ACM 2023 Brooklyn: Dana's Hot Take

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

A stock image of Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn, New York with text "ACM 2023 Brooklyn"
By Dana Healy, VP of Sales, Cablecast

Oh Brooklyn, Brooklyn, take me in! This year’s Alliance for Community Media National Conference was in Brooklyn, New York. A short jaunt from the Brooklyn Bridge, a sight you had to steel yourself for (ok, bad pun). This long time event brings Community Media professionals from across the country for education, networking, and fun with long-time friends.

There are some serious highlights beyond the Brooklyn night life. Here’s my take on the 2023 ACM conference.

BRIC is the Host with the Most

BRIC Arts Media in Brooklyn, New York

BRIC, is a 40 year old arts and media institution that focuses on lifting up voices and stories of local artists, creators, students, and media makers. BRIC provides the tools and knowledge so the Brooklyn community can share their stories.

The physical space opens up with an indoor amphitheater called The Stoop. Colored cushions dotted the descending stair-like seats to an open floor below. In the space below vendors had their booths popped up, and newly designed displays. Attendees circled the booths, armed with their swag and latest product questions.

Other rooms were on the main floor, such as the expansive studio space that offered stadium seating on multiple floors, or the more intimate Studio B rooms.

What can we learn from this?

Being in community media, we don’t see many different stations. BRIC offered attendees to see a large, vibrant center, built in a unique way. The more media centers we see, the bigger we can imagine our work to be.

Dirk Koning-George Stoney Humanistic Comms Award

The Dirk Koning-George Stoney Humanistic Communications award is granted to an individual that champions the growth of Humanistic Communications. This year, the Alliance for Community Media had the distinct opportunity to honor Chad Johnson of CreaTV in San Jose, CA. Johnson has been involved with social justice via media since the 90’s.

What can we learn from this?

Champions of community media, like Chad Johnson, have a tool in communications to champion growth and experience with a focus on humanities. Our lenses can shine a light on stories that can bring about social change.

Where can you find programming that champions this kind of work? Check out for creative content from around the country.

What a “Jewell”: The Jewell Ryan-White Award

Leon Taylor, of Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) was this year’s Jewell Ryan-White Award for Cultural Diversity recipient for his work in public access. Kicking off his career at BRIC, and earning progressively more senior roles, he championed community members work. He provided support and encouragement. A notable initiative was the “B Scene”, which highlighted LGBTQ+ producers, Women in Media, and African American Filmmakers.

Taylor’s work continued at Manhattan Neighborhood Network. He continues to design creative initiatives like the “Create from home” media experiences to keep media makers engaged.

What can we learn from this?

Taylor is community service focused and pays forward to the communities he works with. He is truly a “Jewell”.

Bring the Receipts!

Panelists discuss income strategies and case studies during "Bring the Receipts!" Session

Peter Gay of North TV, Deborah Vinsel of Thurston Community Media, and Rahwa Andemichael of Montgomery Community Media provided case studies of the media centers and what earned income strategies have worked from them.

Their stories were drastically different and showcased how community media efforts are not one size fits all. Gay championed a paywall for his small station that turned into grassroots support and financial value. Vinsel, a veteran at earned income, broke down the math and formulas to craft your own programs. Andemichael shared Montgomery Community Media’s early journey of earned income and what she has learnt along the way.

What can we learn from this?

Revenue structures can vary from station to station. There are many ways to earn income. Communicate with your peers to identify what is working for them, and find ways to contextualize it for your station and community. You can also subscribe to the Cablecast PEG Experts Series to learn more about what leaders in community media are doing about earned income.  

Cablecast Answers All the Questions

Dana Healy, Elliot Wesen, and Chris Morgan from the Cablecast Sales Team at the ACM Exhibit Hall

Cablecast was excited to be on the trade show floor. The sales team were executing demos of the Cablecast VIO, the simple video playback solution that controls your playback, VOD & OTT publishing, graphic announcements and schedule promotion.

Marketing savvy attendees were also interested in learning about the over to top apps and how Cablecast can get stations their own branded streaming app.

What can we learn from this?

PEG experts that are looking to maximize their workflows and efficiencies are looking to Cablecast to help automate playback and distribution. Forward-Thinking Marketers are also looking to expand their reach with branded apps.

