The Electrical Worker online
November 2012

On Air: Broadcast Pros Aided
by Video Production Studio
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From capturing the epic heights of members wiring the Golden Gate Bridge to documenting the 45,000-strong Workers Stand for America rally in Philadelphia, the staff of the IBEW Media Department brings the work of the union's members into clear focus each month at

Now the communications team has added a new tool to its arsenal — a broadcast quality, 1,500-square-foot video production facility built and operated by IBEW electricians, technicians and broadcast professionals. The production space features a multi-camera studio, control room, audio recording booth, digital edit bays and other high-tech gear — all designed to deliver crisp content for the union's Web site, social media channels and network television commercials.

"Our video message reaches millions of people each week," said Senior Producer Len Turner, who joined the International staff in 2009 after more than 15 years in the TV news industry. "Professionally-produced video lets us tell them the union's story in a clear, concise and engaging way."

Video production has become a major part of the IBEW's media outreach to members, contractors, customers and the public at large. The production team — all members of Washington, D.C., Local 1200 — now generates about 50 short features per year, including network and local television commercials, educational outreach programs and videos used to promote organizing efforts.

The new facility allows International President Edwin D. Hill and other International officers to quickly and easily address members of individual local unions through custom-made video presentations.

"We wanted to make sure that as we expanded and did more complex and bigger video productions, we had the facilities to handle that," said International Representative Mark Brueggenjohann. "This studio allows us to handle any of the demands now and on into the future for expanding our video production content for the IBEW. If a department or a local asks us for something specific, we can say, 'Yes, we can do that.'"

Understanding the importance of maintaining and enhancing an already robust media strategy, the International Officers gave a green light to the studio project in late 2010.

"The leadership in the union recognizes the need in an overall media plan to include video — that's the way people get information now," Brueggenjohann said. "It used to be that the only way you could get any sort of video coverage is by going through media outlets, whether it's the news or public affairs programs. But now with the social media sites and our own Web site, we essentially are able to develop our own television station."

Building the studio was a production in and of itself. After initial construction was completed last summer by union painters, carpenters, laborers and more, IBEW members began the brain-bending process of installing high-tech broadcasting equipment, complex lighting setups, and video feeds. In six weeks, the three-person team completed about 8,000 terminations and pulled more than 25,000 feet of wire.

"It was very interesting, and a lot of the work I'd never done before," said Washington, D.C., Local 26 member Jason Reidenbach, who is the chief building engineer at the International Office. "One of the things we as electricians always want is to do something new and different. This was one of those opportunities to look at something in a whole different way. It wasn't just lights and switches, it was trying to figure out how to get the sound to work and the video to work. You have to go through a different kind of troubleshooting."

As the facility in Washington becomes the hub of the IBEW's production work, the focus remains on the union's members in every corner of the U.S., Canada and beyond.

"Our video projects are — first and foremost — all about our members," Turner said. "Showcasing the hard work and dedication of our local unions will always be the top priority."

Production in the studio will not be limited to the IBEW. President Hill has offered use of the facility to other international unions for projects reaching out to their own members or that benefit the labor movement as a whole. All camera, video and editing work will be performed by IBEW staff at the International Office, or by engineers and technicians under an IBEW contract.

"The IBEW represents tens of thousands of broadcast employees at the highest level of the industry, whether it's at CBS, Fox Sports or a local television station," Brueggenjohann said. "The leadership at the IBEW gave us the right tools to now take the talent we have here working in the Media Department and produce the same level of quality that our members create every day working all over the country."

See some of the Media Department's latest videos in high definition at


IBEW electricians in the Washington, D.C., area recently completed construction on the union's new video production facility at the International Office.

Photo credit: CEI