Tuesday, February 21, 2012

And Then There Were Two ...

What could be more exciting than participating in a live television broadcast. Just imagine being virtually in the studio and interacting with the on camera talent, the social media desk and news anchors. How exciting would it be if you were asked to react to stories or even introduce your own content. How amazing to be on the actual broadcast going out over the airwaves live and in real time?

Well, I can tell you because I have done it, not once but several times with Sarah Hill and some of the other anchors at KOMU TV, the very first television station ever to use Google Plus hangouts in a live broadcast. I was honored to be among the handful of individuals who were co-hosts on that inaugural broadcast months ago. Everyone knew, at the time, it was a risk but that we were not only witnessing but actually taking part in the evolution of the broadcast news industry and others stations would soon follow.

For the last several months other stations and networks have dabbled with hangouts, introducing them backstage, off-line and off-air. They were used to pre-record segments, edited and later aired in the regular broadcast.  They have been used as alternative methods of simply engaging a wider audience. A number of the more experienced KOMU cyber couch alumni have been working with these stations literally from coast to coast. But no other station had taken the big step to put any one of us  in the hangout on air.

Two weeks ago, the second domino fell. Jackie Ward at WCSH in Portland, Maine invited people to join a hangout during the early show on Friday morning. A public broadcast station in Twin Cities also waded in a little deeper.

This week, another domino fell. Melissa Carlson anchor at KRNV, the NBC affiliate in Reno Nevada had been using hangouts to produce a 20 minute internet only show. She was finally ready and scheduled the station's inaugural broadcast which included one of the five blocks or segments of the show being built entirely around live, on-air interaction with ordinary people in a hangout. The show aired this past Monday at noon (PT.)

Melissa did everything right. She had a small group in the hangout and they were people with whom she had experienced interactions in the prior weeks. The topics were discussed in advance and the participants who would comment were selected and, therefore, prepared. The studio setup had been designed  properly and the segment went off without a hitch. KRNV becomes the second station to incorporate hangouts into their daily noon news show.

There are many other stations where, like KRNV, the anchor is still becoming comfortable with the new social networking tools and interacting face to face with people, while the crew are working on the technical infrastructure and production issues. It won't be long before a few more dominoes fall and we will be faced with many choices. We won't be choosing a news broadcast to simply watch anymore, but rather which network cyber couch we want to jump on and what views we want to share on their stories.

Captain Joe

Follow me on Twitter @JPuglisiLLC