SANTA MARIA, Calif. -

Viewers probably won't notice it, but a $1 million technological investment goes on the air Wednesday morning as part of an ongoing upgrade for KCOY, KEYT and KKFX.  

"It gives the station a lot more local control for Fox, CBS and ABC together," said News-Press and Gazette Director of Operations Jim DeChant.  NPG owns KEYT and KKFX and provides technical and operational support for KCOY-TV.  

"You'll have more opportunities to serve the community, not only through more meaningful graphics and announcements, but also control when the stations run locally or remotely," DeChant said.

Until now, steps necessary to run programming for each of the stations were different, creating a confusing array of procedures necessary to record certain programs, air others live, or schedule the correct local commercials in a specific program.

Technicians are using technology which links station operations in Santa Maria, Santa Barbara and a television corporate hub in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Servers to store programs are placed in the station's Santa Maria facility.  A remote panel (pictured) is operational in Santa Barbara with a similar display in Colorado.

The new system standardizes procedures across all three television stations for live and recorded programming, emergency alerts, timing for network shows and the airing of live local newscasts.  It also allows faster responses to breaking news by giving local technicians full control over station broadcasting when there is an urgent need to switch to live coverage.

Most operations will be automated, streamlining the work flow for those who until now have had to start and stop programming on a manual basis.

"It will also free up local staff to do more news and less manual operations than just playing back programs," DeChant said.

The estimated price tag for the equipment tops $1,000,000. 

The system goes live at 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning.  If all goes well, viewers won't notice any differences, but it is possible some programs might have unexpected glitches as the system is fully integrated into the backbone of the stations' technology.