Independent Producers’ Guidelines

Criteria for Programs

This guide is designed to assist you in understanding some of the criteria on which WSKG reviews local programming. It is helpful if you have answered most, if not all, of these criteria in advance of presenting your project idea or completed program to WSKG.

WSKG’s production and programming priorities:

  • New York State and Pennsylvania stories (bonus with a national interest)
  • Education and Life-Long Learning
  • Arts and Entertainment
  • Health and Fitness
  • Science and Agriculture
  • Diversity and Social Issues

WSKG places special emphasis on project ideas that relate to the WSKG service area of Upstate New York and Pennsylvania’s Northern Tier – their land, history and people.

WSKG’s criteria for evaluating proposals:

  • Does the program fit within and further WSKG’s Mission?
  • Is there a need for this type of program?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • What is the value to funders?
  • Are there similar projects under development already in the system?
  • Is there a potential national PBS interest for this production?
  • Does the program have primetime potential?
  • Where applicable, what is the quality of on-air creative talent, writer, and director associated with the project?
  • Does the project have added benefits that go beyond the broadcast:
  • Outreach potential
  • Cross-platform ideas
  • Educational/Instructional Companion Materials
  • Video or book sales
  • Pledge potential

How does an Independent Producer work with WSKG?

Video
Audio
Online

Video

Submissions for broadcast on WSKG TV should be sent to the Director of TV Operations and Programming along with a synopsis, key personnel biographies, a complete list of funding sources and any additional materials you feel may assist in the assessment of the program for potential broadcast. All programs must be of broadcast quality and will be evaluated by station engineers.

WSKG File Submission Specifications

r3.3   2013-11-04 EA

Files will be accepted by FTP, with server provided by the submitter, for short form content only or by a delivered external hard disk (with USB 2.0 or IEEE1394 interface) or by DVD.  Physical media submitted will not be returned unless arranged for and agreed to in advance.

For HD:

  • All audio must comply with ATSC A/85 with a dialnorm of (-)24 LKFS.  Tolerance is +2dB/-3dB.
  • Video must be provided as 16:9 1920 x 1080i59.94.  Video shall be 4:3 center-cut safe with appropriate safe-title and safe-action areas.
  • All content over 5 minutes in length must contain CEA 608 compliant closed captions.

If possible, please provide the following preferred format*:

Container: MXF OP1a self-contained

Video: 1920x1080i59.94 XDCAM HD 422 @ 50 Mbps MPEG2

Timecode: MXF wrapper timecode

Audio:

  • 14 tracks shall be present and contained as 24-bit 48kHz Linear PCM pairs.  Unused tracks shall be silent. 
  • Stereo audio shall always be present on Channels 1 (Left) and 2 (Right).  If 5.1 is to be provided, provide a stereo downmix on channels 1 and 2. 
  • If 5.1 is to be provided, it shall be present on Channels 3 – 8 in the following order:  Left Front, Right Front, Center, LFE, Surround Left, Surround Right.
  • Channels 9 and 10 shall be silent.
  • If Spanish audio or an alternate Secondary Audio Preference is to be provided, it shall be present (either in stereo or joint mono) on channels 11 and 12
  • If DVI is to be provided, it shall be present (either in stereo or joint mono) on channels 13 and 14
  • Channels 15 and 16 shall be silent if present.

Captions: If present, CEA 608 line 21 (CC and XDS) data shall be carried in a SMPTE 334-1- and -2-2007-compliant ANC packet within a SMPTE 436M-2006-compliant VBI/ANC GC Element, using 8 bit encoding.  If present, CEA 708B DTV captioning data shall be carried in a SMPTE 334-1- and -2-2007-compliant ANC packet within a SMPTE 436M-2006-compliant VBI/ANC GC Element, using 8 bit encoding.

* If the preferred format cannot be met, this spot is to be tagged, or there are questions,  please provide the following format (we will transcode this to the preferred format):

Container: MOV self-contained

Video: 1920x1080i59.94 XDCAM HD 422 @ 50 Mbps MPEG2

Audio:

  • The same track order is used as the preferred format but all 16 tracks need not be present.  Audio that is present must however be contained on the appropriate pairs in Linear PCM format at 48kHz and 16 or 24 bit depth. 
  • Stereo audio shall always be present on Channels 1 (Left) and 2 (Right).  If 5.1 is to be provided, provide a stereo downmix on channels 1 and 2. 
  • If 5.1 is to be provided, it shall be present on Channels 3 – 8 in the following order:  Left Front, Right Front, Center, LFE, Surround Left, Surround Right.
  • Channels 9 and 10 shall be silent if present.
  • If Spanish audio or an alternate Secondary Audio Preference is to be provided, it shall be present (either in stereo or joint mono) on channels 11 and 12
  • If DVI is to be provided, it shall be present (either in stereo or joint mono) on channels 13 and 14
  • Channels 15 and 16 shall be silent if present.

