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Wolzien’s Video Call Center Snags TEGNA Deal

Video Call Center, the technology company founded by television veteran and former Sanford Bernstein analyst Tom Wolzien, reached another milestone Thursday, landing a deal with television station group TEGNA to use VCC's Caller Cloud Video Service in its newly launched news and entertainment program, Daily Blast Live.

TEGNA, the former broadcasting arm of Gannett Co., has about 46 TV stations in 38 markets. Daily Blast Live debuted Sept. 18 on 36 TEGNA stations as well as Facebook and You Tube, using VCC technology to do a live remote interview with a survivor of the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas.

VCC's Caller Cloud Video Service provides a caller acquisition and production system specifically designed to enable live, interactive broadcast remotes with celebrities, subject matter experts and everyday audience callers, according to the company. With the Caller Cloud TEGNA can:

  • Manage the process of screening and preparing callers for air in real-time. This includes the VCC’s team of call screeners and the use of Caller Queue, the VCC’s unique “green room in the cloud.”
  • Integrate video callers into the Daily Blast Live production control room located at TEGNA station KUSA in Denver where Daily Blast Live is produced.
  • Optimize the visual quality and reliability of video calls originating from smartphones and other devices using native video over IP applications and public Internet connections.

“Daily Blast LIVE is an innovative, fast-paced show that relies on the latest technology to engage with celebrities, experts and viewers no matter where they are,” said TEGNA senior vice president, programming Bob Sullivan in a statement. “TEGNA was an early adopter of the VCC and we are excited to work with them on DBL. Their innovative technology offers our production team numerous options to create an ever-changing and dynamic live program every day.”

TEGNA has had a long relationship with Video Call Center and was one of its first major investors back in 2015.

VCC CEO Larry Thaler said in an interview that the technology allows programmers to rapidly set up remote interviews by using the technology available to the subject, either their cell phones, laptops or tablets. And it brings a new twist to live segments, which he said are increasingly being demanded by advertisers and programmers.

“Live is dramatically more valuable with advertisers than pre-recorded content,” Thaler said.

VCC technology is showing up in other networks as well. The company has a long-standing relationship with Discovery Communications, which is using the VCC for a live segment near the end of Alaska: The Last Frontieron the Discovery Channelthat allows fans to call in and ask cast members questions. The technology also is being used by Discovery network TLC in an epilogue as part of its 90-day Fiancéshow, giving updates on couples after their segments finish taping. VCC provides a way around the logistical and costs constraints inherent in bringing the couples together from halfway around the world, Thaler said. It’s first epilogue show airs on Oct. 30.