NBC 5, then known as WBAP-TV signed on as Texas’ first television station in 1948 founded by legendary Fort Worth booster and Fort Worth Star-Telegram owner Amon G. Carter Sr. Now, 65 years later, the station is starting anew with cutting edge technology but maintaining a link to the the past. On Tuesday, NBC 5 cut the ribbon on a new 75,000-square-foot broadcast and multimedia facility on – fittingly enough – 4805 Amon Carter Boulevard in east Fort Worth. The new location is in the CentrePort Business Park, just south of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Fort Worth. Yes, David Finfrock, Deborah Ferguson and Newy Scruggs are getting a new home.
“It’s fitting that the facility is located on a street named in honor of our founder Amon Carter,” said Tom Ehlmann, NBC 5 president and general manager. “We worked closely with the city of Fort Worth to remain in the city, yet locate in a more centralized location to better serve all the communities of North Texas.” Even the new facility’s address – 4805 – pays tribute to the station’s history. The “48” honors the first broadcast year, and “05” to recognize NBC-5. Other nods to the station’s heritage include subtle design elements like refurbished antique studio lights from the original WBAP-TV studios are used to accent the building’s interior.
The new facility, named The Studios at DFW, is specifically designed to provide reporters, editors and producers with the latest technology to collect, interpret and report news and data 24-hours a day on a variety of distribution platforms including NBC 5, Telemundo 39, COZI TV, NBCDFW.COM and Mobile DTV. It is quite a change from the 65-year-old building on Broadcast Hill built in an era of black-and-white television sets, The Honeymooners and rabbit ear antennas. NBC 5 has apparently long been on the cutting edge – when WBAP-TV signed on the air Sept. 27, 1948 on Broadcast Hill, it was the first facility in the southwestern U.S. specifically designed for television.
The facility contains three high definition control rooms operating four production studios, which are supported by a 4,000 square foot data center containing nearly half a petabyte of online media storage. The media operations center manages over 500 video sources for distribution throughout the building. Patrick Daly, director of technology for TI Broadcast Solutions, the systems integrator for the project, said the goal was to have the station and its new information technology infrastructure up and running in time for the Winter Olympics on NBC. “That was the goal, because they want to be able to show what they can do with this technology,” he said. The city of Fort Worth gave the station an 85 percent tax abatement of real and business personal property taxes over 25 years, worth about $2.5 million. At one point the station was rumored to be headed to Irving.The new facility will consolidate about 300 employees, combining NBC 5 facilities in east Fort Worth and Dallas at the 8.1 acre site in Fort Worth. NBC 5 partnered with several companies in developing the facility: KDC Real Estate Development & Investments was the project developer, Adolfson & Peterson Construction was the general contractor, Corgan Associates Inc. was the project architect, TI Broadcast Solutions Group as noted above, Business Interiors did the obvious and Cushman & Wakefield handled the real estate transaction. Gary Collett and Matt Heidelbaugh with Cushman & Wakefield were the real estate brokers.
The interior design maximizes natural light and open space, featuring north facing clerestory windows and glass front offices, according to Stephen Elwood, project architect at Corgan in Dallas. A creative mix of old and new with design elements like reclaimed barn wood featured throughout the space adds a feeling of warmth to the high-technology setting. The reclaimed barn wood is from an old tobacco barn from Kentucky. The wood is located in various meeting and open spaces throughout the east side of the building. In addition to NBC 5, the facility houses Telemundo 39/KXTX-TV and several other smaller businesses associated with NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC 5. For instance, the site houses one of four offices of NBC Universal Syndication Group, which offers programs like the Steve Harvey Show, and ArtWorks, an NBC-owned group that provides graphics to NBC-owned stations around the country.