After three weeks of newscasts from various parts of WTAP's main office building, the station unveiled its new studio setting on its 11 p.m. newscast on Sunday, February 1.
"It's more beautiful and more functional than I could have ever imagined," said WTAP vice president and general manager, Roger Sheppard. "All of the architectural drawings and floor plans we've seen over the past couple of months just don't do it justice."
Designed by California-based and nationally-recognized studio designer, Gil Jimenez, the set was delivered in sections to WTAP on Jan. 19. It was constructed by a three-man crew, headed by Tom Bennett, of WKYT-TV, in Lexington, KY. Both WTAP and WKYT are owned by Gray Television Group, Inc.
WTAP's old studio sets were dismantled starting on Jan. 12, after temporary studios had been created in the station conference room. A temporary "weather center" was set up in an empty office.
"The studio was emptied of everything other than the concrete floor, lighting grid and soundproofing curtains," Sheppard said.
The floor was resurfaced and polished to a high luster. Electrical systems were upgraded and additional studio lighting was purchased and installed.
A lighting designer from Pittsburgh was brought in to light the finished product. WTAP also purchased three new studio cameras to enhance the appearance of reporters, anchors, and guests as well as the new set itself.
The set features several large format television screens from Big Sandy Superstore; other TV sets from Shadix Radio & TV; carpeting from Mark-Christopher Carpets and some furnishings from Belpre Furniture.
WTAP's affiliation with NBC is artistically displayed in various panoramic screens throughout the studio, designed by WTAP's creative services department. A new weather center and interview area are also included.
The wide-format (16:9) large-screen TVs are used in several locations, hinting at WTAP's HDTV service which will be available in the near future.
"We're very proud to put this set into service for the people of the Mid-Ohio Valley," Sheppard continued. "A newscast is more than just a set, it's people, it's video, it's a commitment to cover the news in a fair and interesting manner, but this new set will certainly be a showcase for the entire Mid-Ohio Valley."