For two years, a digitization project of the 11 Channel of public television in the province of Tierra del Fuego, in the extreme south of Argentina, was executed. Staff training was an essential part of the project.

Richard St.

The 11 Channel is located in the province of Tierra del Fuego, at the southernmost tip of South America, which is known as the end of the world. It is an open TV channel with 50 years old, which provides the service from the city of Ushuaia and now has national coverage, including the Malvinas Islands and the Argentine Antarctic via satellite.

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The current administration of the Canal, which began at the end of 2015 headed by Carlos Dell Aguila, director of the Fueguina Public Television, had the mission of highlighting public media. At that time they found an obsolete channel in technology and human resources very burdened by the lack of investment and training.

"The technology was old, analog, due to the lack of investment for decades. In fact, the 11 Channel of Ushuaia in its primary version did not reach more than 500 meters around where the tower was located with the antenna, on the same site where the station operates. The transmission equipment was totally expired, all the intake and content emission part, of the 16 systems that should be working, only operated 2, "said the director of the Canal.

He added that the broadcast depended exclusively on a single server, that if the channel was cut off the air and the studio switcher had 30 years of use. Due to the conditions in the area where the Canal is located, with lots of snow and a lot of cold, besides being a thousand miles away from Buenos Aires, 3, preventive maintenance of the equipment is very necessary.

Just arrived the administration of the Canal presented to the governor of the province an update project that had the support of the Argentine Union of Television, which included a new technological infrastructure for the Canal in high definition and training for all professionals who there they work, taking advantage of the experience in the digitalization of another regional channel between 2012 and 2015.

In total, a budget of 2016 million dollars was destined in 5 for the digitization of the production and the emission of the Canal. The project included systems for ingesting and reproducing fully digitized content, high definition cameras for Digital Open Television, being the first channel of public television in Argentina that transmitted in this standard.

"Modernizing the 11 Channel meant better working conditions for all the professionals in the industry, because if there is no investment or infrastructure, the dignity of work is lost because it does not have the necessary tools to carry it forward. That's why they had the support of the Argentine Television Union, "he said.

Carlos Dell Águila assured that there were no difficulties during the process because the governor of the province made the decision and had the necessary resources to advance this process of transformation, with which he quickly passed from the political decision to the execution, achieving be the first digitized 100 public channel and have a signal on the satellite with national coverage. The only drawbacks were in the importation of some equipment.

An important part of this project was the recovery of the capabilities of human resources, through a training plan in all areas that make up the production of content and the transmission of the signal, which also had the support of the Argentine Television Union .

"Public services must be provided efficiently and with quality. With quality through the infrastructure that is installed and be up to date with technology. And with efficiency from the training of the staff, who are the ones who, in the end, make the Canal visible. That is why the training of the personnel, close to 110 people, was included in the purchase of the equipment. Each manufacturer guaranteed the training and the staff did their part to achieve a good job, each area gave their suggestions and even participated in the design ", highlighted Carlos Dell Aguila.

After the process, today the channel is in a digitized 95%, there is only a pending 5% in specific issues and the analog signal is still on the air until the blackout in Argentina, which is scheduled for September of 2019.

"The cameras are Sony, both studio and outdoor, including an FS7 4K for outdoor production. We acquired a ForA production switcher from 16 channels. The central control has Sony technology, in sound we have an Allen & Heath console, the whole microphone is Sennheiser wireless, intake and emission systems, LED lighting in the two studios, an 460 Tricaster and we optimize the spaces to include 30 editing islands of last generation ", indicated the Director of the Channel.

The technological update also allowed to make innovation in content, being the great challenge for 2019. Producers are being formed to sustain the 80% content of total own production per day and live, shared with the 13 channel of Riogrande, which are linked by a fiber optic link.

In the city of Ushuaia there are more than 90 thousand inhabitants with a rather complex topographic system, with mountains, hills, making the propagation of the television wave difficult. The 90% of the territory of the city is covered by TDA and the 10% by satellite.

new platforms
Today the content production of the Canal is focused mainly on transmedia. They have a streaming channel on their website and upload all the programming. During the first year they had a million visits, which is why they are adapting to new platforms and consumer habits, reaching a much wider audience, always within the framework of providing a service.

Finally, the Director of Public Television Fueguina said that "the target audience of the Canal is very wide and varied. The programming reflects the culture of Tierra del Fuego and now with a national projection. Canal 11 is part of the Patagonian network of public television stations, a set of seven channels from all the Patagonian provinces, through which we exchange content, weekly news regional summary and we have co-productions with Televisión Pública Argentina, the national public channel " .

Richard St.
Author: Richard St.
Journalist from the University of Antioquia (2010), with experience in technology and economics. Editor of the magazines TVyVideo + Radio and AVI Latin America. Academic Coordinator of TecnoTelevisión & Radio.



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