The Short Story
Dennis Washington is a veteran live streaming expert… he’s been live streaming since 2002 when he chased tornadoes for a TV station in Birmingham, Alabama.
Dennis now teaches people how to live stream professionally and how to make money doing it. He shows people how to look and sound good on camera, the best equipment to buy, and other best practices he learned from working two decades in TV and radio.
How It Started
In June 2013, I left my 18+ year career in TV and radio to start Cross Digital, a content marketing company I ran for almost three years. In the months and years since I have found my niche: live streaming.
My experience with live streaming actually begin in the early 2000’s during my days of tornado chasing for FOX6 WBRC-TV. Before Skype became a household name I used Yahoo! Instant Messenger installed on a laptop with a webcam taped to the windshield to send back “video” from our storm chase vehicle. I use the term “video” here loosely because the frame rate was very poor at the time due to the slow data speeds – I was lucky to get 1 frame a second when we were driving. But, one frame was better than none.
As technology began to improve, so did our abilities to live stream. In the summer of 2006 I convinced my TV bosses to start live streaming our newscasts, despite conventional “wisdom” that doing so would hurt TV ratings. In the end, the opposite happened: the more content we streamed live, the more people watched TV news.
TV viewers quickly began consuming our live video content. On January 4, 2007, more than 9,000 people watched our live streaming coverage of Nick Saban being introduced as the new head coach of the University of Alabama. We also started live video streaming The Paul Finebaum Show, a daily sports radio talk show in Birmingham, Alabama. Thousands tuned in each day to watch Paul’s reaction to his callers.
In later 2007 I assisted my church in setting up a live streaming solution for worship services. Since then hundreds of sermons have been streamed via the congregation’s Ustream channel and archived on YouTube, giving visitors and sick members a way to participate in the worship services.
By 2011 the iPhone phenomenon was sweeping the country, revolutionizing the way people consumed content. As a storm chaser and digital content producer, I started using it to stream live HD video on my way to work for the traffic reporter. I also live reports via Skype from places where sending a standard TV truck was not practical or cost-effective.
My most vivid memory of the power of this new mobile streaming technology happened on April 27, 2011, when my photographer and I chased an EF-4 tornado into Tuscaloosa, Alabama. My live video and live phone reports, both before and after the tornado damaged or destroyed more than 10 percent of the city, encouraged thousands more to take shelter as the storm raced towards Birmingham. My live video was streamed for hours via Ustream, a segment of which I saved here on YouTube.
In early 2013 I began to take notice of what I now believe is a seismic shift in the way news and media is consumed. The rapid adoption of “smart phones,” coupled with great advancements in data speeds by cell phone carriers and internet service providers, dramatically changed the media consumption habits of the U.S. population. People no longer needed to go home and watch TV to get their news – it was delivered instantly to them on their phones during the day.
Advertisers knew this, too. Trade reporters told stories weekly of businesses who were shifting more money out of traditional media (newspapers, radio, TV, etc.) and into digital properties such as websites, apps, and social media.
By April 2013 I knew I needed to make a change. I felt a desire to carry my TV talents to digital content marketers. I could feel the internet revolution.
So, on June 1, 2013, Cross Digital was born. The company started out originally as a content marketing company. However, within a few months I realized the company needed a specific focus – a unique mission.
In July 2014, that mission started to come into focus with the arrival of Pat Smith. Pat was the co-creator of The Paul Finebaum Show but left the show in May 2014 and began working with me to develop a live, weekly high school football show. The show generated more than 38,000 views on its YouTube channel during the 2014 football season, making a huge splash in our community.
In March 2015 we launched the Alabama version of Listen to the Eagle, a weekly radio show and live streaming internet TV show. In May 2015 we live streamed a local high school graduation ceremony which resulted in this international viral video.
In July 2015 we launched Game Day Bunker, a live streaming TV show focused on football at Auburn University. The following month we launched the Husky Fast Network, a live streaming TV and Radio Network broadcasting football games and other athletic events for Hewitt-Trussville High School in Trussville, Alabama.
- Live and on-demand Game Day Bunker content was viewed more than 90,000 times during the 2015 football season.
- Live and on-demand Husky Fast Network content was consumed more than 30,000 times during the 2015 football season.
Those numbers are incredible considering the marketing budget for each was less than $500 for the season.
Speaking of money, both Game Day Bunker and the Husky Fast Network generated tens of thousands of dollars in gross revenue during the fall of 2015.
In February 2016 we executed one of the most challenging live streaming events in our company history: a 5-hour unscripted show covering UAB Football. Streamed from inside the UAB locker room, more than 1,000 people tuned in to see live coverage as coaches announced the arrival of letters of intent from football commitments. The show was a huge success.
In addition to internet live streaming, I am often asked to provide live video and audio support at large events. Since 2013 I have designed and executed a multi-camera A/V setup for Exposure Youth Camp and the AIM Conference (formerly known as Southern Evangelism Conference.) I have also provided similar assistance to Faulkner University and the GULF Youth Experience.
How This Website Helps You
My goal with LiveStreamingAnswers.com is to share with you all of the knowledge and experience I have accumulated about live streaming. I am not an engineer and don’t claim to be one, but I can offer my suggestions on what to buy and who to use to live stream your upcoming sport or event. I know what works for me and how it can work for you.
Specifically, my goal with this website is to:
- Teach you how to live stream
- Share with you live streaming equipment options
- Show you which live streaming company I chose (and help you pick which one is best for your budget)
- How to setup pre-roll advertising on your live stream
- How to setup your equipment to get the live video to the internet
- How to measure how many people are watching your live stream
This website will teach you how to live stream on multiple platforms, including:
- Private vendors (such as Wowza)
Who is this website for?
LiveStreamingAnswers.com is designed for people who want to start live streaming. I specifically am interested in helping churches, schools, and other small and medium-sized businesses and organizations setup live streaming solutions for events such as:
- Church worship services
- Schools and colleges
- Indoor and Outdoor Sporting events (football, basketball, baseball, etc.)
- Business Training Sessions
- Private Business Webinars
LiveStreamingAnswers.com is also suited for entrepreneurs, bloggers, and other content creators who want to “step up their game” and monetize their live video streaming efforts beyond the limits of social media streaming services.
This is great! How do I get started?
For now, send me a message in the box below to tell me you are interested in learning more from me. I am finishing up work on a 4-week training class where I will teach you everything you need to know. Once the course is ready I will send you an email to tell you how you can join the class.
I am also working on a Resources page where I will list all of the equipment I use. I will include links to those products so you can buy them yourself.
If you have any questions that I did not answer here, please feel free to contact me.