Grand Rapids Information Network

Jon Koeze Video Interview Link
Grand Rapids Information Network Station
For the best in broadcast servers at the best price, the City of Grand Rapids depends on LEIGHTRONIX
This access station found the UltraNEXUS to be a perfect mix of advanced features, reliability, and ease-of-use
Jon Koeze, cable television coordinator
The all-digital server allowed Jon Koeze, the city’s cable television coordinator, to capture and replay meetings as they were taking place, increasing transparency.

When Cable Television Coordinator for the City of Grand Rapids, Jon Koeze, first looked into purchasing equipment for the station in 1987, he went with LEIGHTRONIX for their ability to produce a reliable product at an affordable price.

More recently, when looking for an all-in-one digital broadcast solution, Koeze still chose LEIGHTRONIX products, over 15 years after his first purchase, for the same reason.

“I made my first purchase with LEIGHTRONIX because they made one of the first inexpensive channel automation systems available,” he said. “I went with LEIGHTRONIX when looking to go digital because they still make a reliable, inexpensive automation system.”

His familiarity with the company’s product line may have peaked his interest in the UltraNEXUS™, but it was the features and time-saving elements of the all-digital broadcast server at the right price that made it an easy decision.

“There are a lot of different systems out there but for the price of this product, its functionality and features are very good,” Koeze said. “Being able to work in an all-digital format has been very good for speeding up workflow and getting our programming on the air.”

Before upgrading to the UltraNEXUS Koeze had to spend most of his day dubbing video material to DVC pro tapes.

Koeze scrolls through screens on the UltraNEXUS front panel
The UltraNEXUS scheduling software, WinLGX, has allowed Koeze to schedule shorter video programming in between meetings, keeping citizens better informed.
Grand Rapids Information Network Station Equipment
Koeze feels the UltraNEXUS broadcast server is “a good mix between user friendly and technically geeky.”

“The old system worked basically in time code, so if I got the time code wrong, the tapes would miss,” he said. “Or if I put the cassette in the wrong slot, it might not play the right program.”

The UltraNEXUS broadcast video server has alleviated the station’s need to worry about elements of human error, Koeze said.

“The possibility for human error is completely minimized when working with all-digital files,” he said.

On top of the server’s ability to decrease station errors, the cable television coordinator feels that the UltraNEXUS is a perfect fit for local broadcast stations because of its advanced features designed in a way that’s easy to use.

“LEIGHTRONIX equipment is designed to be flexible but also very dynamic,” Koeze said. “There is a happy medium with the UltraNEXUS that makes it a good mix between user friendly and technically geeky.”

The advanced features of the UltraNEXUS combined with its ease of use allow Koeze to provide viewers with live programming in a matter of minutes instead of the hours it took with his old system.

“Now we are able to capture meetings live, right onto the hard drive, clip it, and get it back on the channel in a matter of minutes,” he said. “The UltraNEXUS has really sped up how fast we can deliver content to viewers and it's also saved us a lot of time.”

The ability to provide community members access to meetings with only a few minutes of delay has helped the Grand Rapids government be more transparent for area residents.

“I’d say the live meetings get more viewership than the replays because it is new and the City of Grand Rapids has an internal mandate to become more transparent and more user friendly to its citizens,” Koeze said. “Making the meetings as they are happening more available has greatly improved our transparency. It’s really about opening up government and making it available to everybody through technology.”

The easy-to-use, drag and drop UltraNEXUS scheduling software, WinLGX™, has also allowed Koeze to provide citizens with short informational video clips and promotions in-between programming, something he was unable to do with his previous system.

“When you are working with tapes it’s difficult to insert a three minute show,” he said. “It’s much easier to do with a digital file. We can now put a lot more shorter programs into our larger programming’s schedule.”

The ease of adding short videos through digital programming has allowed the station to increase programming and increase viewership by offering more than their regular hour long meetings on the channel.

The archiving process of different meetings and events has also changed dramatically for the station thanks to the all-in-one digital broadcast server.

The station once had to make sure they kept the original copy of meetings as well as produce a copy of the tape for broadcast.

“There is no need now to save the original copy in case someone five years from now wants to look at that meeting again,” he said. “Now they can just pull that up on the computer, instead of me having to dig through the half inch tape archive and finding the right meeting date and then hoping that the recording was correct.”

When Koeze first implemented the UltraNEXUS, all the features it came with were great, but the product’s customer support team and their openness to new ideas, along with their willingness to implement suggestions, has been another valuable benefit.

“I’ve made a lot of suggestions to LEIGHTRONIX over the years about different products,” Koeze said. “Those suggestions and concerns have been worked into newer products.”

It’s just another thing to add to his list of reasons why he continues to purchase the company’s products.

“I like LEIGHTRONIX because of their excellent customer service and their availability to customers, but also because the equipment works and it’s not difficult to use,” Koeze said.

Koeze is confident about recommending the UltraNEXUS for these reasons.

“I think for any small format cable channel, this would be a perfect device,” he said.

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