Upgrades made to TV Mass signal

FORT WAYNE — “It’s been a rough year for the regular watchers of the Televised Mass in Fort Wayne, and even rougher on those that produce and broadcast the long-running program,” said Sean McBride, director of communications for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and producer of the TV Mass.

Technical issues have plagued the broadcast for nearly a year and in that time multiple solutions were tried and no headway was really made, until very recently when WFFT-TV made a very large capital investment to install a new style of microwave transceiver that allows direct communications between the station and the chapel at the University of Saint Francis, where the broadcast originates.

“I think we turned a corner recently when we were able to get the third party technology provider out of the mix, and do things ourselves,” McBride said. “I feel fortunate that we have a broadcast partner like WFFT who not only stuck with us and worked hard right beside us, but in the end, decided to invest in this ministry.”

McBride likes the direction the upgrade has taken.

“This new system of broadcasting eliminates a third-party data-services provider that was not responsive to our technical challenges and now allows us total control of the signal,” he said. “We’ve already seen improvements in the signal strength and resolution quality.”

While the system continues to be tweaked and honed, both parties admit that it isn’t perfect, and may never be, but it is a vast improvement to what viewers were experiencing before.

Before the upgrade, “the screen would go black, or freeze, on multiple occasions in one broadcast. It was maddening!” said McBride.

WFFT-TV General Manager Bill Ritchhart said, “WFFT Local is honored to partner with the diocese to televise the Catholic TV Mass each Sunday. We recognize this is an important service for our viewers in northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio who are unable to attend Mass to still be able to connect with their faith.”

Posted on April 7, 2014, to: