Ottawa, Canada, June 30th 2021 – Based in the Indiana state capital of Indianapolis, WISH- TV is a CW-affiliated television station that has been broadcasting news, sports, weather and entertainment programs since 1954, and now reaches over one million people across the city and surrounding area. The station had previously been owned by Nexstar Media Group but was acquired in late 2019 by entrepreneur DuJuan McCoy, who is an Indianapolis native and a graduate of Butler University.
According to Chris Newman, Graphics Operations Manager at WISH-TV, the change in ownership to Circle City Broadcasting brought with it a change in focus. "DuJuan McCoy is very focused on increasing the amount of local content that we produce and building the local audience. He has big plans for the station and that means a renewed focus on creative content, efficiently produced." A graphics expert with over twenty years’ experience of various graphics software platforms, Newman found himself having to get to grips with a whole new package.
"Our previous owners Nexstar used the XPression suite from Ross Video and wanted to consolidate platforms across all of their stations, so I was asked to move over to XPression. This was just three months before we were due to launch a new identity for the station and then the acquisition took place – it was quite a time!" Fortunately, Newman’s extensive graphics experience helped him through, and he also had assistance from a couple of reliable sources.
"I really found the XPression University pages on the Ross web site invaluable," he notes. "Of course, most graphics packages operate in similar ways, but they all have their idiosyncrasies and the XPression U pages were a great resource whenever I had questions. I also leaned on Chris Kelly from Ross a few times. Chris had helped implement the OverDrive production automation system here at WISH-TV – we also bought an Acuity production switcher at the same time – and he was a friendly face who was always very responsive and helpful when I had an XPression question, even though it isn’t his specific area of expertise."
Migrating from one solution to another can often be stressful, but Newman was pleased with the overall process. "We’re only a small team of two designers and it took us about three months to really get on top of XPression, but the process was relatively painless. Our viewers may not have noticed much of a difference – our aim was a smooth transition – but the ‘back end’ has definitely been a lot easier to manage. One of the great advantages of XPression is that every box is a CG generator as well as a clip player – that’s enabled us to cut down on the number of boxes we need and migrate away from our previous clip players. I also have to say that Visual Logic has been an amazingly powerful tool. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve started working with a creative idea in Visual Logic and the tool has taken me somewhere else, opening up new doors and producing results that are even better than I’d initially imagined. Then when I’m all done, I can publish the project and all the elements ‘travel’ together with no missing parts. I must say, If I was offered another job elsewhere tomorrow and the station wasn’t using XPression, I’d really think long and hard about moving!"
With XPression now firmly embedded in WISH-TV’s workflows, Chris Newman has been looking to the future. "DuJuan, our owner, has a very progressive outlook and is happy to consider any new technologies or solutions if the business case stacks up and it will help improve our efficiency and the look and feel of our content. As an example, we recently purchased the XPression Tessera solution to render graphics on some unusually shaped LED displays we have on-set. It’s dramatically improved the way the graphics look on-screen so that was a worthwhile investment. We are also looking at XPression Maps for our news mapping platform and Streamline for media asset management amongst other things – I’ve got a shopping list", he grins. Owner DuJuan McCoy also has ambitions beyond the local Indianapolis area. "DuJuan is creating a new national station called the Multicultural News Network – MNN – focusing on minority ethnic groups here in the US. The new network will be based in the same building as WISH-TV so it’s going to be an exciting time for us here."
As a final thought, Newman points to the customer service he’s experienced from the team at Ross. "Ross feels like a good, honest company, and that feels good when you’re a customer. It gives you a lot of comfort and reassurance. I’m really pleased with the experience of working with Ross – everyone has been really responsive and helpful – and I’m really hopeful we can bring more of their solutions to WISH-TV in future. We’ve had great success with XPression, OverDrive and Acuity, and I’m sure that would only increase if we tapped into other elements of the Ross ecosystem."