Reports from TechCon

by Annette Lang, Operations/Programming, WHUT-TV

Over my 30-year career span within commercial media, no conference attended was as welcoming and engaging as the PBS TechCon 2019 conference held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

I was a newbie in a public space that entailed the best in kids, and – equally - news and public affairs programming. Targeting a wide range of the PBS spectrum, I had so many questions and became a human sponge, absorbing as much as I could to take back to my home base, Howard University’s WHUT-TV. The hardest part of it was choosing which seminar to partake against a plethora of programs and services each session had to offer. The Myers Workshop, my first event, was so well-planned that I gained an acute insight of procedure and best practices. It ignited a fire in me to see what else awaited my journey of discovery.

Along the way, I put faces to emails and phone calls, and forged relationships across the PBS system. From Los Angeles to New York, the Virginia
coastline to the mountains of Montana, I was truly embraced and was made to be a part of the PBS family. Communities from across the country were represented, and no station was too small to be a heavyweight, nor too large to learn. It really seemed like everybody was just as excited as myself to be at PBS TechCon 2019.

If I could encompass the entire event into one word, I would say Support. The support that I received from everyone was genuine and welcoming. I received support on every angle:

  • Finding answers to my tech questions
  • getting directions to move from one side of the conference aaaallllllllllll the way over to the other
  • tips from my traffic peers on best practices
  • and down to the last, but far from least, support from Mary Vertucci and Tricia Moore of PBS, and Mary Adams from WQHRO Norfolk– all of whom became my PBS Sisters in how they looked out for me daily after a non-related incident I had that occurred while in Vegas.

The conference was also vital in pivoting me to the next level of presenting to WHUT about the emerging digital and technological platforms that PBS is undertaking, and how vital it is for us to be on the bandwagon as its soaring through stations across the country.

They say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. I beg to differ. What happened in Vegas I will take with me as the onset of an experience that has guided me to the emerging PBS stratosphere as we know it.