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WKYU first PBS station in U.S.A
to use new green LED studio lights

Gov. Beshear to be first guest to be interviewed
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News from Western Kentucky University

BOWLING GREEN - The television studio at Western Kentucky University's WKYU is the first PBS station in the country to use a new all LED (light emitting diode) lighting system, and only the second television station in the United States - public or private - to use this technology. The implementation of this new lighting system will reduce energy consumption by 97 percent.

Gov. Beshear will be interviewed today

When Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear visits WKYU-PBS for an interview today, June 2, he will be the first guest to face the lights in the station's new "green" studio lighting system. Beshear's interview will be the first time that a governor from any state has appeared in a studio lit exclusively by this cutting-edge, energy-saving technology.

The conversation with Beshear will air on WKYU-PBS on a special edition of Outlook with Barbara Deeb on Thursday, June 3, at 6:30pmCT.; on Sunday, June 6, at 6:30pmCT; and on Wednesday, June 9 at 11pmCT. Outlook with Barbara Deeb is a weekly local public affairs program produced by WKYU-PBS.

WKYU's studio lighting system has been completely rebuilt, replacing aging incandescent equipment with new LED instruments. The old studio lighting system was about 40 years old and regularly malfunctioned, suddenly flickering or dimming and taking several minutes to fully turn on. All of the old lights were incandescent tungsten instruments, manufactured mainly in the 1960s and early 1970s.

The system used specialized bulbs that were expensive to replace. The control panel looked like a huge old telephone switchboard, with knobs on retractable cords that plugged into a patch panel above. A lot of energy was wasted by heating up a filament to produce light and generating a lot of unnecessary heat (95 percent of the energy goes to heat production, with light as a by-product). The new LEDs directly and efficiently use energy to produce light, producing only a small amount of heat.

LEDs have several other advantages

LEDs have several other advantages. They last tens of thousands of hours and don't have a filament that will burn out. Expensive specialty bulbs are now a thing of the past, as no new bulbs will be needed - ever. The plastic lens covering makes them far more durable than glass. Plus, fewer studio lights are needed because they are more efficient, reducing power consumption by 97 percent on lights alone. And the old control panel is now replaced by a space and energy saving computer control.

Mainstream Tv does not yet have this technology

This technology for television is so new it is not yet being used by mainstream lighting designers. As recently as April 2009, color LEDs for television production were just starting to be manufactured. Senior Producer/Director David Brinkley did careful research to ensure the new LEDs could maintain WKYU-PBS' quality "look" for studio productions, while saving kilowatts. "We are leading the charge for energy efficiency in television production. Our studio is the only one of its kind at any university campus in the world. It serves as a model for the future generation of media professionals who are educated here."

And Brinkley says the WKU broadcast production students who work at WKYU-PBS are gaining an advantage that will be useful when they enter the "real world" job market. "Students at WKU now have the opportunity to use and study lights that were prototypes just a few months ago. WKYU-PBS is on the cutting edge of this emerging technology and we plan to showcase this studio model to all facets of the television industry," he said.

Second big energy-saving move of year

This is the second big energy-saving move in a year. "With the switch to our digital transmitter, we reduced our transmission power consumption by two-thirds," said WKYU's General Manager Jack Hanes.

"The implementation of this new cutting-edge, energy-saving lighting technology at WKYU-PBS affirms WKU as a leading American university with international reach," said Bob Owen, WKU's Vice President for Information Technology.

Tours of WKYU-PBS Studio A and the new LED lighting system may be arranged by contacting David Brinkley.

WKYU-PBS, channel 24.1 and Insight channel 11, is Bowling Green's local public television service, based at Western Kentucky University. WKYU-PBS broadcasts the only locally-based, locally-programmed public television service to south central Kentucky and northern Tennessee.

This story was posted on 2010-06-02 11:14:01
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David Brinkley with WKYU LED Lighting

2010-06-02 - Photo by Clinton Lewis. Bowling Green, KY
WKYU-PBS Senior Producer/Director, David Brinkley, demonstrates remote control of the new LED studio lights via an iPad. All of the 60 new LED lights used in WKYU-PBS' studio use less power than just two of the old incandescent lights.

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