How Will 5G Impact Community Media?

5G will change everything. The increased capabilities we will have related to speed, responsiveness, and the amount of devices we can connect to at once, will unlock a whole new world. Are we thinking about the impact 5G will have on Community Media? We all have had a lot on our mind related to FCC rule-makings and cord-cutting, but we really need to pay attention to this NOW.

What is 5G?

Let’s get a little historical info on what past G’s have been, the “Old G’s” if you will. 1G brought us phone calls. Think Nokia brick phones, which was my first cell phone, complete with duct tape holding the battery in place. 2G was the introduction of text messaging. 3G brought the internet to our finger tips, and 4G made everything much faster.

In comes 5G. 5G is really fast. According to PC Mag, the fastest 4G modem tops out at 2 gigabytes per second. 5G is ten times as fast at 20 gigabytes per second. With 4G technology, it takes you 10 minutes to download an HD movie. With 5G technology, it will take less than a second. Latency (lagging) rate is also very important. 5G has practically zero latency rate, which means the interactions you have on your devices are a millisecond behind in real time. Way fast.

The Community Media Part

As community media professionals, we have permanent worry lines about waiting for the proverbial “other shoe to drop” related to financing and cord-cutting.

 “Will 5G be our undoing? It can go both ways.”

The Undoing

Cable companies, that also provide internet services, are embracing the wave of 5G. Verizon offers free Apple TV and YouTube subscriptions to new 5G customers in four cities. They are more quickly moving customers to over the top devices because the speed and lack of latency will make it a positive customer experience. That translates to less franchise fees to support community media since they will not be using the local cable infrastructure.

The Doing

Franchise and PEG fees aside, 5G opens up a new world of technology. There are some amazing community media centers out there doing some different things.

Here are a couple of things that 5G will help us expand into.

Wide Adoption of AR/VR 

Some community media centers have developed and implemented technology around virtual reality like the Public VR Labspearheaded by Brookline Interactive Group. The Public VR Lap is building Community XR. Approximately 15 community media centers are leveraging this technology in their facility! 5G capabilities will “virtually” eliminate latency (see what I did there?). Latency is the lag, or jerkiness you see in video games, or VR experiences. According to ABI Research, “ABI Research anticipates that 5G will bring about a 10X improvement in throughout, a 10X decrease in latency, a 100X improvement in traffic capacity, and a 100X improvement in network efficiency over 4G.” Think of the experience you can have via a VR program if there is no delay. For community media centers moving in this direction, I applaud you.

The Internet of Things 

The internet of things (IoT) is the connection of multiple devices that gather data in real time. Some examples include smart houses with thermostats that automatically adjust, or with lights that shut off after you leave.


I don’t know about your media center, but mine has a lot of things. Implementing smart machines on a network, paired with wireless trackers, now you can track camera equipment, gaff tape, and tripods. We can analyze that data optimize daily operations, and proactively maintain equipment.

For cable commissions that provide installation services, we will now be able to track inventory and supplies in real time, automating deliveries of equipment.

 “We can reduce our carbon footprint by implementing green and smart technology in our studio spaces.”

For the traditional Public Access Stations, they can learn when the spikes of volunteer action and foot traffic happen and make more informed decisions.

Donor Metrics

This still falls under the IoT, but its impact is important. This is also a vital tool to inform donors about the impact your media center is having. Donors are demanding transparency and what to know where every dollar is going. If we are looking to replace franchise fee funding with individual donors, we need to provide them with the information they need to make an informed decision.

We are better able to collect data about our impact on the community through the IoT and 5G.

 “More data means more communication to donors about the impact we are making on the community.”

Donors need to feel connected to the organization. We wear many hats in a nonprofit community media station, so we don’t have the bandwidth to forge every relationship. The implementation of the IoT with 5G will potentially automate the way we interact with our donors.

The Wall Street Journal provided some excellent examples on how to create meaningful and lasting donor relationships. Although not tied to community media, one example was “A sensor can be installed on the well to monitor when and how much water is extracted on a specific day or over time. This data can show donors the tangible impact of their gifts, translating the amount of water withdrawn to people served. Sensors can also gather well maintenance data, specifically data on whether new parts or additional upkeep are required.”

Operator-Less City Meetings

I’m prepared for the backlash on this one. Our bread and butter in the coverage of municipal meetings.

 “There will always be a space for meeting coverage as long as there is space for government transparency.”

