An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the service used for the virtual meeting. Chapter One used Free Conference Calling, not Zoom.
Paul Kaminski is a frequent Radio World contributor and president of SBE Chapter One in New York. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Society of Broadcast Engineers has asked chapters to meet virtually, and Chapter One hosted a teleconference meeting on Tuesday. Radio World reached out to Kaminski to learn more.
Radio World: SBE Chapter One just conducted its first virtual meeting at the request of the SBE national office. Overall, how did it go?
Paul Kaminski: Our chapter was able to connect members across our geographic area (Southern Tier of New York). SBE board member and past-President Vinny Lopez joined us on the teleconference. I would rate it a nine out of a possible 10.
RW: Describe the logistics for those who might not be familiar. What platform did you use to host the event? How did you notify members?
Kaminski: Our chapter vice chair, Jim Pratt, arranged for a call-in number with Free Conference Calling teleconferencing. We set a time, called in and gave our member and certification numbers for the meeting roster that is transmitted to the national SBE office. An email was sent to our members in good standing; Jim posted the reminder on our Chapter One Facebook page.
RW: How was attendance compared to normal monthly meetings? Were there any changes in your agenda or structure due to the virtual nature of the event?
Kaminski: Chapter One is a small chapter; attendance was on par with most in-person meetings. Because people joined the conference at different times, Robert’s Rules of Order were somewhat modified to fit the situation.
RW: Were there any challenges, anticipated or unexpected, technical or otherwise?
Kaminski: Other than the joining at different times, no technical glitches were noted. Zoom also has the ability to record the meeting; I received a copy from Jim in my Dropbox.
RW: What feedback have you received from others in Chapter One?
Kaminski: The attendees seemed to be pleased with the result; I hope the next meeting will attract more of our members.
RW: What advice do you have for other chapters who will be doing the same soon?
Kaminski: Know that the Zoom teleconference number is not a toll free number. Get the call-in conference number and meeting code to the members quickly. Do the due diligence with Zoom before making the arrangements. Have a mechanism to share the meeting with those who could not/ didn’t attend.
Just like in-person meetings, teleconferences need to be relevant and interesting to the membership. As an example, I would reach out to the SBE board member who is responsible for the chapter and ask them to join the teleconference, if possible.
There is nothing that would stop chapter leadership/program chairs from requesting subject matter experts on relevant topics (AoIP, remote origination, transmitter care and feeding, audio/video best practices, etc.) to join, if those experts
were given enough notice.
RW: Anything else RW readers should know?
Kaminski: I realize many of our SBE members (me included) are in the age cohort that could easily be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We should be following the CDC guidance, and use good common sense, as we work to keep broadcast and multimedia facilities operational.