Customer Profile – WTOP Washington

We’ve talked in the past about customers who are happily using Burli Newsroom, and with good reason.  Newsroom is installed in hundreds of customers right around the world, and has been for years.  It’s still in active development, and much loved.

Today, we wanted to have a look at one of Burli’s earliest adopters of Burli NEWTOP in Washington, DC is one of our most long standing, happiest customers – even through the nascent days of NE’s infancy, which required more than a little patience on their part!

At the Eye of the Storm

To call Washington a busy news environment would be something of an understatement.  Even in what passes for relative calm in the capitol of the USA, producing 24 hour radio news content at the seat of power for one of the world’s most powerful nations could be a challenge.  2017 has also ushered in a brand new administration that hasn’t had the most rosy relationship with the press, only complicating things.  There’s not a lot of room for error these days.

WTOP manages their news wheel as a never ending cycle of hour long newscasts, each broken up into 10 minute sections, that never stops – ever.  Being able to edit content on the fly, share information, bring in multimedia sources, and many other items were high on their shopping list in 2013.  WTOP needed a newsroom management system that not only takes care of the basics, but gives them the room they need to go the extra mile – which they do every day.

We interviewed Brian Oliger, WTOP’s Manager of Technology, to talk about why he chose Burli NE over not only our competition, but over our own Burli Newsroom system too.  He had a lot to say about what it’s like being a customer of ours.

Finding a Fit

Oliger described the early days of the partnership between WTOP and Burli Software as carefully watching before committing.  They had observed Burli for quite some time, and kept in touch with us at annual tradeshows to see how Burli’s new software package, Burli NE, was coming along.  There were things about Burli Newsroom that they really liked (and eventually got as part of NE’s functions), but it wasn’t quite what they were after.  They were after something more robust, with more features.

Brian Oliger

“I had always kind of been pining for a solution that did everything in one software product,” Oliger said.  “One product that handled text, handled audio, could handle all these media types, photos, everything else, and would smooth out our workflow”.

That workflow, prior to Burli, was complicated.  WTOP employed separate software packages audio editing, text editing, photo editing, and playout.  Plus, all their news sources were coming from different places.  There was an extraordinary amount of copying, pasting, clicking, dragging, dropping, saving, moving… it all added up to what Oliger laughingly termed “workflow overhead”.  They were ready for something else.

Giving it a Try

In late 2013, WTOP installed Burli NE – and bravely met the challenges of being a very early adopter, and Burli’s very first North American customer for NE.  Things didn’t go as planned at launch, and there were a few performance tweaks required.  But they stuck with it and the potential NE offered, offering us feedback, technical collaboration, and access to their systems.  After a short while, we got things running properly at the site, and NE has been humming along ever since.

According to Oliger, the initial challenges were well worth his patience.  He believed NE could be “a one-product solution… and that’s exactly what it’s done!”.

On the Air

Now instead of tying together multiple systems into a complicated beast, they deal primarily with Burli.  Everything that goes to air comes through Burli first – it’s the heart of how WTOP goes through such a busy news schedule.

First, they are delighted to have all their news sources come into Burli in one place – from their reporters’ stories in the field, to the newswires, to RSS feeds and more, having it all come to the same place is a real time saver.  The fact that they can then do almost all their editing in that same environment is a big plus for them, really reducing that “workflow overhead”.

Oliger is very happy with the results.  “[When audio] is going to be played in 4 minutes and the editor says ‘Oh, there’s a dated reference in there, we’ve got to trim it out’, they just open it up right in the rundown, right in Burli, trim out the reference, and boom!  The updated version is ready to go on the air.”  Accomplishing the same result in their prior software ensemble was much more time consuming, and affected the quality of what went on air if the edit couldn’t be done in time.

In addition, all the media from those sources could be handled by NE – even Burli Newsroom doesn’t give them the ability to handle videos and PDF files.

And to top it all off, Oliger is still finding new things to be happy about in NE.  They only just recently started using the Audio Logger, and are pleased to be putting audio to air only moments after it’s recorded, which is handy for them when working with their local NBC TV affiliate.

Great Customers Deserve Great Service

We’re very happy to serve our customers well, as Oliger was all too happy to relate back to me.  Asked to describe WTOP’s relationship with Burli, he said, “Absolutely superb.  Fantastic.  One of, if not the best vendors we deal with!”.

When we asked him to talk about why that was, Oliger went on to say, “It’s easy when you’re dealing with an organization as dedicated as you guys [Burli] are”.

We’re pleased to have customers that can be treated as partners, and hope to work like that with you, too.  To learn more, come visit us at www.burli.com for more info, or email us to get in touch.

Please visit us at NAB 2017!  We’ll be at the show, at booth N6618 – we look forward to seeing you there.