J Robertson, Managing Director – Ho’ike Kauai Community Television, Hawaii
When you choose to attend a community media conference you hope to be informed, engaged, inspired, and amazed.
For more than a decade I have had the unique pleasure of attending the annual JAG Conference known as the Eastern Video Expo. That experience has introduced me to new technology, production equipment, familiarity with vendors, skill development, political public policy practices, and a truly rewarding association with the people who regularly attend the gathering. Each year I look forward to a trip from the Garden Isle to the Garden State.
For the better part of the past year and a half life has transitioned to a not so realistic ZOOM life. Every Board meeting is on ZOOM, every council meeting, every community meeting, every family gathering and more. Life became a bunch of little boxes in a grid with mute buttons, screen shares, and a litany of background screens. Yes, I’ve seen your living room. One ends up blurry eyed with a migraine. Often these meetings are back-to-back on a never-ending cycle. The use of ZOOM has been a boon for communication and a tedious intrusion into time and space. It is also fraught with technical issues, failures, frozen panes, and bad connections. With an average of 5 ZOOM meetings a week and sometimes more the experience has been varied.
The Eastern Video Expo 2021 has reinforced my idea that ZOOM can and is a good tool. Being familiar with programs and virtual conferences for a while it was immediately apparent that the technical side of the Expo was in excellent hands. Doug Seidel over at Piscataway Community Television is remarkable. I watched as he juggled several simultaneous meetings, brought together social gatherings, managed the awards program, facilitated panels and the never-ending demand to add content via either video or power point. It was flawless. It was superb and the best technical display of pulling pieces together I have experienced. Doug and his team did an exemplary job in production. And for that matter the entire conference committee delivered an outstanding conference in all aspects. The topics, the panelists and the presentations were some of the best nationwide. Another impressive element was the knowledgeable and well-prepared moderators of each session. They continually fostered a cohesive discussion without straying off course.
The ability to execute the programs meant a meaningful experience at the conference. The knowledgeable panelists were showcased in the best fashion. The transitions were supremely smooth. The audio came through loud and clear. It was so perfect the attendees didn’t even notice, that’s how good it really was. One of the more interesting experiences was sitting on my lanai in Hawaii (yes early in the morning) listening to an outstanding music composer describe editing and sound while in England – brought together by folks in New Jersey. And it is true that a panel I participated in started at 4am Hawaiian Time but that was fun considering the other members of the panel and the attending audience.
The best part of this conference is each and every one who attends, along with access to the best vendor selection. This conference brings people together with an emphasis on delivering valuable information and access to the developing technology. All made possible by the Conference Committee and the JAG Leadership.
This conference brought back so many wonderful memories of years past while getting to reconnect with my dear friends in the JAG organization and the conference planning group. To see and speak with vendors was terrific. It was also a platform to thank those vendors who kept us running with advanced technology while taking the pandemic head on. I miss the annual trek to New Jersey, the friends I’ve made through the years, the associations, and the loads of fun during the events. It is my true hope to attend the 2022 Eastern Video Expo in person to continue to build these relationships, learn more, and experience the wonderful nature of the people of the Jersey Access Group.