New State-of-the-Art Facility Further Links Yale to the World

The University has made another advance into the Information Age with the launching of its new Yale Broadcast & Media Center, a state-of-the-art facility that will further allow it to share its educational resources and treasures with the world.

The new center, located at 135 College St., combines television, radio and media production services within an 8,000-square-foot central production studio just blocks from Yale’s central campus. It unites two former production studios on campus — one on the central campus at 59 High St. and the other at the School of Medicine — in one re-designed and renovated space. In decades past, the facility housed the television and radio operations of WTNH and WNHC.

Working closely with the Yale Office of Public Affairs, the Yale Broadcast & Media Center provides live satellite transmissions featuring Yale affiliates and notable campus visitors to broadcasters around the world, including CNN, BBC, Sky News, French 24 and Al Jazeera, among others. Over the past year the center has also partnered with the University’s Office of Digital Dissemination in the development and launch of netcasts for Yale iTunes U, an ever-expanding series of downloadable audio recordings of faculty lectures, performances, medical discussions, sports reports and more.

In addition, the award-winning team at the new center produces documentaries and interactive media, and provides duplication, streaming and encoding services. The facility is under the auspices of the Yale Center for Media and Instructional Innovation (CMI2), part of the University’s Information Technology Services (ITS).

“The new Yale Broadcast & Media Center allows us to better serve the entire campus in the production and distribution of audio and video content,” says Paul Lawrence, director and executive producer of CMI2. “It’s a tremendous investment for Yale, as it allows us, under one roof, to produce very high-quality digital content in a range of popular media, and to share it with audiences around the world.”

The center was designed to meet current broadcast specifications, as well as emerging technologies including high definition television, Web streaming and broadband video delivery. It features two fully digital television production studios (equipped with teleprompters), as well as a videoconferencing studio, a radio studio and a “green room” where studio guests can prepare for production. A street-level netcasting studio overlooking College Street is scheduled to open in the summer. The new facility was designed by Gregg Wies & Gardner Architects.

In the past year, Yale’s media production team served as the technical leaders for more than 250 television and radio events, and for hundreds of netcast recordings in the studio and at other campus venues, according to John Schilke, associate director of the Yale Broadcast & Media Center. In recent years, the team has produced broadcasts or netcasts with such campus notables as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair; former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; former Pakistani President Benazir Bhutto; Yale alumnus and political commentator David Gergin; U.S. Senators Joseph Lieberman and Christopher Dodd; New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman; and Al Jazeera English journalist Riz Khan, to name just some. A number of Yale administrators and many faculty members have also been frequent users of the broadcast studio.

“We have a few faculty members, experts in their fields, who are in the studio on an almost-daily basis,” adds Schilke.

One frequent studio guest is Robert Shiller, the Arthur M.?Okun Professor of Economics and professor at the School of Management. He says the Yale Broadcast & Media Center’s new studios “represent a big boost to our connectedness to the increasingly electronic world.”

“These facilities are really state-of-the-art,” he adds.

The new Yale Broadcast & Media Center supports the University’s initiative to become a global university by disseminating the work of faculty researchers and scholars around the world via television broadcasts, radio and netcasts, note Lawrence and Schilke.

With its state-of-the-art technology, the center can deliver digital content to everything from mobile phones to the Web, television and radio. It regularly produces custom content featuring Yale events for the Web broadcasting channel YouTube.

“Since the University’s first live television broadcast a decade ago, the world has changed drastically in the way people get their news and information, listen to music and other audio content, or enjoy movies and television programs,” notes Lawrence. “Audiences access much of their information and entertainment content using the Internet as well as Palm, Blackberry and Apple iPhone mobile devices. The new facility has the ability to broadcast in these emerging technology spaces, and we will continue to look at new ways of delivering digital content, working with ITS and Yale’s Office of Digital Dissemination.”

Although three times larger in square footage, the new center uses about half the energy of the former broadcast studios due to the deployment of newer and more efficient technology, Lawrence says.

“It’s a ‘greener’ space, and, along with that, it is located in what is becoming a creative hub of New Haven,” he comments. “We are located in the same building as Media Services Photo & Design, adjacent to the brand new Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School, and not far from the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale Center for British Art, the Yale Repertory Theatre and Yale’s art and architecture schools. In the future, the Long Wharf Theatre will also be in the neighborhood.

“It’s terrific that Yale has brought the former WNHC/WTNH space back as it has such a rich history in New Haven broadcasting,” Lawrence continues. “Those former studios were well-known in the community until they moved to their current State Street home in the 1970s, leaving the space vacant for almost 30 years. The station was groundbreaking in the community, broadcasting the first locally originated programming and later the first color television transmission.”

According to Lawrence and Schilke, the Yale Broadcasting & Media Center has already earned its own reputation among universities for innovation and trailblazing.

“Other schools are using Yale as a model for their broadcasting initiatives, and many of our peer schools are envious — but also very proud — of our wonderful new facility,” says Lawrence. “It’s very exciting to be creating television, radio and audio content in this wonderful new space, and to hear the positive feedback from our audiences all around the world.”

In addition to the Yale Broadcast & Media Center, CMI2 is also responsible for developing leading-edge educational courseware and Open Yale Courses, and over­sees the deployment of Yale’s next-generation online learning environment, Classes*v2, an integrated set of Web-based tools for teaching, learning and sharing information. Further information on these and on the Yale Broadcast & Media Center can be found at http://cmi2.yale.edu.

Members of the Yale community are invited to an open house on Thursday, Feb. 26, at 135 College St. that will feature the Yale Broadcast & Media Center, CMI2 and the newly re-launched Media Services Photo & Design studios. The event will take place 4-6 p.m.

— By Susan Gonzalez

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