Profile: Gordon Castle

Jun 23, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Title: Senior VP of CNN Technology
Background: Mr. Castle has served in his current role for five years and previously worked in operations for CNN Headline News. He also managed the technical start-up of CNN en Espanol and has been with CNN since 1986.
Five Year Plan, Part One: CNN just completed the first of two five-year technology plans to transition CNN and all of its networks from tape to digital file-based production. “In terms of magnitude of change and in terms of how it will really affect the networks, it is pretty substantial,” Mr. Castle said. The ultimate goal is to integrate all of the company’s different technology systems to enable the networks to make better use of the vast array of video footage. The past five years have entailed laying the foundation for a tapeless world by installing digital infrastructure equipment such as switchers, routers and other “plumbing equipment” and paving the way for the use of the MXF file format, he said. The network installed a media-management system from SGI, Virage and Informix to manage the incoming video content and daily production footage, he said. CNN also installed an archive-media-management system from IBM.
Part Two: CNN is moving into its second five-year plan to complete the integration across the networks. That includes a new initiative with Pinnacle to install digital editing systems to replace tape-based editing and to ensure that all incoming feeds are recorded digitally. Also, CNN will transfer about 150,000 hours of its archivable material into a digital form. “The first five years were about foundation, architecture, feed and edit systems. Now the trick is to bring it all together,” Mr. Castle said. Later this year, the production portion of CNN in New York will move into a new digital facility with integrated studios and control rooms and a centralized media operations center, similar to facilities in Atlanta.