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Arizona Horizon host Ted Simons poses with the new PBS set in the background.
By Lisa Diethelm
When Arizona PBS viewers tune in Monday, they’ll see the same trusted news professionals but with a bold, new background.
Studio B – the home of “Arizona Horizon,” “Break It Down” and “Catalyst” – has undergone a transformation over the past few months that includes a modern set design, new set lighting and updated monitors. The change was implemented so that different programs can create more engaging products for viewers, according to Digital Director Ebonye Delaney, who designed the space.
“The time viewers spend with us is precious. We want to create a look and a feel that invites them to be a part of the program. While the old set served Arizona PBS well for many years, we all agreed it was time for a change,” she said. “This new set not only looks more unique and more modern, but it also allows for more creativity in shot selection, technology usage, and versatility for our partners at Arizona PBS.”
Executive Producer Allysa Adams said the remodeled space can enhance what Arizona PBS can do with the station’s and Cronkite’s news programs.
“The new set gives us a chance to update both the look and feel of our shows and add some new technology. It's not only a set for ‘Horizon’/‘Horizonte’ – it was designed to be multipurpose and flexible so that entities across AZPBS, ASU and outside clients can customize looks for their needs,” she said.
The original launch date for the new set was planned for April 2020. Studio B was cleared for preparations but production halted when COVID-19 forced Arizona State University – including the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication where Arizona PBS is located – to transition to a remote environment.
Now that the Cronkite School and Arizona PBS are producing newscasts both remote and in-person, the process for moving all of the new materials into Studio B is complete.
“The build and rehearsal process has been multi-phased. And COVID precautions means we are taking a slow approach,” Adams said. “Rehearsals, for instance, have been a week-long process, gradually bringing in more staff as we ramp up production.”
The studio will continue to follow the same COVID-19 safety protocols already implemented in the Cronkite building. Adams said Arizona PBS is thrilled about offering a more polished product with the new studio.
“After a year of working remotely, we are all excited to work together in person. Coming back to a new set full of possibilities feels like a positive way to move forward,” she said.