JAG’s Annual Conference Is Here – May 2024

by Geoffrey Belinfante, Conference Committee, Vice Chair

As the opening to the old soap opera declares: Like sand in an hourglass, so are the days of our lives. Well, those sands will soon run out, so if you haven’t signed up for the 2024 JAG Conference yet, you are rapidly running out of time. The conference is set to kick off at 8:00am on Thursday May 16 at the Crowne Plaza in Edison. And, if you’re not there, you’ll miss some exciting and informative sessions—not to mention a chance to socialize and network with both your fellow JAG Members and the teams from our Organizational Members.


The day starts with two users groups that you won’t want to miss. The first from TelVue starts at 8:00am and will showcase the latest improvements to the hardware and services that they provide—and best of all, breakfast will be provided.

This users group is followed by a similar users group presentation at 9:00am by Varto Technologies that will address improvements to Tri-caster technology and NDI distribution—and there will be breakfast at this users group too.


After the user groups, visit our exhibit floor, which opens at 9:00am and also offers the opportunity to have breakfast with our organizational partners. You can hear first-hand about the technical advancements they are offering. Members exhibiting include: TelVue, Varto Technologies, Cologna Productions, DeSisti Lighting, NewTek-TriCaster, LiveU, MyCaseBuilder, NJ Film Commission, Swit Electronics, Eiki Projectors & Panel Audio, JVC,G&G Technologies, Panasonic PTZ, Canon PTZ, and US-made Drones


At 10:00am we have a very interesting and informative panel presented by LiveU about their newly developed technology that helps facilitate communications between your office of emergency management (OEM) and your station during a crisis. This panel is important for both PEG station management and members of your municipality’s OEM. Both are invited to join us for this free workshop, so please invite anyone from your town who would be appropriate. Panelists include: Alex Joice, VP of Solution Sales Engineering, LiveU; John Centanni, OEM Director of East Hanover; Louis Venezia, Bloomfield Fire Chief; Luis Figueiredo, Detective Elizabeth Police Dept.; Doug Seidel, Piscataway, TV; Yervant Keshishian, Sales Engineer, Authorized Trainer and Technical Director, Varto Technologies; Moderator: Bob Duthaler, President of JAG.


Our luncheon comes next with a panel that addresses the importance of broadband deployment and what it means for the distribution of cable television in general and more specifically PEG channels. Panelists include: Robert Boyle, CEO, Planet Networks; Mike Wassenaar, President & CEO, Alliance for Community Media; Ken Fellman Esq., founder and partner, Wilson Williams Fellman Dittman; Valarry Bullard, Broadband Director, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities;  Moderator: Bob Duthaler, President, JAG.


After lunch you’ll have some decisions to make. At 1:30pm you can attend a panel on ADA Compliance and the initiatives from the DOJ in Washington that might require you to close caption your public meetings sooner rather than later.

Or you might want to check out a presentation from the NJ Motion Picture & Television Commission on the explosion of both theatrical and documentary production in the state and how your municipality and your station can benefit from all the money that production companies are spending in the state.

At 2:30pm there are more choices. One panel will explore new ways to communicate with your citizens, and a second will unravel the complex and ever-changing things you should know when renegotiating your franchise agreement with your cable provider.

3:30pm brings two more interesting and informative workshops to choose from—one on interviewing techniques that are sure to improve any production, and a second that explores the technical options available to help you conform to any closed captioning regulations that might come out of Washington.

Finally at 4:30pm, to end a busy and informative day there are two more panels to choose from. For those interested in the technical side of the business, we’ll explore some new, lighter and less expensive choices for your location shots. And for those interested in programing, we’ll explore new and unusual sources that you might have overlooked for show ideas.

For more information on any or all of these workshops and the names and bios of our presenters, please check out the conference website at www.jagconference.com .


Now that the work has been done, it’s time to socialize and network with your fellow attendees.  There’s a cocktail party sponsored by Cologna Productions starting at 5:30, followed by our banquet and JAG Awards presentation sponsored by Varto Technologies and LiveU.

The evening includes presentations of our Legislator of the Year Award to Senator Cory Booker and the Community Recognition Award to Lisa Allen, Council President, City of Summit. Additional awards include Serving Community Media Award, the President’s Ovation Award, and JAG Member Recognition Award.  Followed, of course, by the presentation of the JAG Awards recognizing excellence in PEG programming.

Thanks to our sponsors, TelVue, Varto, Planet Networks, LiveU, Cologna Productions and DeSisti for their support, and thanks to all those on the conference committee who have worked so hard to present you, the members of JAG, an exciting and informative conference. We need the support of all members to make this a success. Please join us.

Reminder, if you have interns, they can attend for free. If your township won’t pay for your attendance, scholarships are available.  Please contact Bob Duthaler.  We want as many JAG members as possible to take advantage of the events at this conference!

Registration is now open at  Shop – JAG Conference

For more information and session details, visit www.jagconference.com.