BEA Notes

I was at the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) annual conference last week in Las Vegas, NV.

My highlights: I was on a panel that discussed how old media can survive in the new media world. My segment dealt with how extra content on mainstream media websites can affect their ratings. The ratings data was already subject to inaccuracy before stations had websites, but now the ratings are even more suspect. I’ll make a separate post on this subject sometime soon.

I attended a panel discussion from some Kent State faculty who gave us some research data about social networks. Bottom line: They are here to stay and business need to understand how to capitalize on them.

On Wednesday night, a keynote address was given by two gentlemen who are heavily involved in reality TV production. They talked about their current project, “The Biggest Loser“. They told us some fascinating things about TV production. For example, crews shoot about 2000 hours of video that needs to be edited down to 15 hours! By contrast, the average non-reality TV series shoots a 3-1 ratio of raw footage to edited show. Each installment looks structured when the viewers see it, but it is chaos during the shooting. Unlike other shows, reality directors do not attend the shooting. The producers hand them the raw footage tapes and say “Edit them.” The directors and editors then have to go through the footage and put together an episode that makes sense and captures the viewers’ attention. Lots of stress, burnout, and turnover in the editing bays!

I was also elected vice-chair of the BEA’s Research Division. I’ll be coordinating the division’s annual research paper competition.

Perhaps my greatest moment of glory was in the Circus Circus sportsbook. Three-for-three, baby! Wednesday night I had the Portland TrailBlazers getting 11 points, and they lost by only 9. Then on Thursday it was the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Devil Rays taking care of business.

And kudos to the airports in Cincinnati, Charlotte, and Las Vegas. Free wifi is a blessing when you’ve got two hours to kill waiting for a flight. Circus Circus, unfortunately, charges $12 a day, but I guess if you spend a lot of time on the web when you are in Vegas, maybe you are the biggest loser!

Totally unrelated comment…Hey WordPress: Your new dashboard interface sucks! Hire one of my students to help you fix it.

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