KYFC-TV Master Control

An integral part of any television station is an are called Master Control (MC). The operator in this area has two primary duties. The first to to ensure the transmitter is operating correctly. Several pieces of equipment in the MC area were connected to an outdoor antenna so it could receive the off air KYFC-TV signal transmitted on channel 50. The operator would keep an eye on this gear to ensure everything was good in terms of audio and video signals. The operator also monitored the transmitter parameters, such as power, voltage, current, tower lights and make entries into an official log. See the photo below on the left of a transmitter log from June 24, 1984. For this log Andrew Bales was the first operator on duty. D.W. Haskins took over at 4:45 PM and ran the shift until 1:00 AM. The FCC had rules pertaining to log retention and these logs were kept for several years.

Back when KYFC-TV signed on the air FCC Rules required all persons in charge of the transmitter (i.e. taking the readings and turning the transmitter on and off) were required to hold a First Class Radiotelephone License from the FCC. Getting this license required a lot of study and required passing four elements that made up the exam. FCC Rules changed shortly after KYFC-TV signed on the air to where operators could operate with a non-technical lesser grade of license. This gave stations a lot more latitude in who they could hire for MC functions. A photo of the FCC First Class Radiotelephone License is shown below on the right.

The other duty of a MC operator was to put the programming on the air. Programming originated from either, videotape, film, live or received from satellite. The operator worked from a Program Log that was generated daily by the Programming Department of the station. The operator would log times into the program log when programs started and ended. It was also required by FCC Rules that the station insert station identification (ID) at the top of the hour and at the 30 minute point. As an example, the legal ID would be, “KYFC-TV, Kansas City.” Program logs were also retained for a time period required by FCC Rules.

The photo below shows the MC area within the technical center area. Videotape machines and film projectors were witn a few steps of the MC area. The operator would load up the videotape or film as needed and place it on the air at the scheduled time. The photo below has been marked to show the various purposes of the equipment related to MC. As you can appreciate the MC operator had a demanding job and be knowledgeable of the equipment, capable of getting programs on the air and ensuring the transmitter was operating pursuant to FCC Rules.

D.W. Haskin is shown above at the Master Control console

MC Operator, Ed Kurns, is shown switching programs. In the background Director James Holt is at the Videotape machine working on a production.

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