not be met.51
Notwithstanding the costs, ENG offered several advantages.52 Immediacy, of course, was one, and more selection to compile a better story was another. Having reusable tape provided photographers with an opportunity to tape more of an event, which, in turn, gave reporters and editors a greater choice for their packages. Instead of being able to record only bits and pieces of a speech or a meeting, the photographer could tape the entire proceeding.53 Sports reporting was especially enhanced. The big plays were less often missed -- thanks to videotape.54 Another advantage was the greater number of stories being covered.
Before ENG came along, the gathering of pictures for the 6:00 newscast essentially ended at 4:30 in the afternoon. Time was needed to process the film and edit it for broadcast. ENG offered greater flexibility. "All of a sudden there were no deadlines; deadlines were no longer applicable."55
Words of Caution
Channel 5 invested heavily to bring electronic news gathering technology to Nashville. The station wanted to have an impact with its new capability. It promoted heavily and found as many ways as possible to keep the ENG vans in the public eye. Botsaris admitted to certain pitfalls in taking that approach:
We used [the vans] like everyone did in those days. By
God, we spent the money, and we're going to have a live
story in every newscast. Everybody did the same thing,
not just us. We were doing some pretty dull stuff to
have it on live, but that's what we did.56
Botsaris said the station's approach to ENG has matured over the years: "We're more selective nowadays. We don't bite nearly as often as we used to."57 But, in the early days, adjustments had to be made; new approaches had to be found. Former KMOX-TV producer Tom Wolzien described the transition from film to ENG as similar to moving from a manual typewriter to an electric. "You can type faster on an electric, but you can make mistakes a lot faster, too."58
Channel 5 encountered this kind of problem during one of its live broadcasts from a city council meeting. The reporter -- assigned to cover the event -- described the proceedings from his vantage point in the back corner of the council chambers. A police officer thought the reporter was too loud and ordered him to move, but the reporter -- aware that he was being broadcast live -- continued. The police officer then again demanded the reporter to leave, but the reporter tried to ignore him. At this point, the officer had had enough. The reporter was herded out of the room and arrested, much to the astonishment of the news anchor at Channel 5 and, undoubtedly, to the viewing audience.59
In this era of ENG, reporters have to be much sharper, more aware of their surroundings, and certainly more capable of ad-libbing. They no longer have the luxury to reflect at any great length before they write and deliver a story. News managers look for individuals who can handle live situations well. ENG reporters must be capable of immediately grasping a situation and translating that assessment into words that are delivered on-the-spot.60 In some ways, the reporting style required by ENG is much like that of traditional radio reporters, who -- in the days before tape recordings were allowed in news reports -- had to think fast on their feet.61
Channel 5 restructured its newsroom to accommodate the new technology. The assignment editor was renamed "the electronic news coordinator" or ENC. The ENC was responsible for not only dispatching crews but also the coordination of live news inserts. Decisions regarding which stories to tape on the scene or to feed back to the station live were the ENC's to make. The engineering functions associated with electronic news gathering were carried out in close proximity to the news staff. Having the master receiving console in the newsroom enabled the ENC and the news director greater access to incoming material, so decisions could be made quickly. The news managers could also assist in developing news stories. By using two-way radio communication to talk with reporters and producers in the field, the ENC or the news director could relay information pertinent to a story or suggest possible interview questions.62
Channel 5 invested in ENG technology to meet certain objectives. The station wanted to have the capability of going live, to reduce the costs of news gathering, and to beat the competition. Other stations joining the ENG bandwagon in the mid-1970s would cite these goals as well. A survey conducted by the Radio Television News Directors Association during the spring of 1976 revealed that smaller market stations were primarily interested in ENG to save money, while larger market stations added ENG to go live.63
Channel 5's experience with ENG produced mixed results in terms of meeting the station's objectives. Without question, the goal of immediacy was met. By the end of the decade, the station phased out film altogether. Videotaping news events was far superior to filming them in terms of turnaround time. The news staff no longer had to wait for the pictures to be processed, and tape editing became a much simpler process as technological advances were made.
