The IP-based video call-in service of Video Call Center helps the new Tegna show bring back live interviews using proprietary technology that ensures robust, low-latency links to interview subjects anywhere in the world.
The day after the Oct. 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas, Tenga’s home-grown panel show Daily Blast Live secured an interview with one of the survivors.
In a live segment, Californian Lisa Fine described the gunfire (“We could hear it; we could feel it”) and how she thought she might die so called her children “to tell them how much she loved them.”
The emotional segment was enabled by the IP-based video call-in service of Video Call Center, which is based in the Palisades, N.Y., outside New York City, and partially owned by Tegna.
And by using the VCC service, says CEO Larry Thaler, Daily Blast beat the competition that was literally knocking on Fine’s door as she was sitting down for the interview. “She told us that she would tell them they had to wait.”
“So, we got this really powerful newsmaker on the air with us before the local news crews on the ground could get to her.”
VCC is a service built upon a proprietary technology that ensures robust, low-latency links to interview subjects anywhere in the world, Thaler says.
The technology “keeps the throttle wide open” on the internet link regardless of whether it’s broadband, wireless or Wifi, Thaler says.
It’s what set VCC apart from other IP video services, he claims. “We are able to bring those signals in effectively. You can talk to anyone with a phone number or email address. You can get on the air with significantly better quality and significantly higher reliability.”
The VCC service includes producers, now with thousands of hours of experience, who work with the subjects to make the best use of the whatever video and audio streaming devices they have on hand — laptops, smartphones or tablets.
“We work with the person who is going to be on the air with lighting, framing and steadying the cameras,” he said. “We can optimize for each situation.”
From a studio at Tegna’s KUSA Denver, The Daily Blast, which debuted Sept. 18 on 36 Tegna stations as well as Facebook and YouTube, produces seven live half-hour feeds each weekday.
Producers trawl social media for what’s trending and a rotating cast of eight hosts riff on what they find.
The Tegna stations pick up either a half-hour or an hour segments and plug them into various spots on their schedules. It shows up mostly in the mid-afternoon. WUSA Washington, for instance, airs a half hour at 3 p.m., but KGW Portland, Ore., airs an hour at 11 a.m. and WZZM Grand Rapids, Mich., airs a half hour at 7:30 p.m.
The show features an occasional live remote with newsmakers and social media “movers and shakers,” Thaler says. That’s where either VCC or, if the subject is nearby, a Tegna station will step in, he says.
VCC uses an IP link powered by Haivision encoders to send the interview segments they produce to Denver for integration into the show, he says.
VCC is popping up elsewhere in cable. Starting Sunday, Oct. 1, VCC began producing a live call-in segment for the end of the Discovery Channel’s popular realty show, Alaska: The Last Frontier.
In the first segment, fans of realty show were able to talk with the show stars Jane and Otto Kilcher, stationed in a studio in Homer, Alaska.
VCC managed in-coming calls from Fredericksburg, Va.; Oklahoma City; Orlando; Raceland, La.; Ranger, Texas; Stafford, Texas; and Zephyrhills, Fla.
This season, VCC is also working with TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé, which follows couples — one in the U.S. and one overseas — who have 90 days to decide whether they want to get married. The couples get together in the U.S., thanks to a 90-day visa program that allows travel to the U.S. for bona fide fiancés.
According to Thaler, producers are using VCC to record long conversations between the couples after the 90 days when the foreign visitor is back home.
Those conversations can last up to four hours, Thaler says. “The really good stuff happens hours into the taping.”
VCC is the most practical way to do it, he says. Satellite would cost 20 times more and the “enormous latency that would inhibit the conversation.”