Our meetup with the Houston-Galveston PIO Network

Last Thursday, I tagged along with Rakesh Agrawal (CEO of SnapStream) to introduce TV search to the regional PIO Network meeting held at the Texas Department of Transportation. I’ll tell you, public information is A LOT to keep up with, especially with all the mutations of social media multiplying every second.

There were all sorts of PIOs represented, from city offices to the Coast Guard. It was cool to see all of these diverse officials gathered with their common, collective concern for public knowledge, safety and health.

The meeting kicked off with Chuck Wolf, an integral media consultant in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill response, which is now transitioning to the gulf restoration response. (Woohoo the well is capped!) At the Joint Information Center headquartered in New Orleans, Chuck and his team dispense a mind-boggling amount of documents–fact sheets, press releases, media advisories–on a 24-7 basis.

“A Joint Information Center is a co-located group of representatives from local, state, federal and private organizations designated to handle public information needs during an incident or event.”

BP has put together quite the team to handle the world’s largest oil spill response. You can see who’s involved at this page of deepwaterinvestigation.com.

Having a tough act to follow, we were the closers in the presenting line-up. (In baseball, that’s a very important job!) Rakesh led the presentation about SnapStream, joined by the insights of Rosie Torres, Assistant PIO, Harris County Office of Emergency Management and Dinah Massie, PIO, Houston TranStar.

At the Harris County OEM, the PIOs recently monitored flash flood warnings during Hurricane Alex. Meanwhile, the Houston TranStar office continually tracks local television news to verify and enforce correct attribution for traffic footage. Those magic words, “courtesy of Houston TranStar” must appear. (Or else, major traffic jams will incur!)

Lastly, we learned the telling results of a media monitoring survey conducted among the Houston-Galveston group. Two major stats to highlight:

86% of PIOs monitor local TV stations on a day-to-day, non-emergency basis.

98% of PIOs monitor local television stations when an emergency or disaster arises.

That’s what makes SnapStream incredibly relevant for this group. Since many of these municipal agencies share LAN connections, they can pool together and utilize one centralized SnapStream Server to access TV Search and disperse actionable news quickly to their departments. Wouldn’t that be something?