Although the budget for film and film processing was reduced with the advent of ENG, other costs offset the benefits. Maintenance was a problem. More time and energy had to be committed to the technical side of news gathering.
Stations also had to concern themselves with keeping their equipment up-to-date. In a few short years, the tools of the trade became obsolescent and had to be replaced. On the other hand, ENG expanded the money-making horizons for many local stations. More news programming could be offered, which meant more advertising could be sold. Over time, ENG probably resulted in a net gain for most stations, but in the mid-1970s Channel 5's management had reason to doubt that cost savings would be realized.64
Channel 5 had high hopes that its "Live ActionCam" would make a difference in the Nashville ratings race. The station promoted its new technology heavily, particularly during the first four months of operation. News viewers as well as newsmakers responded to the station's capability. Viewer response was initially one of curiosity; people wanted to know when live pictures would be on the air and from where. Newsmakers promptly adapted to the live broadcasts. They would arrange their news conferences or meetings to coincide with the 6:00 newscasts.65
Ratings data from the 1974-1975 time period do not provide convincing evidence that Channel 5's initial hopes of beating the competition came true. Arbitron data66 (illustrated on the next page) show that WLAC-TV enjoyed a brief moment in the number-one spot for its 6:00 newscast in the November 1974 ratings period. The advantage -- a 37 share compared with a 36 for WSM-TV -- could not be maintained or strengthened over time. The Arbitron numbers for 1975 -- for both the 6:00 and 10:00 newscasts -- show that WSM-TV did not relinquish its number-one position in the Nashville ADI. "We were disappointed that [the impact of ENG] wasn't nearly as big as we were hoping," Botsaris said. "There was a bump, slightly, but I remember our feeling was one of disappointment."67
Even though Channel 5 did not clearly meet its early objectives with ENG, the station undoubtedly made the right choice in moving in that direction. ENG revolutionized the news gathering business. To be or to remain competitive in news, television stations must have the hardware for live broadcasts and videotaping. "We created that expectation [among viewers]," Botsaris said. "We can't get away from it."68
1Ralph Hucaby, telephone interview of July 2, 1992, hereafter referred to as Hucaby interview. In 1974, Hucaby was Director of Engineering at WLAC-TV.
2Chris Clark Botsaris, interview of
June 19, 1992, hereafter referred to as Botsaris interview. Botsaris, known
to Nashville television viewers as simply Chris Clark, has been Channel
5's anchor for more than a quarter of a century. When the station introduced
ENG in 1974, he was news director.
Channel 5 in Nashville changed its call letters from WLAC-TV to WTVF-TV in the mid-1970s. WSM-TV, an NBC affiliate, later changed its call letters to WSMV-TV. The ABC affiliate in 1974 was WSIX-TV which became WNGE-TV that year. Nashville also has a public television station, WDCN.
4"Channel 5 News Goes `Live Action," The Tennessean Sunday Showcase, October 13, 1974, pp. 14-15.
6Advertisements in the Nashville Banner, October 14 and October 22, 1974.
7The Tennessean Sunday Showcase article, referred to in footnote 4, said WLAC-TV was the first non-network O&O to have ENG capabilities. Hucaby and Botsaris also made the claim in interviews conducted with them.
8"Big Changes in Local News: More Speed, More Depth, More Demands," Broadcasting, August 19, 1974, pp. 41-45.
9Channel 5's Director of Engineering, Ralph Hucaby, was asked to make speeches at two SMPTE gatherings and two NAB seminars in the year and a half after the station converted to ENG. Also, Chris Clark Botsaris participated in an NAB seminar in 1976. For media coverage of these events, see "The Era of ENG Has Arrived in TV Journalism," Broadcasting, April 14, 1975, pp. 62-63 and "No Slackening of Interest in ENG, Still Rising Star of TV News," Broadcasting, March 29, 1976, pp. 60-61.
