With a live video stream of the Tech/TxState football game including our radio feed, we knew from an accidental experience last year that, if we didn't manually turn down our audio feed in the booth during commercial breaks, our "off air" conversations would be heard by the streaming audience. Professional broadcasters are taught to be careful any time a microphone is around because... well... how many times have we seen or heard it before, especially from politicians... you never know when that mic may be "hot." Still, the commercial breaks have always allowed us a little semi-private time to discuss a range of topics.
|The Broadcast Booth - Tech vs. Texas State|
(courtesy Travis Cram)
After mentioning on the air that we would be turning down the booth audio during breaks for this game, several stream followers (are they called streamies?) hit our Twitter feed (@broadcastbooth) with the request to leave the microphones open during breaks. Seems the streamies wanted us to host our own reality radio betwixt and between the play-by-play of Tech football - our own Broadcast Pad. A quick glance at the other members of the crew, some tentative nods, and we were off on a trek through uncharted territory. At least for us.
I must tell you, after years of trusting that the semi-private break chat was relatively secure, letting the world in on our not-ready-for-air conversations took a new level of juggling. Only once (that I know of) did we sensor by turning down the sound to discuss an email we'd received on our during broadcast email account (firstname.lastname@example.org). Even then we received a follow up email "daring" us to turn the sound up and read aloud. The other issue that developed was when streamies didn't realize or remember that what was said during breaks was not heard by the network radio listeners. So, at times, we would repeat the remark when we returned from commercial for them to hear. At least one streamie thought it cheap that I would use the same attempt at humor twice! Obviously, this is new for the listeners as well!
Overall, I'd say the experiment was a success (disclosure - I am posting this before any feedback from the higher ups!). Along with our first attempt at tweeting the booth, it seemed to really increase interactivity with our audiences and added an element of entertainment to the overall experience. Some old school broadcasters and traditional radio listeners probably think we've gone too far out of the box, or are headed there. From the reaction we've seen through tweets, emails, chats and texts, I'd say this may become the next social media invasion of semi-privacy!
And I kinda like it!