But the technology to remotely produce city meetings is there. We can eliminate human error, consolidate equipment usage, and still provide the vital coverage of city meetings. Yes, this is scary. But did you read my first section about less franchise fees? That means we need to do more with less.

Does this seem far-fetched? Maybe. Things are changing, quickly. We need to embrace the change, and lean into the possibility of doing things differently.

What are your thoughts of 5G’s impact?

Promoting on Social Media: Film Festival Edition

It was a big week of year for film students at The University of Northwestern – St. Paul. In fact, it was a big time for the whole Communications Department and campus as a whole! Every April Northwestern holds the Five16 Film Festival to showcase the film student’s work. The best way I can describe this event is by calling it a “mini-Oscars.” Everyone dresses in their best formal wear and walks the red carpet before the nominated films are screened and winners are announced.

As a Public Relations, event planning, and video production student at Northwestern this event was a PERFECT opportunity to learn from. I jumped on the opportunity to be apart of marketing and planning. I was asked to take over the management of social media. Previous to my CTV internship experience I would not have felt as prepared to take this on. However, because of the work I have done on CTV social pages I was excited to take on the task.

In previous years the festival’s marketing didn’t have a clear message or theme. This was one challenge my team and I wanted to tackle. It is very important to have consistent messaging, color and font themes, as well as a posting schedule. This helps your audience recognize your specific branding and helps them know what to anticipate. I also wanted to make the account more personable. I did this by introducing some series such as: meet your judges, behind the scene shots from student films and meet the film student executive staff.

All the planning paid off! We were able to increase our following and interactions on Instagram and Facebook exponentially. We actually doubled our followers on Instagram and increased engagement daily. This helped spread the excitement that the Communication Department has for the Five16 Festival throughout the rest of campus.

The festival has grown so much over the last 13 years starting with 100 attendees to 1,400 plus online viewers. Using smart and collaborative marketing has helped grown the excitement and highlights the awesome work of our film students. You can check out the CTV coverage of the event here, including a 30 minute pre-show, floor directed by yours truly!

How to Recruit Youth Volunteers

How do you recruit young people as volunteers? Youth have so much to offer in time, energy and ideas. They also have a lot of pressure to start developing their career early. Yet many service organizations and nonprofits struggle to connect with them. Whether you’re recruiting students in middle school, high-school, or young adults, here are four tips to get you started.

1. Communicate your mission effectively (yes on social media)

Take it from me, young people google everything. You don’t need to be on every social media platform, but it is important to have at least one social media account that reflects the mission statement and programs you have outlined on your website.

Posting photos and videos on social media can tell a more compelling story about the work you are doing and the people behind your cause, which will attract potential volunteers to you! You can also create an events calendar to let volunteers know when & where they are needed.

Crucial to this process is keeping the account updated! If someone comes across your page that hasn’t been updated in six months, they may assume you haven’t been doing much as an organization.

2. Clearly define what skills your volunteers will gain

The job market is really really competitive for young people these days. As much as they may want to support your cause, they also need to know it will be worth their time to volunteer instead of getting another job, internship or extracurricular activity.

If you already have clearly defined roles for volunteers, help them talk about the value of their experience on a resume. For example, if their job is to stock supplies at a food shelf, highlight how many people the food shelf serves each month.

Alternatively, you may need to adjust volunteer roles to create more tangible benefits. Do you use Microsoft Publisher, Canva or InDesign to create fliers? Have one of your young people learn the software & design a flier. Those basic technology skills can be important resume builders for people just entering the workforce.

3. Offer opportunities for advancement

Whether you have paid employees or are purely a service organization, you can create levels of responsibility for volunteers.

Seeing peers in leadership roles gives young people someone to model after, and motivation to continue working with your organization. Promoting volunteers into those leadership positions is also a great way to acknowledge their work, and again gives them something tangible to put on their resume.


4. Partner with youth organizations

Peers are a huge motivator for young people! If you are looking for a large number of volunteers, consider reaching out to different after-school clubs, sports teams, college groups, etc. Youth organizations can help coordinate transportation of volunteers to your site, and add a social incentive for young people to get involved.

5 Twin Cities Religious Orgs to Follow on Social Media

Social media has become a powerful tool for churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious organizations to connect with their communities. Below are a couple local orgs with great social media presence!

