ZNS Upgrades To Digital
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie said, on December 28, 2012, that the upgrade of ZNS’ television facilities from analog to digital reaffirms the Government’s commitment to providing the necessary and best tools for effective communication in today’s world.
“There can be no doubt whatsoever that the Corporation has contributed significantly to the unity and national development of our Family Islands, scattered as they are over 100,000 square miles of ocean,” Prime Minister Christie said, during the ZNS Television Digital Upgrade Ceremony at the property on Rusty Bethel Drive.
Among those present for the ceremony were Minister of National Security with responsibility for the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas (BCB) Dr. the Hon. B.J. Nottage, Minister of Social Services the Hon. Melanie Griffin, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Financial Services and former Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Mr. Harrison Thompson, Chairman of the Broadcasting Corporation of the Bahamas Rev. Dr. William Thompson, other members of the Board of Directors, former chairmen and managers of the BCB – including former chairman Mr. Calsey Johnson, former ZNS general manager Mr. Charles Carter and former chairman and news director Mr. Mike Smith, former Minister of National Security with responsibility for the Bahamas Broadcasting Corporation Tommy Turnquest, former ZNS journalists, CEO of Jones Communications Network Mr. Wendall Jones and present on-air personalities and staff members.
Prime Minister Christie said that, over the years, ZNS has provided an essential service as a reliable source of news, information and entertainment to countless of Bahamians, during good times and in times of disaster.
He added that it has also trained the first professional Bahamian broadcasters in the country, many of whom continue to be consummate examples in the field of broadcasting, in both the private and public sectors of the industry.
“During its existence, ZNS has sought to keep pace by utilising the latest broadcast technology to ensure the effectiveness of the station,” Prime Minister Christie said.
“Today ZNS continues this tradition. The transformation of ZNS television into a world-class digital broadcast facility is underway.”
Prime Minister Christie added that the transformation from analog to digital format is mandated by the fact that the worldwide communications environment, particularly with respect to television, has undergone a conversion to digital technology.
“To keep pace, it is critical that ZNS continues to upgrade its obsolete analog television facility into a modern digital format,” he said.
Prime Minister Christie stated that the process formally commenced in 2004. However, it was not until November 2011 that The Government of the Bahamas approved a total of $5 million for ZNS television digital upgrade. A $2.5-million contract, he added, was subsequently awarded December 13, 2011, to Kit Digital Inc., a global television integration company for design and installation of the first phase of the project there at Harcourt “Rusty” Bethel Drive.
The second phase of the project, he noted, will encompass ZNS’ Freeport, Grand Bahama facility and will commence shortly.
“It is expected that this upgrade to a digital format will provide significant improvement in the quality of ZNS and the Parliamentary Channels on-air presentations on the Cable Bahamas system in particular; increased capacity for staff to produce high quality, interesting local programmes for the benefit of ZNS’ public in an improved work environment and reductions in the Corporation’s operational and maintenance costs,” Prime Minister Christie said.
As a sovereign nation, he said, The Bahamas has to be concerned about providing programme content that reflects the needs and aspirations of its citizens on radio, television and the web. This is particularly important in news, current affairs, entertainment and educational programming, he added.
“We know that well produced, thoughtful local programming – especially for television – is expensive,” Prime Minister Christie said. “ZNS will, therefore, have to be creative and innovative in how it goes about funding and ensuring the production of quality local programmes that are culturally relevant to The Bahamas.
“My Government has challenged the new Executive Chairman of the Board and his Directors at the Corporation to make the changes necessary to provide a fresh approach to ZNS programming.”
Prime Minister Christie said that the Government fully expects the Corporation to improve the national one-hour television newscast, produce quality local programmes and enhance the station’s on-air production quality in order to return ZNS to its preeminent position as the news and programme leader.
“ZNS is, therefore, charged to re-energise and restructure to produce innovative and exciting new programmes on radio and television that would capture its audience’s attention, appeal to sponsors and drive revenue,” he said.
“We believe that the staff is fully capable of creating exceptional programmes,” he added. “They have done so in the past.
“The new digital technology provided will serve to augment the talent, creativity and work of the staff when it comes to production of local programmes. We, therefore, fully expect that the programming on ZNS television will be improved and extended to provide more opportunities for quality productions.”
Prime Minister Christie said that, to get the ball rolling, ZNS has updated its technology.
“We look forward to Bahamians everywhere benefiting from the improved digital quality of ZNS’ television programmes,” he said.
“We invite you to stay tuned.”
By Eric Rose
Bahamas Information Services