NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - “There has been a lot of change in the last 60 years here. This is the most significant. This is biggest conversion,” said Rick Rhoades, the general manager of TV6.
From a new set, to new monitors, to new rundown systems, and a new control room, TV6 really went all in with their latest renovation.
“As most people know, this is an upgrade that we needed for the last 5 to 7 years, but the push came from corporate,” said Rhoades.
Once the push became a reality, in May, TV6 tore down the entire set and control room to make room for the million dollar plans.
“The new set has a huge footprint, it’s more of a room within the studio itself," Chad Grueneberg, the on-air operations manager. "That’s one thing viewers will notice, it’s more of a homier atmosphere.”
After demolition, set construction began starting with the floor and up.
“The whole set, it only took a week to build it and then after that, training starts,” said Grueneberg.
Training called for almost everyone in the station, from the production team to anchors to reporters. Everyone had to learn something new.
“They started with training on the switcher board, training on the overdrive system and they have been learning and building how the show is to come together for a while," said Grueneberg. "Once we hit three or four, that’s when the talent became involved”
Staff would have to produce and run through not only a live newscast each day, but a rehearsal to practice using the new system. These rehearsals were also for movement placement.
“We’ve always done some moving around, we do a lot more moving around now so we have been really practicing the different angles the different possibilities or where we can go,” said Vicki Crystal, a morning anchor.
Now trained on the new weather system, the meteorologists can produce more up-to-date forecasts.
“We have much more capability to show you things that we couldn’t before and the graphics are so much crisper and sharper too,” said Karl Bohnak, the chief meteorologist.
The graphics can be displayed on the 11 screens in the studio including the monitor wall composed of eight TVs. The lighting in the studio can also change colors to separate each show and to alert breaking news.
“In the interview area we have the opportunity to really expand how we share people’s stories," said Crystal. "Now if people send me a poster, instead of holding up the poster, I can actually pull that poster real time in the monitors behind us so it’s right there.”
The new features in and out of the studio provides endless opportunities.
“There’s so much space here and we will keep exploring it here in the coming months so it’s just the beginning when we launch our news cast," said Andrew LaCombe, a morning anchor. "Things will definitely expand on what we are already doing.”
For Don Ryan, who has seen TV6 transition from black and white to color, from film to digital, he said this is the biggest change the station has seen and just another indication how big TV6's role is with Upper Michigan viewers.
"It’s another step forward, it’s another step in the whole process of making sure that TV6 is there to provide the information and the coverage that people need and come to expect from this station,” said Don Ryan.