Getting the Programming from Studio to Transmitter

KYFC-TV used a private microwave link, licensed by the FCC, to get the programming from the studio at 4715 Rainbow, Kansas City, KS to the tower site about 4.2 miles away in Kansas City, MO. This is one of those “behind the scenes” activities that viewers are unaware of. Learn about how this is done along with a surprise that occurred in 1987 by clicking the link above or the icon to the right.

Studio - Transmitter Link

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© 2023 Joe Snelson

KYFC-TV Studio and Technical Facilities

In order to produce local television programming for KYFC-TV a studio was constructed over the top of the current office building and in front of the auditorium where Saturday night rallies were held. The new structure also housed the technical gear to support production and airing of program material.

Above is the KCYFC facility. The original office building is in the foreground. The auditorium was added later. The new studio was constructed over the office building.

Inside the auditorium where the Saturday night rallies were held.

Below is a photo of the KCYFC complex showing the studio addition.

A television studio must have the capability of powering many lights that are used for a production. Most of the lights are hung on an iron pipe lighting grid that is suspended from the ceiling. Hundreds of receptacles hang from an electrical raceway attached to each pipe on the grid. The lighting grid is shown in the photo below with a light being adjusted towards a set. If you look closely you will see receptacles hanging from the grid. Each receptacle is on its own dedicated circuit so it can be independently controlled as being off, on or dimmed.    

Each individual circuit terminates into the large device shown in the lower half of the photo below. This is called a lighting patch bay. It somewhat looks like an old telephone switch board. The plugs in the top of the patch bay are connected to each circuit on the grid. This makes it possible to place multiple lights on one circuit or dimmer. Each one of these plugs has a lead weight attached to it inside the panel so the cords retract when not in use. With the number of circuits available with each having a lead weight this patch bay weighs over 7,000 pounds! You can see workers preparing to run the hundreds of wires from the receptacles to the patch bay.  

In the photo above Joe Snelson, Chief Engineer, is shown standing behind the control console that turns lights on, off or dims them. The patch bay is shown behind him. Joe recalls the challenge in getting the patch bay up to the studio. When it arrived it had been shipped on a pallet by truck. Belger Cartage was hired to do the offloading. Belger provided a fork lift to offload the patch bay from the truck to the auditorium stage door. The fork lift then lifted it up to the studio through a landing that had been constructed outside the studio and over the stage floor of the auditorium. A photo of the landing is shown on the right looking down onto the stage. The railing was removable so large items that were to big for the elevator could get to the studio.

KYFC-TV General Manager, David Lewis, is standing at the area designated as Master Control. This is where programs are switched to go to the transmitter for airing. Click the icon at the right to learn more about this area.

In the foreground is video control. The operator that sits here controls the three color studio cameras. He ensures the televised images have the correct exposure and color. For those technically inclined click the icon on the right to see the controller that is used.


Above is a photo of 3 AMPEX AVR-2 Quadruplex Video Recorders. These 3 machines recorded the audio and video coming for the video and audio control rooms on magnetic tape that is 2” wide. Monitoring equipment is shown in the equipment rack near the center of the photo.

Joe Snelson, Chief Engineer, is shown sitting in front of one of the machines. Judging by the manual in his lap and a telephone in the left hand he is most likely on the phone with AMPEX discussing an issue a machine is having.

Above, Joe is shown checking signal parameters on an instrument called a waveform monitor. This row of equipment racks holds the switching and electronic support gear for the station. It is sometimes referred to as the tech core. The camera control units for each of the 3 studio cameras is in the foreground. The person adjusting the cameras, called a Video Control Operator, uses the two precision color monitors in the racks to the left of Joe to visually access the picture quality and adjust the cameras as necessary.

The photos above show the studio in the full production mode. It typically took around 7 people to staff a production. This included a director, camera operators, audio technician, video operator plus other non-technical staff (e.g. Producer, musicians, etc).    

Video & Audio Control Rooms

Studio equipment selection and ordering began in late 1977. Cameras, video tape recorders, production switcher and other equipment arrived in February, 1978. Up to now, the KCYFC program Christ Unlimited was produced at the CBS affiliate in Kansas City, KCMO-TV. Once equipment arrived a make shift control room was placed in a small room in back of the KCYFC auditorium that served as a guest room. What furniture was there was removed and the camera controls along with the production switcher and a video tape recorder were “sandwiched” in the room. It was tight, but it worked. The cameras were set up in the auditorium. From that point on production could be done at the KCYFC campus instead of having to pay production costs at KCMO-TV. Production continued this way until construction of the studio and technical area was complete.

Technical Center & Master Control

Tony Stevens is operating the Neotek audio console. To his left a cartridge tape player is shown on top of a cabinet. This device played tapes similar to the old car 8-track players (for those that know what they were)

Andrew Bales is seated behind the Vital video production switcher. Note the monitors in front of him. There is a monitor for each camera and tape machine. In this photo Andrew is the Director/Technical Director and selects what camera or tape machine goes on the air or gets recorded onto videotape. He also has control of graphics and other imaging devices to his left. He directs the camera and crew on what to do using his headset.

Shown above: David Lewis, Al Metsker and Ronnie Metsker are reviewing the drawings for the new studio addition

Joe Snelson shares a story that happened not long after excavation began for the basement offices of the new studio edition. Around early September, 1977 excavation had started for the basement area directly in front of the existing office complex. A hole of about 10 feet deep had been dug for the new basement offices. On September 12 late afternoon I was getting ready to head home. I was talking to some people in the KCYFC parking lot, one of whom would be my future wife. I noticed a storm was brewing and said goodbye as I wanted get home before it cut loose. Within about 30 minutes it indeed did cut loose. I am referring to the infamous 1977 Brush Creek Flood. As we entered the weekend I was driving by KCYFC headquarters and noticed the front was all lit up. I wondered what was going on. When I looked closer I saw that the entire front of the office building was gone! It had collapsed into the hole that was dug due to the extreme rain we had that week. It had saturated the ground and the building footings had given way. I parked my car and went inside. We were in a damage control mode, literally. We grabbed lumber to put up temporary shoring to keep the roof from collapsing. What we did worked. A temporary plywood building front was constructed and held us over until the new addition was completed. There were some close calls during construction as we would experience occasional cave-ins as the ground under the office building was drying out. We quickly got the basement wall poured which stopped that problem.

Studio Production

Studio Lighting

A lot of maneuvering took place but we finally got it on the landing. Next was to get the patch bay in place. We placed the patch bay on 1-1/2” iron pipe so we could roll it into the studio. That was a pretty successful adventure. With the patch bay now close to where we wanted it the next step was to get it off the pallet. This effort was being headed up by Bob Armstrong, KCYFC Construction Superintended with 3 workers assisting him. I can’t recall the exact chain of events but in trying to inch the patch bay off the pallet it got away from us. This unit weighed 7,000 pounds and was top heavy. When it began to tip Bob knew there was no way to hold it. He yelled out something like, “Stand clear!” We got out of the way and the patch bay tipped over. When it hit the floor it sounded like a bomb exploding! After a moment of silence staff from the office below came running up the stairs to see what happened. When Dr. Al came up he was afraid he would find somebody seriously injured or worse. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, just a little shaken up. In days to come we were able to get the patch bay stood up, anchored down and connected to power. We did have a crew do an inspection under the studio floor to ensure no structural damage occurred when the massive patch bay fell. No damage was found.