 1. Hindu Temple of Minnesota

social media

What they do well:

  • Up to date event postings
  • Colorful graphics
  • Lots of videos of community events & traditional dance performances

2. The Rock

social media

What they do well:

  • Youthful graphics that reflect congregation & mission
  • High quality event photos

3. Cities Church

cities church

What they do well:

  • Simple & clean graphics
  • Weekly sermon posts

4. Abubakar As-saddique Islamic Center


What they do well:

  • High quality photos
  • Consistent graphics/branding
  • Regular video uploads

5. Wat Promwachirayan


What they do well:

  • Posts in dual languages
  • Videos for fun! Check out the monks shoveling in a recent snowstorm. 
why i love ctv north suburbs

Why I Love CTV North Suburbs

Ah February, it’s that time of year again, either everyone’s favorite or least favorite month. Here at CTV we were thinking everyone has a reason to celebrate love this year, no excuses, and you want to know why? Glad you asked. Here are 2 reasons why you should love CTV North Suburbs this valentine season.

1. We are here for YOU!

When you need updates on what is going on in your city who has them? When you want to know what your community is up to and hear their cool stories who will tell them? When you need help with social media management or video production who will help you? The answer, CTV! We are always here for what you need.

2. We tell YOUR story.

CTV always has our ear to the door when it comes to our surrounding community. We are always on the lookout for who is doing something special and whose story needs to be told. With our cameras ready and our ears eager to listen we want to know who and what is making the community surrounding the Twin Cities one of the greatest places to live!

CTV is here for you to love in this season but not only that, we will be here all year long, lucky you!
Email us at if you have a story suggestion!

6 Things I Learned in our website redesign

6 Things I Learned in Our Website Redesign

Over-simplified ads for creating a new website make the process seem like a weekend project. I’m sure the CTV team wishes it was just a weekend–we’ve been at this for four months. CTV North Suburbs’s previous website was over 3,000 links and pages and was running on Joomla. Yeah, I didn’t know what that was either. Now we have a streamlined site that is on the WordPress platform. Here are some thing I learned on the way:

  1. Keep the User Experience Top of Mind

Our website bounce rate was really high, which means people were coming to our site, freaking out because they didn’t know what to do, and “bouncing”. Through the whole process, we kept our key audiences in mind and navigated the site to make it as easy as possible for them. Our nine cities now have custom landing pages with curated content. There are buttons to quickly submit cable complaints as well as one click to watch live meetings. Our focus was to make it EASY, to drop that bounce rate down and get people to stay a while.

  1. Timelines are Great Suggestions

I wanted the website done in a week, insert laughter here. This was a complex, multi-phased project that took about 4 months with 7 to 9 people working on it at any given time. From re-directing links, to developing content, to professional photo shoots, we were developing this website at break-neck speed but it still took months. The launch date moved back a couple of times. First it was end of January, then it was February 1st, now the official launch date was February 14th, Valentine’s Day. Our Valentine’s gift to you!

  1. Slick Original Photos Are Necessary

The team had our very own professional photo shoot. We dusted off our best outfits and hammed it up for the camera. For a team of professionals that enjoys being behind the camera, it was a great change of pace, fun, and added excitement for the upcoming launch. Original photos on our site made our brand more evident and added to our authenticity. We also double downed on the use by creating social media content out of it. Squeeze as much value as possible out of each piece of content you create.

  1. Content Takes Time

Our designer warned us that websites slow down during the content creation period. Knowing that, the team prepared blogs, videos, and copy ahead of time, inputting it into WordPress within a couple of days. It was a flood for content, like a content tidal wave. If we developed the content as we needed to input it, it would’ve taken ten times as long. Get your content queued up so you don’t lose traction.

  1. People Like Us

We had to reach out to our clients for quotes about our core services and past projects. Getting happy client testimonials was a great experience! It pumped up our ego a bit reading all the positive feedback from our awesome clients. Thank you!

6 Tips for your next testimony video

6 Tips for Your Next Testimony Video

Your church community is filled with inspiring stories that should be shared. As church leaders entrenched within your community, I bet you can name four incredible stories off the top of your head. Great, now how about turning those stories into some great video content to continue to spread the message? Here are some tips for your next Testimony Shoot.

  1. Pick a Great Testimony

We all have those fantastic storytellers with incredible presence. Pair that person with their awe-inspiring, life-changing testimony and you have a surefire way to a rock solid video

  1. Write It Down

Something about writing down a story creates a clearer picture for the storyteller rather than “winging it.” It reduces the need for rambling, and can help you as the director, keep the testimony clear and concise.

