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WKTV says out with the old...

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Children born the last time WKTV got a new news set are getting ready to drive right now. It was time for a new look on Smith Hill. 
  
"It's served us very well. Usually you want to replace your sets every 5-10 years, well we almost doubled that having it for 16 years and so much has happened on that set, so many stories that were told over that decade plus," says Station General Manager Steve McMurray.
    
After the morning news was finished Friday morning at 7am, deconstruction of the old set began. A decade and a half, dismantled in an hour and a half. The old WKTV set is headed to Herkimer County Community College to help train the next generation of broadcast journalists. Now, the WKTV studio looks like a large, empty garage.  But not for long.
  
"It is exciting because we don't see a new set very often. We saw one in 92 and that was the first set since probably some time in the early 70s.....oh it's going to be beautiful. Everybody's going to love it. It's going to be beautiful," says Chief Engineer Tom McNicholl. 
     
Perhaps the biggest challenge of the transition to a new studio, newsroom and  news set is on the shoulders of the engineering staff, which must troubleshoot daily problems and insure a smooth newscast amidst the temporary chaos of change. Sweeping, top to bottom, change. 
     
"Everything from the ceiling down is brand new even the floors are going to be redone, the lighting grids, everything on down through so it's the first time, actually some of the stuff we're taking out, it's the first time in 63 years it's been worked on," says Production Manager David Streeter.
  
The new news set was built in another state. The set designer is involved in the whole installation process.  Until the new set is installed, the news will be delivered from a makeshift set in the newsroom, just a few feet from the desks of the reporters and producers who write the stories. 
   
"You're going to see things moving around. You may have camera shots that don't get taken in the correct manner because someone hits them as they're moving something. So we ask for patience," says McMurray.
    
This evolution to a new, more modern news set, has brought visits and phone calls from former WKTV on-air staff, including former morning anchor Dick Lawler; a reminder that, no matter how much the news sets change, the ties that bind the broadcasters who've sat there through the years, remain constant. 
   
"Bill Worden actually texted me and said, 'you must be pinching yourself' and I am because it's so exciting you know, being in this chair now three or four months, seeing the changes that we made just in that short time," says McMurray.
    

The debut date for the new news set is August 4th.  

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