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In a Pandemic, Hearing from Leadership Matters More than Ever

On July 5, 2020, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson went on live national television to represent Arkansans and speak to the American public. The broadcast segment fell on a Sunday morning at 8:08am local time, the day after Independence Day. Governor Hutchinson was away from his office at the capital, enjoying time with his family in Bentonville, Arkansas. After being asked to be on the show, his staff needed to coordinate how to make this happen without spending time and money to get him back to Little Rock the morning after the fireworks.

National Television Networks Can’t Wait

Live TV doesn’t wait. There are no “take two” moments, no reshoots, and it can’t be rescheduled for tomorrow. There is a lot on the line, and it all happens in real-time, on the air. Our cameras, lights and sound are trusted by some of the largest organizations in the country, and live television was no different. We got the call at 10am Friday July 3, and by 9:30am the next morning we were configuring our studio to accommodate. Less than 24 hours after that, we were on the air, live from Lowell, Arkansas to Washington, DC on NBC’s Meet the Press. 

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Better than Zoom: Our Satellite Truck Provider

Our studio is outfitted with lights, camera, sound, everything needed to pull off a shot like this. But live Television takes more than lighting, it takes a beam of light, a UV beam to be precise, beaming from a satellite, to space, and back. 45,000 miles. We keep a lot of things on-hand in inventory at avad3, but a satellite truck is not something we need every day. That’s why we’re thankful for our satellite truck partner who’s always ready to pull up, tie-in, and have us on the air in less than an hour. It’s incredible. We’ve worked together on projects in the past with talent such as Laila Ali (TV personality, former boxer and Muhammed Ali’s daughter). When it comes to reliable connection, there’s nothing we trust more than their sat trucks.

The Comforts of Home

The governor is used to going on the air, broadcasting not just to his state but also national media outlets like NBC or Fox News. With this being a last-minute request, away from the capital and in Northwest Arkansas, the planners were just thankful we could pull it off. However, we never want to just “pull it off.” We were honored to have the governor and gave him all the comforts he’s used to in his regular studio environment. The satellite uplink gave us IFB, both for him and for our production manager. We had Program audio and video from the network available for his staff to monitor. Local and network comm via dedicated phone. Hair and Makeup by our favorite makeup artist who recently became COVID-certified.

Our studio location is easy to find with quick access to Arkansas interstate 49 that runs through Fayetteville, Springdale and Rogers. The governor’s security lead was pleased with the dedicated parking, and how safe our building was for his purposes.

How it Happened

Political communications move fast. We’ve supported presidential campaigns across the country on election years and understand the pressures placed on politicians during these key moments. When Arkansas Governor’s Director of Communications needed a secure studio for a Sunday morning, we knew she needed answers fast, excellent results, and ultimately, a stamp of approval from the governor. After the 48hr start-to-finish project ended, hearing we got a “superstar” review from the governor gave her, and us, a proud moment.

It looked great! Thank you so much for making it work for the Governor.
Katie Beck
Director of Communications, Arkansas Governor’s Office
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Everybody loves a win-win. This felt like a win-win-win. By having studio space available in Northwest Arkansas, available short-notice with national network connectivity, we made a lot of people’s lives easier. First, we saved the governor time. Time is money, and the energy it would have taken to pull this off any other way would have taken from much-needed energy from him leading during this unprecedented season. Second, we saved the network money and made life easier. By having studio space right in his backyard, Washington DC avoided having to coordinate air travel, a field crew, and most of all, the risk of spreading infection. Lastly we saw this as a win for our team. We were honored to host the governor in our studio and will never forget the compliments and courtesy he showed during the 35mins he was with us that morning.

It worked very well on our end! Thanks for the last minute scramble to put it together.
Betty Nevins
Senior Production Manager. NBC NEWS / Meet the Press
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Why Us, Next Time

On his way out the door, the governor thanked us for how easy we made this for him. That’s what it’s all about. When a leader is under the pressures of a national television interview, they deserve a secure environment where they can be their best. We were proud to provide that for him, and we’ll be here and ready for next time. Whether it’s him or another leader, whether it’s NBC or another network. We’re proud to provide studio space in Northwest Arkansas and thanks to our satellite truck provider, this was a perfect solution.