Have you ever wondered what exactly makes television programs start playing at their allotted times? For Norfolk Community Television it's a piece of software called Leightronix. In confusing terms, Leightronix is a program that programs the programs. In simple terms, Leightronix is software that schedules when the programs and bulletin board start and stop.

Back in the day, every program was DVD based and Leightronix's job was to control when certain DVD players would start and stop playing. Luckily, these days everything is file based, making for a much simpler and succinct way to program.

So the following is how Leightronix acts as the final step to getting your programs broadcast on NCTV. First, after the all the necessary editing is done on a production, it is converted into a .mpg file. That file is then put on a flash drive and brought by hand to the Town Hall where it is placed into the computer that runs the Leightronix software. Then, the file is transferred over from the flash drive to any of the custom-named library's to organize the many files. From there, the file will be found in the library that it was put in and can then be placed in the schedule by simply dragging and dropping it in it's preferred timeslot. Timeslots and in and out points can be changed in a menu that shows up after dropping the file in its slot. The most important aspect of scheduling is to "Lock" the file at a certain time. Otherwise, every program would start one after the other whenever the last program ends and that would provide some random and unpredictable starting times. Locking allows us to have set schedules and times to advertise certain shows.

In addition to all that, the files will have a file name, of course, but they cannot contain spaces and are usually acronyms of what the program is, possibly with a date at the end. For example, an episode of Democracy Now! from March 9th would be called "dn2016-0309."  Naturally, that wouldn't look good on any TV guides, so Leightronix provides a section called 'Comment' in which it will change what appears in the Program Guide that is normally programmed to run immediately after the end of the show. So "dn2016-0309" turns into "Democracy Now! - March 9th." It's much easier to understand and more attractive on a guide than random letters and numbers.

Well, folks, that's the wonder of Leightronix. It is the heart of programming that pumps the lifeblood of programming (the shows) out to your homes each and every day. And as always, we would love to have your show be part of the schedule. Come on down to Norfolk Community Television on 158 Main St. in Norfolk!

AuthorAndrew Barker