President’s Message June 2021

by Bob Duthaler

In any year, pulling off a successful conference is no easy feat, but
during so during a pandemic while doing something that we never did before is just outstanding! I am so happy to announce to our membership what a great event we were able to pull off virtually for three days, but I think they already know that since they attended. So let me break this down with a quick recap and some thank you mentions along the way.

No conference would be successful without the support of our partners and sponsors. I am so proud to say that many of our organizational members stepped up and made this event possible. I would like to thank our Conference Partners who did some heaving lifting not only financially, but they were “All In” on this event. Both TelVue Corporation and Cablecast took on that role and pledged their support. They understood it was not only the conference they were supporting… but JAG. For that our membership is greatly appreciative. In addition, TelVue Corporation sponsored the JAG Awards (more on that later).

The generous support did not stop there. Our tried-and-true organizational member Varto Technologies was once again there to support our organization and cause. Helping behind the scenes, financially and with workshop sessions they showed JAG members that they are here for us.

Screenshot from Varto’s LiveU presentation

We were also lucky to have the financial and online support of other organizational members of JAG such as Rushworks, Municipal Captioning and DeSisti. They participated in panel discussions, demonstrations and much more. Finally, we were thankful to have additional support from Planet Networks who sponsored our Day Three Keynote Lunch and Broadband Session; Didja TV who introduced us to alternate methods of getting our content out; and DNS Media Group for production and website support and hosting. All of the above is what allowed us to give EVE 2021 participants a great three day event.

These six presentations have been posted to the
members-only section of JAG’s website.

Logos for some of the expo sponsors

The heart of our conference was our master control room in Piscataway. This was the hub for our Zoom oversight. With Doug Seidel at the helm as our technical producer, he monitored all the zoom feeds, started and ended sessions, helped bring panelists and moderators into the sessions and kept it all running smoothly on the web via our website. This truly was the heart of our operation for the three days (and even more with prep) during our conference. Doug was logged in to every laptop and computer he could get his hands on to monitor feeds and zoom accounts.

Master control at Piscataway TV

I was operating out of the WBMA-TV studios to do the live virtual stage,
interview guests, panelists and vendors. Stephen Kwiecien, who cut the show in Bloomfield and took in the live zoom feeds, was ready to go live every day at 8:30 am. We spent the next eight hours each day doing a live show with interviews, video roll-ins and more. The heart of the conference never stopped beating even when sessions were over. The master control room became the main production center for the live JAG Awards Show. This was a combination of live in-studio and remote zoom feeds. George Fairfield, the mastermind behind the show, paid homage to the JAG Awards shows of the past that included entertainment, comedy,

Bob on set at WBMA-TV studios

presenters and more. This year’s show included a Red Carpet Event hosted
by Simon Mandal which featured comedy and magic! Simon continued to
entertain the audience and nominees of the JAG Awards throughout the
whole evening. The combination of Simon’s magic and interactive
experience with the audience, the tremendous entries for this year’s JAG
Awards, along with the comedic stylings of George Fairfield and Samantha
Urash as the studio hosts, made for a fun evening. The creative juices were
running, both while preparing for such a big event and during it as well. The staff and crew at Piscataway TV who undertook this with George and Doug are recognized for their hard work and dedication. You can watch the JAG Awards on our YouTube Page or website VOD Player.

George and Sam hosting the JAG awards

Simon Mandal did a yeoman’s job not only hosting the JAG Awards Red
Carpet and the JAG Awards, but earlier that day as our Keynote Speaker
during the EVE 2021 Keynote Lunch. It was there that Simon gave us a
unique perspective of his career journey that included being an inventor,
playwright, song writer, magician and more. Along the way he taught us
magic tricks and provided tips to get our own creative juices flowing and
ways in which to step up our game a notch or two. The combination of
storytelling, interactive magic and life lessons made for an extraordinary
Keynote address….one which left us with tips and tricks for our productions
and everyday life. If you missed this or just want to see it again, it is available on the Members Only section of the JAG website.

Simon Mandal shows a magic trick

Finally, I want to thank the Conference Committee for all their hard work. I have a great co-chair in Geoffrey Belinfante and Vice-Chair George Fairfield. We were blessed to have a great committee working together to put on such a great event. The committee included Linda Besink, our Treasurer, along with committee members Stephanie Gibbons, Dave Garb, Dave Ambrosy, Anthony Pagliuco, Lee Beckerman, Jeff Arban and J. Robertson. We were lucky enough to have the guidance, wisdom and support of our Managing Director Rich Desimone who kept us on course during this whole project. And I want to especially thank the person I made a phone call to months before all this started and asked if he would work with me to pull this off and could we do this…. thankfully he said yes, but we both had no idea of what we were getting in to. Again, Doug Seidel was the heart of the conference between updating the website and technically producing 53 zoom events spread out across 3 days. A big THANK YOU TO ALL