The VCC has created more caller television than anyone in the world – we’re getting close to 3,000 callers so far – and we thought it would be appropriate to share a little of what we’ve learned.
The VCC makes it look easy
Caller television seems so simple – just identify a Skype address and connect – what could go wrong? Well, if industry experience is any guide, this is awfully tricky – with some 40% of Skype calls dropped while on air. At the VCC, our on-air drop rate is around 1%. This has been learned through experience, technology, process, and simple perseverance.
Because we are bringing in large numbers of callers, who we want to be able to see and hear each other, our processes have to be better. We also want to ensure that no-one enters this group without being screened and selected for air.
The Four C’s of Caller Screening
One of our mantras is the Four C’s. No one calling into the programs we are managing gets on unless they pass the four conditions needed to be a good caller.
1. Connection. Four years ago, when we first started experimenting with caller television, we would attempt to “muscle through” with a caller who might be on the edge. Our screeners have learned since then what to look and listen for and to assist the callers improve their connection before clearing them for air. They have become experts in evaluating the quality of the connection, improving a marginal situation, or getting the caller to call back. Sometimes this even means switching from one application to a different one.
2. Content. Does the caller know what the show is about? Do they have good questions for the host or guest star? We want to ensure only the best callers get cleared for air. Our systems track the subjects that the caller wants to speak about and shares it with the production team. By the way, how’s the picture quality, the framing, the lighting and the sound quality. Screeners know how to help the callers quickly improve these.
3. Coherent. Does the caller seem sober enough to be on-air? While it’s true that some shows might enjoy having a caller who’s inebriated – most of our clients prefer people who’ll be responsible for their words and actions.
4. Clothing. We want to ensure that the callers are appropriate for air, so although it’s the last check on this list – it has occasionally been the first thing we notice. Our screeners also have controls to immediately remove a caller from air should they decide to remove a garment.
So that’s the four C’s of Video Caller Screening. Hope to see you on one of our shows (with clothing on) soon!