  1. Light it Up

Pick a well-lit area if you aren’t familiar with studio and field lighting techniques. Outside on a slightly overcast day can be an excellent light source. Avoid shooting in front of a window, which will create a silhouette of your subject. Use large, diffused sources of light for your subject. If you would rather a moody, noir look, give our pros at CTV North Suburbs an email to help you out,

  1. Mic it Up

A testimony will only have impact if you can hear the story clearly. Use professional microphones, if you have access to them. Get close to the in-camera microphone if you don’t use pro mics.

  1. Shake the Sillys Out

People are scared of being in front of the camera. Get the camera rolling way in advanced and have a conversation with your subject about the football game last Sunday before jumping into the real content. Get them comfortable before you pull out that incredible story.

  1. Back up Shot

At least two shots of the testimony should be rolling at the same time. This will give your editor options. I prefer the “behinds the scenes” shot where the second shot includes the camera, and parts of the crew. Make that shot black and white, and you have a very edgy look that will increase the impact of the testimony.

These are great tips to help you on your testimony-creating journey, but if your hands are full with spreading The Word, reach out to us to help create inspirational content for your church community. Contact us at if you are interested in content creation. Also join us for Points of Light, a free studio show where local church leaders can speak to our nine cities LIVE about their church and its’ mission. For more details about the event, check out our Facebook page.

5 ways to market your church with video

5 Ways to Market your Church with Video

“Marketing” isn’t a dirty word when it comes to your church. The goal is to have your community understand your mission, purpose, and overall philosophy to increase engagement.

As a church leader, include a marketing plan with a video component. Here are three ways to use video to engage your parish community to boost engagement, retention, and overall understanding of your church.

  1. Video to Encourage to Serve

Videos that are shared across social media typically invoke a strong enough emotional response. to have the viewer interact with the content (like, comment, share). Sunday sermons are full of stories that create an emotional connection. At the end of your series, complete it with a video that hits the heart strings of your community, complete with a call to action to volunteer or spread the word. Give your parish the tools to share about your church, through video.

  1. Record your Services

Being in community media for 18 years, a big portion of what we played on our channels and website was religious content. Many people aren’t able to attend their service if it’s cold (like Minnesota cold right now, hello? -27 degrees?), or ill. Make your services available on your website, YouTube, or through your local community media center to increase your reach. Here is a full sermon example: YouTube Sermon Can you magnify your sermons to over 2 million views?

  1. Promo, baby!

Many church organizations have camps, classes, or fun events to encourage camaraderie. Create a short video to highlight how awesome summer camp is for the tweens. Send the video link out with your spring newsletter and via social media to encourage signs ups. Here is an example of a Tampa-based church that brought their A-game in  their Church Promo Video

  1. Testimonials

When I found my church, it was via word of mouth. Amplify that word of mouth by video recording your members with their stories about what brought them to the church. Hearing direct accounts from your members can encourage new members, but also strengthen your church core. Here is a powerful testimony example.

  1. Digital Sermons

Over 80% of all internet content will be video by 2020. Be part of that space by recording a one-minute mini-sermon for your community. It will give perspective members an understanding of your style as a church leader, but also an idea of the content being preached.

Wearing many hats is part of any church leadership position. Let CTV North Suburbs help with the content generation. Contact us at if you are interested in content creation related to promoting your church. Also join us for Points of Light, a free studio show where local church leaders can speak to our nine cities LIVE about their church and its’ mission. For more details about the event, check out our Facebook page.

IT Intern Experience - Wade

My IT Intern Experience – Wade Arendsee

My name is Wade Arendsee and I’ve been part of the IT intern program since early 2017, I joined the program through Rasmussen college were I am finished up my bachelors in Information Technology Management.

When I was first presented with the opportunity to be an intern at CTV, I imagine the experience would be filled with a lot of menial tasks such as making cables and cleaning out files, but it has been anything but that!  Interning at CTV is probably one of the greatest opportunities a person just getting into the IT industry can have. In my time here I’ve completed some huge projects and implemented solutions that people our partners use every day! Some but not all of these include.

  • Building a new city meetings web server, from the hardware level all the way up to editing web pages.
  • Deployed and maintained multiple file servers.
  • Setting up new virtualization solutions to replace legacy systems.
  • Migrated a database and directory server to a new system.
  • Provide tech support to employees and our partners.
  • Build multiple servers and machines for CTV and its partners, some of which are used for our city hall partners.
  • Maintain web pages for our shiny new website.

I’ve also had the opportunity to branch outside of my career field and learn more about TV and Media production as well as audio and video engineering skills. CTV is a place that always encourages you to take on more and challenges you to learn more.