Breakout Sessions Process Overview

Based on feedback from attendees and lessons learned from prior Annual Meetings, this process plan has been adapted for the 2018 Annual Meeting breakout sessions.  Similar to last year, this year’s line-up will include a curated list of sessions produced by PBS and station staff, with some of the most popular sessions (as voted on by the system) repeated. 

How many Breakout Sessions are available?

We have space and time for up to 32 Breakout Sessions.  There are 4 one-hour time periods and 8 individual rooms.  Some of the most popular sessions may be repeated to give more people an opportunity to attend. 

·      Monday, 5/7/18 (two 1-hour time periods)

·      Tuesday, 5/8/18 (one 1-hour time period)

·      Wednesday, 5/9/18 (one 1-hour time period)

How many Networking Meet-up Sessions are available?

As we did last year, we will schedule Networking Meet-up Sessions around topics of common interests.  The Meet-Ups will happen simultaneously in one or more different rooms.  Similar topics may be combined to maximize space.  The number of different topics will be limited to the space available. 

·      Wednesday, 5/9/18 (one 30-minute time period)

What’s the difference between a Breakout session and a Networking Meet-up session?

Breakout sessions are 60-minutes long, organized around a particular topic, designed to share knowledge, or help you develop professionally.  Breakouts usually have a scheduled line-up of presenters, panelists, or facilitators.  Breakouts are held in individual rooms and include A/V support.  There are four time periods scheduled for Breakout Sessions (see above).

Networking Meet-up sessions are 30-minutes long, organized around a particular topic, designed for networking, information sharing, or conversation/discussion.  Generally, meet-up conversations require a facilitator.  Sessions may be held simultaneously at different tables in the same large room or scheduled in individual rooms (to be determined based on available space).  There may be no A/V support available.  There is one time period scheduled for Networking Meet-up sessions (Wednesday, 5/9/18).

What should potential session producers consider when submitting a proposal?

Topics suggested by attendees who completed the 2017 PBS Annual Meeting Survey are listed here:  Prior to submitting a proposal, please also consider:

·      Sessions should be station-focused and include station voices and perspectives.

·      Include in your session description the key takeaways from your session.  What do attendees need to know and what should they take back to their station colleagues?

·      Consider how attendees will use this information, especially at smaller stations where employees perform many different job functions.  Cross-station and cross-discipline collaborations are highly encouraged! 

·      How will you build in elements that make the sessions interactive and engaging?  Tip:  we’re looking for more than 10 minutes of Q&A at the end.

·      How is your event, process, project, or campaign scalable for larger AND smaller stations?

·      Based on feedback from the 2017 Annual Meeting, the number of speakers (including facilitators/moderators) is strictly limited to 5 people.

·      Lectures and speeches are strongly discouraged!

What is the timeline for this process?

Date (approx.)



Request for breakout session proposals out to the system


Webinar on submission process, timeline, and selection criteria


Webinar on submission process, timeline, and selection criteria


Deadline – Last day to submit breakout session proposals

1/18/18 – 1/26/18

Online Voting Open (8 days) – All are welcome to vote once for their favorite sessions


Planning team to notify breakout session submitters of disposition of proposal


Strategy meetings with session producers to work through details of the session structure


Deadline – Final breakout session titles/descriptions/speakers from session producers


Why should I vote for my favorite sessions?

Online voting will help the planning team determine the most popular sessions; some of those sessions may be repeated.  Your vote counts!  Only 1 vote per IP address is permitted.  Voters may vote for their top 2 sessions in each category.  Voting may inform the selection decision but will not determine the final line-up of Breakout Sessions.  The Annual Meeting planning committee – with guidance from the PBS Senior Management Team – will determine the final list of breakout sessions.

How do I sign up for a webinar?


  This webinar is complete – you can watch the recording here:


  This webinar is complete – you can watch the recording here:

Where do I submit my proposal?

·      To submit a 2018 PBS Annual Meeting Breakout Session, click here:

·      Use this Word doc to draft the narrative, then copy/paste into the submission form:

·      To suggest a topic for Networking Meet-ups, click here:

·      For a complete list of Networking Meet-up submissions, click here:

Who should I contact with questions?

Carol Sorber
PBS Station Services