“LEIGHTRONIX has been the backbone of our entire operation in what we do.”
— John Madding, Cable TV Programming and Access Manager, WCTV
LEIGHTRONIX is always a step ahead, so they’re always coming out with the products right ahead of when we need them.” — John Madding, Cable TV Programming and Access Manager
In the eighties, Wadsworth Community Television inherited a full system of archaic video equipment for their station, which required manual program switching. In 1991, WCTV turned to LEIGHTRONIX for their automation needs and have been upgrading ever since.
Wadsworth Community Television uses two UltraNEXUS video servers to broadcast across four cable channels. Using VieBit, content can be viewed online in addition to their normally broadcast times. Since acquiring their video servers, WCTV has been able to use one channel for advertising, adding a new revenue stream.
“LEIGHTRONIX is always a step ahead, so they’re always coming out with the products right ahead of when we need them.”
— John Madding, Cable TV Programming and Access Manager
“Our playback is the number one important thing because we have to get that programming out, but it’s also the last thing I have to worry about because I know it’s going to work. I know it’s working even if I don’t see it. I know it’s working and I don’t have to worry about it.”
— John Madding, Cable TV Programming and Access Manager
Wadsworth, OH — In this cozy, welcoming town exists a strong sense of community. Members of Wadsworth do their best to support the area’s many historical, cultural, and educational facets. This ranges from regular economic improvement of the local school system, to the annual Blue Tip Festival, celebrating a matchstick industry that, while no longer operating out of the area, represents a well-regarded piece of Wadsworth history. Among these firmly-held institutions is a tremendously successful television station: Wadsworth Community Television (WCTV). Using LEIGHTRONIX broadcasting and video-on-demand solutions, WCTV appeals to a wide and loyal audience that reaches beyond the borders of Wadsworth. With the continued support of their viewers, WCTV has plans to upgrade into HD and offer an even greater viewing experience than ever before.
The story of community television in Wadsworth starts in 1983. It was the year of beginnings across the country: the birth year of the internet and the first call ever made by cellphone. It also happened to be the year cable came to Wadsworth. The city negotiated several public access channels, but things weren’t very active at first. The equipment they had was extremely ancient; programs had to be manually patched in and switched. This made it difficult to keep up enough manpower for even a handful of shows.
Moving forward to 1991, WCTV purchased a TCD switcher from LEIGHTRONIX, automating the things that were originally bogging the station down. Automation allowed them to create and broadcast more programs with fewer people, allowing WCTV to flourish within its community. According to John Madding, Cable TV Programming and Access Manager, moving to LEIGHTRONIX “… enabled us to become a relevant piece of the community.”
Since the early nineties, WCTV has regularly updated their equipment with LEIGHTRONIX products. Currently, WCTV has two UltraNEXUS® video servers, broadcasting to four different cable stations. They also keep their site well-stocked with a majority of their programs for on-demand viewing.
For a number of years, the station only ran three channels, but since each UltraNEXUS can broadcast two cable channels simultaneously, an additional one was added to the lineup. They run Zoned TOTAL INFO™ on their newest channel. If you have a subscription and are broadcasting from an UltraNEXUS or newer NEXUS® series video server, Zoned TOTAL INFO is added at no extra cost. The service allows three, customizable zones to be displayed on one channel. For WCTV, weather and news run on the side and bottom zones, but the main, squeezeback frame displays sponsorship messages, giving them a brand new revenue stream.
“Their product might be a little less expensive, or have this feature or that feature, but as a small operation, we would end up doubling the amount we would spend with LEIGHTRONIX just with that support fee.” — John Madding
Web Streaming Success
The implementation of VieBit has been tremendously successful for WCTV. According to John, it has really been expanding their viewership. In addition, individual programs receive much more attention now that they’re viewable online. Having that accessibility outside of cable television has been useful for anyone unable to view regularly-timed broadcasts as well as for catching the attention of viewers far beyond Wadsworth’s boundaries. Some of the producers from the station have actually received emails from people in Belgium, gushing over the programming. Closer to home, North and South Dakota have become such huge fans of WCTV through their streaming site, that the station has begun FTPing their programming out to the Dakotas for viewing over cable channels in that part of the country.
Back in Wadsworth, WCTV has always been strongly rooted in the community. Along with a custom studio with several robotic cameras for public use, video capture equipment and free training is also available for any community members wanting to record video. Between both older and newly-aired content, over 20,000 hours of local programming will be generated this year by volunteers from the area, which is a heavy load on WCTV’s setup. Luckily, LEIGHTRONIX products are built to last. The reliability and free support that comes with all of LEIGHTRONIX’s standard products has been nothing but helpful to WCTV. According to John, the free updates and support have been a pretty big deal: “Having that free support; I can’t tell you how huge that is. Other systems that I looked into, you end up paying more in the support fee than you originally paid for the equipment over a five or six year period.”
The future seems bright for WCTV. They’ve had so much success with programming that they’re ready to go fully digital over the next year. For many LEIGHTRONIX customers, figuring out what products and services they need can be a difficult journey. Luckily, LEIGHTRONIX sales representatives are more than happy to help them work through it. John has been working with Senior Inside Sales Representative Nick Crandell, for a year and a half now, figuring out exactly what kind of system WCTV should utilize.
“He’s been a very easy guy to work with; very easygoing, very knowledgeable, so building systems for him has been a cinch.” — Nick Crandell
With Nick’s assistance along the way, the station is going to be investing in a brand new UltraNEXUS-HD Blade™ system to broadcast digitally. All of their equipment is HD-ready, so once their newly-developed video server is officially released, they’ll be good to go.
As a long-time LEIGHTRONIX customer, John Madding appreciates what we do:
“LEIGHTRONIX has been the backbone of our entire operation in what we do. One is because LEIGHTRONIX grows ahead of where we need to go, so they kind of bring us up. We would have never launched our own website to do video-on-demand, but as soon as LEIGHTRONIX launched that up there then we got onto that. LEIGHTRONIX kind of pulls us ahead because there are a lot of things we just couldn’t afford or don’t have the technology or the means to do ourselves, but LEIGHTRONIX allows us to do that because they put the technology out there; they come out with the products and that enables us at a very reasonable cost to jump into that and move us forward.”
We appreciate what our customers do. Everyone here at LEIGHTRONIX puts in a great deal of time and effort into ensuring our products are of the highest quality. Seeing customers put that equipment to work creating engaging and worthwhile content is an affirmation of what we do here. Thanks WCTV and John Madding for enriching your community.