Captions: If required, please contact us about providing closed captions for this format.

We can also accept spots to be tagged as DVCProHD MOVs with stereo audio.  We will not accept spots that are not to be tagged in this format. 

In the event a producer has a question about an acceptable format, we encourage them to contact us before beginning work on the production. Standard lengths of 26:46, 56:46, 1:26:46 or 1:56:46 are preferable. WSKG generally makes an in-house dub of the program for air and returns the original tape to the producer.

All films will be screened and a response given to the producer within 6 to 8 weeks. If a program is accepted for broadcast on WSKG TV, a license agreement will be negotiated with the Independent Producer.

In most cases, due to our limited resources, WSKG TV does not purchase programs from Independent Producers. In consideration for presenting your program to a statewide audience, we request ‘Standard’ broadcast rights. These grant WSKG the right to broadcast the program for four releases over a period of three years from the first date of broadcast. Other broadcast rights may be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. In some rare cases, WSKG will offer a modest fee for broadcast rights. As copyright holder, the Independent Producer remains solely responsible for clearing any and all rights for WSKG TV broadcast of the program.

In the event WSKG TV schedules a statewide broadcast of your program, there is potential for sale of home video and other program-related ancillary products to viewers. This will require the Independent Producer to create a Product Offer within the credits of the program according to standard PBS guidelines (which will be clarified before completion of the license agreement). Generally, WSKG does not share in these revenues.

To meet the print deadline for the WSKG monthly program guide and to allow adequate time for promotion of programs, the broadcast schedule is locked six to eight weeks in advance. Generally, licensed programs are first aired between six months to one year after the execution of the license agreement. WSKG may contact the producer once the program has been scheduled. Producers are always welcome to contact WSKG Director of Programming to inquire about the status of their programs.

Audio

Submissions for broadcast on WSKG and WSQX Radio should be sent to the Director of Radio Operations and Programming, along with a synopsis, key personnel biographies, a complete list of funding sources and any additional materials you feel may assist in the assessment of the program for potential broadcast.

Submissions for broadcast on WSKG Radio must be of an aural quality comparable to other programming heard on WSKG Radio. Ideally, submissions are in .wav format. Programs must be of standard broadcast length (58 to 59 minutes).

Freelance journalists, who work on very tight deadlines, are occasionally employed by WSKG News.  All submissions should be done in a public radio news style and story pitches should be made to our managing editor for consideration. If you’re interested in employment as a freelance journalist, please contact our managing editor.

WSKG staff will make every effort to evaluate and respond to independent submissions. At all times, WSKG Radio programmers reserve sole discretion to accept or reject independent submissions based on the criteria listed above, availability of broadcast time and timeliness of the content.

The content must fall within WSKG Radio’s current format and align with WSKG’s mission, vision and ethical standards. Content must be original, properly licensed or fall under the definition of “fair use”. News and pubic affairs content must adhere to the standards presented in the RTDNA Code of Ethics.

Online

WSKG solicits community submissions for various online activities throughout the year. Content and quality guidelines vary per project. Please visit our various social media accounts to see the most recent community call-outs.

If you would like to submit a video or audio project primarily for online use, please review the above guidelines. If you have an idea for a web-original multimedia project, please submit a synopsis, key personnel biographies, a complete list of funding sources and any additional materials you feel may assist in the assessment of the project to the Director of Digital Strategy.

More Information

While our technical and human resources are limited, WSKG is always interested to hear about a program idea you may have. We encourage Independent Producers to contact WSKG with projects in development or projects already in production, but in need of assistance for completion.

WSKG can often provide advice on fundraising, technical considerations, methods of distribution and a variety of other helpful tips on the process of bringing a project to air. An Independent Producer may request a Letter of Support from WSKG (more info below). Sometimes a program in development can become a co-production opportunity with WSKG. As a co-producer, the station shares responsibility for fundraising, production services, copyright and editorial content. Stations cannot make outright grants of funds for productions. A co-production relationship between a station and an independent producer requires a contractual agreement. Independent Producers are welcome to contact the station with their project in development or already in production.

WSKG will consider writing letters in support of selected independent projects. These letters expressing WSKG’s interest in the project, knowledge of the producer, and intention to broadcast the program upon completion, can be helpful to the Independent Producer in the search for funding sources. Generally the Director of Programming will review the proposal, treatment, and any other materials provided. A letter will be issued to the producer, assuming a favorable evaluation of the subject matter, potential interest for the WSKG’s audience and a judgment that the producer is capable of completing the program.

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