10Ralph L. Hucaby, memo of February 18, 1971, titled "The Channel 5 `Viewfinder': Preliminary Specifications," hereafter referred to as Viewfinder Memo.
14Joseph Flaherty, telephone interview of July 17, 1992, hereafter referred to as Flaherty interview. Flaherty is senior vice president of technical operations at CBS. He has been an engineer at CBS for more than 20 years.
16"CBS Wins Network Race on Kissinger Briefing," New York Times, October 27, 1972, p. 82.
17Tom Wolzien, telephone interview of July 1, 1992, hereafter referred to as Wolzien interview. In 1974 Wolzien was a news producer at KMOX-TV St. Louis.
18"TV Journalism: More Meaning, Wider Range, Harder Work, Bigger Budgets," Broadcasting, August 20, 1973, pp. 17-22.
19"Live TV Covers SLA's Last Stand," Broadcasting, May 27, 1974, pp. 47-48.
20"Minicam As WBBM-TV Weapon That Leapfrogs Chi News Field," Variety, June 5, 1974, p. 42.
23Ralph L. Hucaby, speech of January 1975 at SMPTE Winter Conference in San Francisco, titled "A Mid-Market Station Looks at Electronic News Gathering," hereafter referred to as Hucaby Speech #1.
25Brochure, titled "Microwave Equipment Expands ENG Capability at WLAC-TV," sponsored by Microwave Associates, Communication Equipment Division, Burlington, Massachusetts, November 1975.
26Helical scanning refers to when the videotape is transported past the record heads in a helix or spiral. The size and weight of the recorder is dramatically reduced -- thanks to helical recorders, making them more portable. See Richard D. Yoakam and Charles F. Cremer, ENG: Television and the New Technology, 2nd ed. (New York: Random House, 1989), p. 4, for a more complete description of helical scanning.
27Hucaby Speech #1. Recording video in the van did not last long. Technology soon advanced to where the camera itself had a built-in recorder.
29For a more complete description of time-base correctors, see Yoakam and Cremer, ENG: Television and the New Technology, 2nd ed. (New York: Random House, 1989), pp. 54-55.
30Hucaby Speech #1.
31Hucaby interview. The original relay was later replaced with a super-quad model which could be rotated. Engineers could control it from the studio; the antenna could be steered to pick up signals from the coordinates of the remote unit's location. With the newer model, relaying signals was made easier and weaker signals could be picked up better. Channel 5 now uses its transmitter tower in addition to the L&C Building as its relay point.
32Larry Brown, interview of June 19, 1992, hereafter referred to as Brown interview. Brown was the maintenance supervisor at Channel 5 in 1974; he is now assistant chief engineer at the station.
Brown said it soon became apparent that microwaving all of the tape to the studio was impractical. One reason was the length of time it took to set up the microwave. The tape could often be physically delivered to the studios in less time than it took to relay the signal by microwave.
Also, the necessity of recording and re-recording was eliminated when newer model cameras were manufactured with built-in recorders and time coders. And, finally, ENG trucks and vans today are equipped with on-board editing facilities. Packages can be assembled in the field, if need be, cutting down on the need for editing at the station.
33Time codes are numbers that appear in each frame of the video. In most cases, the numbers represent the exact hour, minute and second of the video frame. For a more complete description of time codes, see Yoakam and Cremer, ENG: Television and the New Technology, 2nd ed. (New York: Random House, 1989), p. 4.
34Hucaby Speech #1.
35Videotape produced by WLAC-TV in 1975.
38Videotape produced by WLAC-TV in 1975.
39Brown interview. Brown said gasoline generators -- with the capacity of generating electricity for six to eight hours -- are now used as a power source on most ENG vehicles. Batteries were capable of producing electricity for no more than three hours, but they were quieter to operate.
