By Cindy Hahn, Executive Director, C-NET, State College, PA
I have to confess…..I didn’t know if it would work.
I had been a member of the JAG Conference Committee for many years, working for months on the annual Eastern Video Expo. The conference is a tremendous amount of work – finding vendors for the trade show, creating workshops, arranging for speakers, coordinating with the hotel, booking entertainment, designing the registration process, facilitating the necessary technology and a hundred other details.
The annual conference, of course, had to be cancelled in 2020, and I was very excited to learn that a virtual conference was being planned for 2021. But while a virtual conference eliminates many planning elements, it adds others. Holding a virtual conference was uncharted territory for JAG, but the brave folks on the conference committee answered the challenge.
I registered myself and three additional staff members for this year’s conference. We looked over the workshop schedule and assigned different members of the staff to attend different workshops according to their interest and applicability to their work at C-NET. We naturally left plenty of time for staff to explore the Trade Show, speaking in-depth with vendors who were offering products we are considering purchasing later this year and in 2022.
What a terrific experience! The workshops were well done, the panelists were great, and the technology worked seamlessly. I enjoyed a workshop on the recent developments at the FCC and in the courts from Nancy Werner and Ken Fellman. Local municipal staff tend to look toward the PEG station to be a resource on legislation affecting PEG and franchises, and I appreciated the concise update offered at this workshop. Nancy and Ken are always well informed and insightful.
Members of my staff attended workshops on storytelling, editing, social media marketing, closed captioning, and product workshops offered by Telvue, Rushworks and Varto Technologies. The value of speaking one-on-one with vendors cannot be overestimated, and the C-NET staff was able to obtain specific product information that will affect our purchasing decisions.
And how much fun were the JAG Awards!?! Kudos to George Fairfield and the JAG Awards Committee for putting together a really fun show. The performances by the magnificent Simon Mandel were fun and mind-blowing! Seriously, like how many oranges could that man fit in his hands? My entire staff attended, enjoying wine and Baileys at home!
There is no substitute for getting together in person, and I am already greatly looking forward to a 2022 conference. But the virtual conference this year was so well done – my compliments to the entire conference committee. You really delivered with a new format and provided a great experience.
Hope to see you all in 2022!!