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Profile: Jon Roe

May 7, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Title: Vice president and chief technology officer at Belo Corp. Mr. Roe joined the company as director of information technology in February 1998. One of his key projects is overseeing the implementation of a state-of-the-art digital production and content management system.

Goal: “We’re looking at an integrated system that coordinates the needs of our broadcasting group, publishing properties and new media division. The reality is that everything is becoming data. Ultimately it’s all about content-sharing and multipurposing content.”

Process: “For the last six to nine months we have been moving broadcast-quality MPEG video between our four TV stations in Texas and our regional cable news network as well as traditional data [back-office applications such as financials, e-mail, payroll and intranet] using a private ATM [asynchronous transfer mode] network. The system uses MPEG encoders and decoders from Sony and ATM switchers from Marconi. We’re even running a fifth TV station [KBEJ-TV, Austin] remotely-sending a signal from Dallas to Austin over an ATM network, then over microwave to Fredericksburg. This infrastructure will make Sony’s NewsBase and asset management technology more valuable to Belo because it will make it faster and easier to share the information.”

Transition plan: “The current plan is to install NewsBase servers in four TV stations [WFAA-TV, Dallas, KHOU-TV Houston, KENS-TV, San Antonio, and KVUE-TV, Austin] in the next 12 months. Sony’s NewsBase system helps TV stations transition from tape-based to digital production and play-out to edit, and air high-quality output faster.

“In conjunction with the NewsBase initiative, we’re developing an asset management strategy. We already have a small PetaSite system. The interactive group is doing research and development to integrate a content management system with the asset management system and the NewsBase system. The goal is to have a federated index so that a single search will locate content of interest from all or any of the databases.”

Timetable: “We’re looking to have some proof of concept to define the larger asset management system architecture, which would store in the neighborhood of 8,000 to 9,000 hours of content within the next 12 months. We would grow and refine it from there. Assuming we’re successful, we’ll install NewsBase servers in all our stations and integrate them into the system over the next three or four years.”