For the next few weeks, Chicago Tonight will broadcast from a temporary studio as the regular set has its lights replaced with new energy-efficient lighting.
“We’re changing everything to LED lighting to conserve energy and make the station more energy-efficient and greener,” said WTTW/WFMT Chief Technology Officer Mark Jahnke.
On Friday, Phil Ponce, Brandis Friedman, and Paris Schutz stopped by the temporary studio as crew members adjusted the lighting.
Ponce said he was pleased with how the Chicago Tonight crew put together such an impressive set for their temporary studio.
"It's very comfortable," he said. "It’s more intimate, but that can translate to a more engaging experience for the audience.”
With all sorts of little parts and pieces of the plan to account for, the switch has been in the works for a little more than year.
“We did a couple of things,” Jahnke said about the past year of planning. “One, we had to test out manufacturers to see if we found one that met our needs--lights that had the right color temperature, were quiet enough for studio use, and didn’t interfere with any wireless systems or anything else that we have.”
Retrofitting both the studio and WTTW/WFMT offices is slated to be done by the end of December. The transition to a greener building was made possible by incentives from ComEd and a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation.
“It’s definitely cleaner lighting and looks brighter,” Jahnke said. “We have added functionality with it now, so if people in their offices would like to dim the lighting, they can.”
Every office in the building will also have occupancy sensors. If someone walks out and leaves their lights on, they will turn off on their own. And if they walk back in, the lights will turn back on. Even the bathrooms have the added technology--motion and sound detection in each room.