President’s Message: March 2024 JAG Conference 2024 – Compelling Reasons To Be There On May 16th

by Bob Duthaler

Each year the Jersey Access Group holds its annual conference for not only its members, their staff and volunteer crews, but others outside the organization who are interested in local access television. Just because it’s an annual event, does not mean it is the same old event. In fact, quite to the contrary. The conference committee has worked hard on this year’s event to include new sessions, bring in outside professionals from our industry and work with vendors on presenting the latest equipment, technology and more.

This year we host a session called How to Conduct a Great Interview – Interviewing Skills and Tips. Have you ever wondered how to prepare properly for an interview?  How do you get the most out of your guest and avoid single word answers? Learn how to effectively listen, react, and ask the right questions—and the right time to ask them during an interview. Professional reporters from local channels in the New York/New Jersey market will guide you through the steps to help make your next interview your best interview.

Attention All Station Managers

We have designed a series of sessions just for you. These are designed to incorporate what you learned into your operations and station management. We will discuss various ways a municipality can communicate with their citizens beyond traditional cable television channels. The panel will explore and discuss new video trends in social media, live streaming and how access channels are entering the Over-the-Top (OTT) world with their own channels on Apple TV, Roku and more in our session titled Beyond Cable: New Ways to Communicate with your Citizens. This is just one of many you will find.

Tired of the same programs year after year? Is there content beyond town meetings and summer concerts? You’ll want to attend New Programming Ideas for PEG Stations. This panel gives you ideas for new programming opportunities to enhance your program schedule. Join fellow station managers who have found new stories to tell in their towns. Discover new sources of programming that you might have overlooked right in your own backyard.

I consider myself to be a technology geek. And I’m proud of it. I’m always interested in the latest gear and technology to make this job not only easier, but more exciting—technology that wakes the creative mind in each of us. That’s why I love the vendor floor with all the latest cameras, switcher technology, lighting, and live broadcasting options. 

But we don’t stop there. We have a session geared to those who love new technology and want to incorporate it into the everyday operations: Less Gear and Better Production. This session discusses how to streamline your workflow in the field by minimizing gear and optimizing production . This can significantly enhance efficiency and make work more manageable. We will discuss ways to prioritize essential equipment (cameras, audio and lighting kit), multifunctional tools (e.g., a smartphone with a high-quality camera can eliminate the need for a second camera in many situations). Invest time learning the ins and outs of your equipment to enable you to work more efficiently and troubleshoot issues quickly. By implementing these strategies, you can create a nimbler production workflow in the field. Discover the latest gear that makes it all possible.

JAG prides itself in keeping all our members up to date on legislative issues, news from Washington, DC and what is going on around the country. Don’t miss Understanding Franchising and What to Know When Renegotiating.  This session covers the main differences between a state franchise and the ones negotiated at the municipal level.  Which one is a better choice and can a municipality have a say on which one they prefer?  Nationally, what is being added or taken away in negotiated franchise agreements?  Franchise monies are declining due to streaming, what can we do during negotiations to curb this?  Bills being introduced around the country that are trying to force streamers to pay a per subscriber fee to municipalities. How is this going and if successful, what does that mean for the local access station?

This is just the tip of the iceberg for the 2024 JAG Conference. You will also have time to mingle with vendors, network with each other and industry professionals. We’ll have giveaways during the Vendor Cocktail Hour followed by our banquet and the 2024 JAG Awards. I urge you, your staff and volunteer crew to register now! Mark your calendar for Thursday, May 16 at the Crowne Plaza in Edison, NJ.  A group of people sitting at tables in a room

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Go to to register and get more information. If you have any issues that might prohibit you from attending this year’s JAG Conference, please reach out to me directly via email at to see if I can help you.

See you all at the 2024 JAG Conference!