TV stations struggle as Nielsens start up


POSTED: Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Nielsen ratings start today, just as one newly merged newsroom operation works to smooth over transmission challenges and another newsroom awaits delivery of a computer part to make sure it can deliver newscasts to its audience.

ABC-affiliate KITV ran only an abbreviated show Tuesday night, about seven minutes long, after an equipment failure disabled a central computer system.

The home phone of KITV President and General Manager Mike Rosenberg rang at 9:53 p.m.

A call from the station that late at night “;can't be a good thing,”; he said.

After all, nobody has ever called him that late to say “;things are going great,”; he said with a laugh.

The Cisco Systems core switch that “;connects us to every outside server that we have — all our servers work through it ... failed.”;

It is the connection to the wide area network “;where we have all our newsroom stuff, Harris automation stuff — that's not supposed to fail.”;

The switch contains two components called supervisors and if one fails, it is to default to the second to keep everything running.

It didn't.

The station had the ability to put anchor Paula Akana on the air to read some news headlines and get Justin Fujioka's weather forecast on the air before signing off and firing up a syndicated show.

Technicians toiled to get the system back up in plenty of time for the 5 a.m. news, Rosenberg said.

“;It's stable right now,”; Rosenberg said late yesterday morning.

Contingency plans were put in place “;and we'll have news scripts done early and it'll be just like an old-fashioned newscast,”; he chuckled. “;It won't be graphics-heavy, just in case.”;

Technicians were up until 3 in the morning and then came in again at 7 yesterday, just in case.

For the backup that failed to work properly, Rosenberg ordered another to the tune of about $50,000, just to make sure the station has some redundant redundancy.

“;I hate technology,”; Rosenberg laughed.

Shared Services Now

Meanwhile, confusion continues to reign supreme with some viewers of KGMB-TV and KFVE-TV, whose newscasts have merged with KHNL-TV in a shared services agreement.

Some viewers have lost the ability to watch CBS-network and KGMB-local programming via free, digital over-the-air technology, as its signal has been moved to the broadcast spectrum that once carried KFVE. It's a change this space reported would occur.

Channels remain the same for subscribers of Oceanic Time Warner Cable, the state's only cable system.

One viewer posted disappointment with KGMB and DirecTV on Monday night, “;starting with trying to watch Sunrise this morning and finding nothing but infomercials. Then, trying to find a news broadcast tonite (sic) and getting a message on the screen for nothing being on.”;

DirecTV's online program guide appears to have been updated, but the stations' technical executives could not be reached for further clarification.

On the 'Net:

» hawaiinewsnow.com

DirecTV program guide

» www.hsblinks.com/16f


Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).