Donated Income Success Stories

Cablecast President, Steve Israelsky, moderated a discussion on income success stories from across the country. Speakers included Mark Litvin of LMC Media, Shane Brown of Athol Orange Community TV, and Beth George of ICTV.

The donated income stories highlighted annual awards gala, a fundraising telethon, and how to write a grant that people will want to fund. A hint on the grant: find partners in your community to maximize your efforts!

What can we learn from this?

Don’t be a lone wolf with your fundraising efforts. Work with your board, or other community organizations to partner and provide value. These are attributes of grants that reviewers look form. Check out the PEG Experts blog for more information on raising funds.

Cablecast’s Newest Feature Line Up

Ray Tiley, Head of Engineering at Cablecast talks about the latest automation features

Ray Tiley, Head of Engineering at Cablecast Community Media, walked through the upcoming Integrated Caption Editor and Cablecast Translate feature release and how it will impact our users.

Closed Captioning has been top of mind for our community media leaders. Cablecast has been captioning thousands of hours of your programming. To make it easier, we’ve included a closed captioning editor to make it easy to update or change captioning. This comes in handy if the Mayor’s name is spelt wrong and you don’t want to edit the entire video.

This year, we took it a step further offering Cablecast Translate, translations to your closed captioning to 72 different languages. Increase your contents audience reach by translating.

What can we learn from this?

Captioning is no longer a nice-to-have. It is being adopted by the majority of media centers. Now incorporating translations will increase your reach and the equity we are responsible for stewarding.

Shuffle On: Cablecast After Party

Party-goers play Shuffleboard during Hometown Media Awards Afterparty

“This is the best party I’ve been to!” I heard a chorus of this as I navigated through the happy party attendees. Its amazing how a little Shuffleboard brings people together. The party had active shuffleboards, a food truck, and a Hawaiian themed photo booth.

Colleagues chatted about successes, and what they’re doing around fundraising and board relations. As the night rolled on, conversations changed to “Do you know how long we’ve been friends! Decades!” The air of the evening was electric.

What can we learn from this?

Shuffleboard is harder than it looks, but there are plenty of teachers in the ACM crowd.


Hometown Awards: Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner!

Mike Wassenaar (left), President and CEO at ACM, and Dana Healy (right), Master of Ceremony at Hometown Media Awards.

Cablecast Community Media sponsored the 2023 Hometown Media Awards. The Hometown Media Awards is a fun, lively evening where winners of the Hometown Film Festival are praised and presented with their award. The entries were pre-produced into a video, which curtailed the evening to a neat one hour and ten minutes. Bravo!

Every year I look forward to the event. Handing out the awards and sharing the joy each recipient emanates is exciting.

Some points of note for the evening, The Overall Excellence in Education Access, under $300K, awarded to Cablecast customer New Mexico Educational Access Channel. Candice Neu received the award on behalf of Katharsis Media.

The winners for Combined PEG included QCTV, Brattleboro Community Television, and long-time Cablecast Champion CMAC in Fresno.

What can we learn from this?

The volunteers received almost 1,000 entries this year. Each entry was evaluated on several factors, some multiple times. This event is labor intensive, consider volunteering to judge entries next year!

Cablecast Streams the Awards

This year, Cablecast Community Media created the Hometown TV Internet Channel and Streaming App to stream the 2023 Hometown awards. Viewers downloaded the Cablecast Streaming App on their devices to watch their friends receive their awards. Stations also shared the syndicated stream, which massively expanded the viewership.

Each year we only see a small clip of the award winners. With the Hometown TV Internet Channel, we can watch the full reels to see what it truly takes to be a Hometown Winner. "With Hometown TV, we're connecting a nationwide network of producers around a common love of hyper-local media," said Steve Israelsky, president, Cablecast Community Media. "Hometown TV will allow winners and fans alike to watch and share the award-winning work on a platform that's free to download and that never puts ads on their content. We're proud to elevate this body of work and support the mission of the Foundation for the Alliance for Community Media."

The conference typically bounces to the west coast, to the midwest, and to the east. The location for next year has not been officially announced yet. We hope to see a trend in showcasing media centers across the country! Cablecast will be excited to see you all there again!

What was your best ACM conference memory this year? Let me know!

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