PROVIDENCE, RI — The set is modest, with a splash of blue paint and a solitary HVACtv logo providing the only color on the otherwise clean wall. There is a smattering of lights. Cameras of various sizes and computer equipment are humming. A few impromptu scripts are scattered about.

Welcome to the world of It’s not glamorous, but the hvacr trade isn’t known for its glamour. The messages on this website are clear and succinct. No frills, just facts.

But as simple as it may seem, this new project would be measured against the standards set by the broadcast industry. It was time for the beta test.

On July 25, 2000, had its first “live” webcast, featuring an array of topics and products. The program consisted of:

  • Taped messages from John White Jr., president of Taco, Inc., and Dan Holahan, creator of and known for his famous chat room, “The Wall.”

  • Live presentations from Taco’s George Tabor on changing pump seals; News editor John R. Hall on the technician shortage problem; Taco’s Dave Sweet on outdoor reset controls; and Johnson & Wales University’s Everettt Zurlinden on “Virtual Teams” and “Workplace Transformation.”

The first webcast was not highly publicized, with invitations going out to 1,600 Internet users. Over 200 responded and registered for the event. Visitors were also invited to talk with the featured speakers via a chat room set up on the Web site.

As the 7:00 hour approached, speakers and technicians were told to keep quiet. The a/c system and phones were shut off. Only the occasional footsteps above could be heard in the basement studio.

Webcast producer Ric Murray, president of biz2bizTV, rolled the tape of White as cameraman John Meyers focused on narrator Dan Sheppard.

Meanwhile, at a separate table out of camera view, Tabor prepared his pumps. After the White speech wrapped up, Murray cued Meyers and Sheppard to begin. The first “live” segments were under way.

Murray’s assistant, Debbie McCormick, shot a roll of film to record the historic moment and executive producer Ed Nowak Jr., of Sheppard Leger Nowak, Inc., kept an eye on the clock and on the Web site message board.

Fifty minutes after the start it was all over. With a smattering of applause and a few sighs of relief, HVACtv’s first webcast was “in the can.”

The precursor to a full-blown webcast to be held on August 29th, this first effort proved to be a valuable rehearsal.

Interested visitors are asked to register at to discuss next month’s webcast and to offer ideas or topics. The producers would like to know what you think. If you’d like to see a replay of the beta cast, visit the Web site and click on “Archives.”

The News would like to know what you think, too. Visit our Web site and join in the discussion on “Hvacr Forum” or e-mail John R. Hall at