Brown also said the original Ford vans were replaced in 1976-'77 by Chevrolet vans. As they had in 1974, Channel 5's engineers customized the vans themselves. By the time, the station invested in its third-generation of ENG vehicles, several coach manufacturers were specializing in their construction. Channel 5 turned to T-E-C of St. Louis to build the station's latest.
40Hucaby Speech #1.
42Ralph L. Hucaby, speech of March 1976 at National Association of Broadcasting ENG Workshop in Chicago, titled "ENG: One Year Later," hereafter referred to as Hucaby Speech #4.
43Brown interview. The advent of ENG was also at times a
source of friction between labor and management. See "ENG and Labor:
Three Solutions to the Problem," Broadcasting, April 4, 1977, p. 86.
Management wanted to assign the operation of ENG equipment to non-union news personnel -- a move the unions resisted. WLAC-TV was not a union shop.
45Ralph L. Hucaby, speech of April 1975 at National Association of Broadcasters Convention, hereafter referred to as Hucaby Speech #2.
46"St. Louis, For Example," Broadcasting, January 5, 1976, pp. 89-91.
47"The Era of ENG Has Arrived in TV Journalism," Broadcasting, April 14, 1975, pp. 62-63.
49Videotape produced by WLAC-TV in 1975.
50Hucaby Speech #1.
51Hucaby Speech #4.
53Hucaby Speech #1.
54Videotape produced by WLAC-TV in 1975.
55Botsaris interview. In the long run, ENG has brought greater profit potential to local stations. Joseph Flaherty, Senior Vice President of Technical Operations at CBS, points to the expansion of local newscasts as an example. Local commercials -- aired during local newscasts -- provide substantial revenues to stations. To increase revenues, many stations have chosen to expand their newscasts -- a move that, Flaherty says, would have been impossible without ENG.
58Tom Wolzien, "Taming the Technology: A Man Who Was There," in Richard D. Yoakam and Charles F. Cremer, ENG: Television and the New Technology, 2nd ed. (New York: Random House, 1989), p. 22.
61"No Slackening of Interest in ENG, Still Rising Star of TV News," Broadcasting, March 29, 1976, pp. 60-61. NBC broke its long-standing rule against broadcasting tape recordings in 1937 -- a policy also in effect at CBS at the time -- when it aired Herbert Morrison's description of the Hindenburg explosion in Lakehurst, NJ. Morrison was a staff announcer for WLS-AM Chicago. See Edward Bliss, Jr., Now The News (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), pp 37-38.
62Videotape produced by WLAC-TV in 1975.
63"The Who, When, Why of ENG Use," Broadcasting, April 18, 1977, p. 64.
66Arbitron (American Research Bureau) Ratings Data for Nashville, TN: November 1973, May 1974, November 1974, February 1975, May 1975, and November 1975.
It should be noted that the Nielsen surveys may have revealed a more favorable ratings response for WLAC-TV in 1975. In an October 1975 speech at the SMPTE Conference in Los Angeles, Ralph Hucaby said, "I am happy to report that our news ratings have steadily increased since we started ENG. The last Nielsen survey, made in July, shows that we are getting a 41 share of the audience, for our six p.m. news compared to a 40 for our strongest competitor. In an October 1974 rating, prior to ENG, they had a 43 share to our 36! Our ten p.m. news did a 45 share compared to their 41 in the July '75 rating, but last October it was 43 to 37 in their favor." These numbers have not been verified, as yet, by the researcher.
Arbitron (American Research Bureau) Ratings Data for Nashville, TN: November 1973, May 1974, November 1974, February 1975, May 1975, and November 1975.
Botsaris, Chris Clark. Interview of June 19, 1992.
Brochure, titled "Microwave Equipment Expands ENG Capability at WLAC-TV," sponsored by Microwave Associates, Communication Equipment Division, Burlington, Massachusetts, November 1975.
