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Google Hangouts On Air: Keep it Simple


Last week, Nik Eley-Carr from the PBS Black Culture Connection gave an intro to Google Hangouts On Air and a few tips for hosting a successful Hangout. This week, she continues in part two with how to simplify your broadcast.


Less is More

We’ve all heard that “less is more.” This has become my new rule of thumb using HOA. Why?

During the March on Washington, we were eager to bring our viewers a full day of online events (every hour) on the 50th Anniversary of the March. We had more than 20 guest panelists lined up for a diverse range of discussion topics during each event. While we were up for the challenge, this was an ambitious task.

Hangouts On Air cannot be set-up or programmed in advance … at least not yet. Your set-up and broadcast time all take place within the same session. So, in our case, this left us with only 15-20 minutes of time between each broadcast to spin-up a new HOA, send out invites to panelists, and troubleshoot any bugs before going LIVE.

We adjusted this strategy following the March Anniversary and spread our events out over a week (one every Wednesday in September). And where possible, we targeted three to four guest panelists. This improved the overall quality of the On Air broadcasts, allowing for much needed preparation time and giving each panelist an ample opportunity to contribute to the conversation.

The key takeaway here: Factor prep time into every HOA broadcast. Less can be more until HOA’s have the ability to be set up and saved in advance.




Nik Eley-Carr is Manager of Digital Content and Strategy at PBS in Washington, DC. Nik manages the PBS Black Culture Connection site and hosted 8 Google Hangouts On Air as part of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington last fall.