It was exciting to be back with the ACM-NE crew, especially after nearly three years of no conferences. The 2022 event was held in Providence, Rhode Island at the Renaissance Hotel. The three day event had an air of re-birth, revisioning, and growth. A big shout out to the ACM-NE Board of Directors for launching this awesome event.
Here are my 10 highlights and takeaways from the 2022 ACM-NE Conference.
We’re All Friends, Here!
With 80 attendees, we had a chance to converse more deeply. The intimate workshops were fruitful with insights. I had a chance to understand the challenges and successes of my colleagues. For example, Carol Courville of Athol-Orange TV shared her success in fundraising via an auction, and Ann Theis of BIG shared her development of a program guide to make content more accessible for senior citizens.
Key Takeaway: Deeper conversations are made possible with smaller groups.
Rev Gen Culture: A Work in Progress
BIG’s Executive Director Kathy Bisbee spoke on earned income. She emphasized the importance of a strong revenue generation culture. She asked attendees if they felt supported in their earned income work. Maybe, 3 hands went up. Cor Trobridge , Executive Director at Brattleboro Community Television, of Vermont being one of them. She provided great strategies on how her station paved the way of a “Rev Gen” culture.
Key Takeaway: Continue to manage up to our boards and stakeholders on the importance of generating earned income, before it's too late.
Start Positive Relationship Building Yesterday
State Representative Tommy Vitolo emphasized getting to know your representative before you need them. Build that relationship before you make an ask. Greet them, Tweet them, and run through your well-crafted talking points on your issue. Invite them to events, and herald their involvement. Also, be respectful of your legislator's time. If you have a 30 minute meeting scheduled, keep it at 22 minutes. When you do make your ask, make it clear, concise, and one thing.
Key Takeaway: The more clear, concise, and repetitive your talking points are, the more efficiently you can deliver them.
The Cablecast Team has Strong Media Roots
I was tickled to meet Cablecast Sales Reps Bob Smith and Randy Visser in person. I watched them reunite with long-time friends and talk passionately about Cablecast products, like closed captioning and Reflect. I enjoyed seeing Cablecast’s values of passionately serving our community media family in action. As they spoke with long-time customers like Bill Jennings of Bedford Community Television and Jim Palmer of Peabody TV, you can see everyone giddy to learn about new features.
Key Takeaway: I feel extremely lucky to be part of a team that lives its values and is passionate about helping customers.
If You’re Reacting, Your Losing
Advocacy work is a long game. The work we do today may not come to fruition in our careers. Amy Shollenberger, a political strategist with Action Circles in Montpelier Vermont, assured people to stick to their advocacy plan and not to change course.
Key Takeaway: We need to be at peace that our advocacy work will take decades, and find a way to stay energized during our long lobbying efforts.
COVID Is Still the Conversation
The leadership workshops were peppered with the “new normal” conversations about remote work, safety, and the valuable work community media during the pandemic. Glenn Williams of Boston Neighborhood Network phrased it beautifully: “COVID has helped prove to municipalities that we can get things done, that we are consistent and trusted.”
Key Takeaway: The pandemic has provided an emphasis on the work we do with our municipalities.
Emphasis on Building Positive Work Environments
Jessica Smyser, the Executive Director of Cambridge Community Television began her position in the middle of the pandemic. She brought insight related to retaining the CCTV team during the leadership transition. She worked diligently to build a positive culture by updating personnel handbooks with remote work policies, a new PTO policy, an Anti-Racism commitment, and providing internet to employees who need it to work from home.
Key Takeaway: Leaders are making big policy moves to create positive and safe work environments to intentionally retain quality team members.
The Award Dinner Highlight was the Winners Themselves
The winner of the Chuck Sherwood Leadership award was Susan Huizenga from Wallingford Public Access. In her multiple-decade career she established the first nonprofit PEG station in Connecticut.
The Rika Welsh Community Impact Award was presented to the contributors of “The Conversation” of Falmouth Community TV, a long-time Cablecast customer as well. The program is an effort to foster dialogue about racial justice issues in Falmouth, in response to a town meeting member who announced in a public meeting “There is no racism in Falmouth.”
The other winner of the Rika Welsh Community Impact Award was to Deb Blood and Jim Beagan, of Methuen Community TV, for their work on the program “Yes We Can” to provide information to people with disabilities, their families, and caregivers.
Key Takeaway: The Community Media sector has many valuable leaders doing impactful work.
Systems and Workflow Updates are Imperative
Michael Max Knobbe of BronxNet, a long-time leader in the industry, emphasized the importance of maintaining and updating workflows and systems, like Cablecast REFLECT and OTT/Mobile Streaming apps, to keep up with the new demands. Integrators like Paul Plotkin of G&G Technologies, Michael Ridinger and Marty Feldman of Unique Media Systems, as well as Rob Gelber of Sprout AV are valuable resources when you’re ready to update hardware and equipment.
Key Takeaway: Audit your systems and talk to your friendly East Coast Cablecast Sales Representatives, Randy Visser and Bob Smith, to provide insight how Cablecast can help.
Vendors Show Up
So many gracious ACM board members were grateful that so many vendors participated in the show, like Unique Media Systems, RueShare, G&G Technologies, JML Lighting Services, Localeyz, and Municipal Captioning. The vendors are intensely dedicated to the community media sector. Cablecast especially appreciates the opportunity to show off our products like our new Closed Captioning feature, or the newly released Cablecast VIO OMNI to our biggest fans.
Key Takeaway: Know that your vendors, like Cablecast, want to truly help and bring value to the community media centers. Continue to talk to us about your needs.
Deep Gratitude for the Keynote Opportunity
It has been a dream to provide a keynote address. It was magical that I could deliver that speech to life-long friends. The messaging of my presentation of “asking your value” and delivering concise messages married beautifully with the leadership, fundraising, advocacy and earned income workshops. I was thrilled to hear presenters like Eric Hyett, a panelist and BIG Board Member, tie key points from the keynote to their own content.
Key Takeaway: I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve my colleagues and I am excited to continue to serve.
The 2022 Alliance for Community Media Northeast Regional Conference was a blast. A big shout out to the ACM-NE Board of Directors and the volunteers that worked on the conference including: Helen Chantel, Jim Palmer, Rob Chapman, Kathy Bisbee, Barbara Chisholm, Tony Arrien, Megan O’Rourke, Owen Provencher, David Gauthier, Steven Mindera, Terri Wright, Bernardo Moronta, Matt Sullivan, Glenn Williams, Eric Dresser, Sebulon Schmidt, and Debra Rogers.
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