Brown, Larry. Interview of June 19, 1992.
Flaherty, Joseph. Telephone interview of July 17, 1992.
Hucaby, Ralph. Telephone interview of July 2, 1992.
Hucaby, Ralph L. Memo of February 18, 1971, titled "The Channel 5 `Viewfinder': Preliminary Specifications."
Hucaby, Ralph L. Speech of January 1975 at SMPTE Winter Conference in San Francisco, titled "A Mid-Market Station Looks at Electronic News Gathering."
Hucaby, Ralph L. Speech of April 1975 at National Association of Broadcasters Convention.
Hucaby, Ralph L. Speech of October 1975 at SMPTE Conference in Los Angeles.
Hucaby, Ralph L. Speech of March 1976 at National Association of Broadcasting ENG Workshop in Chicago, titled "ENG: One Year Later."
Nashville Banner, October 14, 1974.
Nashville Banner, October 22, 1974.
WLAC-TV videotape, produced in 1975.
Wolzien, Tom. Telephone interview of July 1, 1992.
Wolzien, Tom. "Taming the Technology: A Man Who Was There," in Richard D. Yoakam and Charles F. Cremer, ENG:
Television and the New Technology, 2nd ed. (New York: Random House, 1989).
Yoakam, Richard D., and Charles F. Cremer, ENG: Television and the New Technology, 2nd ed. (New York: Random House, 1989).
Bliss, Edward Jr. Now The News (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991).
"CBS Wins Network Race on Kissinger Briefing," New York Times, October 27, 1972, p. 82.
"Channel 5 News Goes `Live Action," The Tennessean Sunday Showcase, October 13, 1974, pp. 14-15.
"Minicam As WBBM-TV Weapon That Leapfrogs Chi News Field," Variety, June 5, 1974, p. 42.
"New Talk Needed: U.S. Breaks Silence on Efforts and Urges Further Session," New York Times, October 27, 1972, p.1.
Broadcasting articles (in chronological order):
"TV Journalism: More Meaning, Wider Range, Harder Work, Bigger Budgets," Broadcasting, August 20, 1973, pp. 17-22.
"Live TV Covers SLA's Last Stand," Broadcasting, May 27, 1974, pp. 47-48.
"Big Changes in Local News: More Speed, More Depth, More Demands," Broadcasting, August 19, 1974, pp. 41-45.
"Time, Distance No Worry for KMOX-TV Newsmen," Broadcasting, December 23, 1974, p. 34.
"The Era of ENG Has Arrived in TV Journalism," Broadcasting, April 14, 1975, pp. 62-63.
"Minicams," Broadcasting, August 25, 1975, pp. 46-50.
"St. Louis, For Example," Broadcasting, January 5, 1976, pp. 89-91.
"No Slackening of Interest in ENG, Still Rising Star of TV News," Broadcasting, March 29, 1976, pp. 60-61.
"Moving Into High Gear with ENG," Broadcasting, August 23, 1976, pp. 26-30.
"The States of the Art in Broadcasting Equipment," Broadcasting, December 13, 1976, pp. 26, 32, 33.
"Newscasters Feel ENG Has Many Advantages," Broadcasting, December 20, 1976, pp. 37-38.
"ENG and Labor: Three Solutions to the Problem," Broadcasting, April 4, 1977, p. 86.
"The Who, When, Why of ENG Use," Broadcasting, April 18, 1977, p. 64.
"End of the Beginning for ENG," Broadcasting, August 22, 1977, pp. 38-42.
"Television On The Spot (News): See It Now," Broadcasting, August 22, 1977, pp. 50-52.
"The Live One: Spot Coverage is TV's Biggest Advantage," Broadcasting, August 28, 1978, pp. 48-52.
Dr. Tim England is an Associate Professor at Texas State University in San Marcos where he serves as Electronic Media Sequence Coordinator for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.