Gary Kirk, a broadcast engineer at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill IT’s department, is no stranger to the evolving video landscape. 


With more than 20 years of professional video experience, including live television production at FOX and CBS affiliates, Gary oversees radio, television, and classroom technology at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media


When the pandemic hit, Gary acted fast to ensure journalists-in-training were equipped with the tools needed to share stories in a virtual world. With the transition to a cloud-based workflow in Socialive, UNC journalism students were able to successfully produce live newscasts across social media channels.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill




Remote Video Production

“Students love the platform. We were able to focus on the quality of our show, rather than the technical details.”

Gary Kirk | Broadcast Engineer, UNC Chapel Hill


The Burden Of Complex Live Streaming Hardware

To allow for agility, UNC’s IT team wanted to migrate to a cloud-based workflow. The team tested live streaming tools such as VMix and Livestream Studio, but realized these options came with the additional burden of “supplying horsepower.”


In search of a live streaming software that fit their criteria, UNC’s IT team faced several issues:

  • Cumbersome hardware-based stream options
  • Overwhelming user interface for students
  • Remote guest restrictions
  • Complex simulcast process

During the transition to remote learning due to COVID-19, it was critical for Gary’s team to quickly implement a solution.



Socialive Eliminates Barriers To Video Production For UNC Students

UNC’s journalism department adopted Socialive as a solution to empower students to produce live video for social media channels such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.


Although students were accustomed to switchers and audio boards, their transition to Socialive was smooth and encouraged outside of the box thinking. Students captured, produced, and broadcasted live news segments such as “Carolina Now,” "Sports Xtra” and “Carolina Week.”

UNC students use Socialive to produce “Sportst Xtra,” a live sports news segment for Tar Heel fans.

By the end of the semester, students not only produced creative videos for their reels, but also for award submissions. The ability to easily invite remote guests to a broadcast in real time and simulcast to social media enabled students to efficiently interview members of the UNC community, such as professors and athletes on the university’s Women’s Field Hockey team and deliver local news.

In this episode of “Carolina Now,” UNC student Aashna Shah shares how COVID-19 has impacted the university by using branded graphics and interviewing remote students in Socialive.

“Students can get overwhelmed when producing a newscast. When you show them a linear timeline view in Socialive, they can visually see the sequence of events. It's very user-friendly.”

Gary Kirk | Broadcast Engineer, UNC Chapel Hill


Breaking News At The Speed Of Social Media

By partnering with Socialive, young reporters were able to virtually put their critical thinking and reporting skills to action. With the disruption of in-person learning, students were able to to tackle local stories in a timely manner as historic events unfolded in 2020.


Gary says, Socialive “broke down the barriers and gave us the tools we needed to solve our problems.” By implementing Socialive, students:

  • Gained real-world journalism experience in a remote world

  • Informed The UNC Chapel Hill community about the latest local campus news

  • Conducted remote guest interviews efficiently

  • Broadcasted news segments to multiple social media channels to reach wider audiences

Set up for success by Socialive’s partnership-oriented Customer Service team, Gary shares that working with us has “felt like a partnership from the start.”


“The Socialive team delivered everything they said they could. They were honest when we asked to do things that they couldn't, and always provided solutions.”

Gary Kirk | Broadcast Engineer, UNC Chapel Hill

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