For all of us, COVID-19 has had an enormous impact - from Zoom, to social distancing, it’s changed the way we all live and do business. In March, many broadcasters had to adapt within a matter of weeks to keep their shows on the air, and engineers were sent scrambling for solutions. To top it off, NAB 2020 and other trade shows were cancelled, which has made adapting more difficult for some of us.
Trade shows are places where we exchange information and learn about new technology, but they’re also places where we build community. They’re how many of us stay connected. So Broadcasters General Store and Second Opinion Communications, Inc. have teamed up to coordinate a way to bring broadcasters together - The Next Best Thing Tour.
The Next Best Thing Tour has just completed the first leg of its tour - traveling through Missouri, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Washington, and North Dakota - bringing the best in broadcast equipment directly from manufacturers to local broadcasters. The events have been held outside and all attendees have been asked to wear masks, tents have been spaced to accommodate social distancing, and hand sanitizer and disinfectants (as well as masks) have been made readily available.
“We want to get out, we want to be safe, and we need to get together - we don’t want to be disconnected from what’s going on. And we still need equipment and solutions,” said Ralph Brancato, region lead of iHeartMedia in Missouri. Ralph attended the inaugural Next Best Thing event on August 10th in St. Louis, MO. “We were very impressed at the whole thing. I think every engineer should bring their staff and take advantage of this. Even if you’re a one man or one woman operation, get out there. It’s worth it to connect with the manufacturers and discuss the different solutions available to you.”
“By taking initiative to gather some vendors together, the Next Best Thing has been able to bring a taste of NAB to us,” said Kit Haskins, an independent engineering consultant who attended the event in Colorado Springs on August 13th. “We were able to have multiple questions answered and exercise little networking skills that we normally take advantage of when travelling to Las Vegas every year. Yes, at a smaller capacity, but it was very beneficial for a lot of us engineers to get a lot of questions answered that we would otherwise not be able to ask because of the cancellation of NAB.”