In September, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its much-anticipated Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Final Rule. On January 1, 2020, all employers—including nonprofits–must do business in a regulatory environment where the minimum salary level for exemption from FLSA’s overtime rules has been raised almost 50 percent.
The final rule updates the earnings thresholds necessary to exempt executive, administrative, or professional employees from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime pay requirements, and allows employers to count a portion of certain bonuses (and commissions) towards meeting the salary level. The new thresholds account for growth in employee earnings since the currently enforced thresholds were set in 2004. In the final rule, the Department is:
The increases to the salary thresholds are long overdue in light of wage and salary growth since 2004. Nearly every person who commented on the Department’s 2017 Request for Information, participated at listening sessions in 2018 regarding the regulations, or commented on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking agreed that the thresholds needed to be updated for this reason.
The Department estimates that 1.2 million additional workers will be entitled to minimum wage and overtime pay as a result of the increase to the standard salary level. The Department also estimates that an additional 101,800 workers will be entitled to overtime pay as a result of the increase to the HCE compensation level.
More information about the final rule is available at https://www.dol.gov/whd/overtime2019/.
By R.V. Baugus
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon came to the University of Texas at Austin for its first-ever college campus show on November 17. The taped show was held on campus at the Bass Concert Hall and before 2,500 students who won tickets in a lottery.
Will Shirey, talent buyer – concerts and strategic programming for Texas Performing Arts, caught a breath to talk about the event, how it came together, and just how dang cool it was for the university to have the distinction of hosting the show.
How did Mr. Fallon’s appearance come about?
As Jimmy Fallon tells it, he was watching ESPN College Gameday live from the University of Texas at Austin and he loved the students’ energy so much that he wanted to take the show on the road to a university for the first time. The NBC producers reached out to the University of Texas President’s office first and were met with a warm reception so then we all got to work to figure out how we could make it happen together. The same day we cleared the production needs and confirmed the dates with NBC, Fallon announced the UT taping on his show.
How was it decided which venue on campus to use?
On NBC’s first visit to the UT campus, they scouted a few locations, but once they walked onto the Bass Concert Hall stage it was the clear front-runner from a production standpoint as well as aesthetically for the audience shots during the show. We were also able to move some dates around and figure out a way for the production schedules of the shows that were already onsale in their seven-day load-in, three-day load-out window to coexist and fulfill everyone’s needs.
How much preparation/lead time did you have to prepare for the appearance?
We officially confirmed and announced in mid-September and load-in started on Halloween, so about a month and a half of committed, official preparation and execution time. We had a few weeks prior to the announce to establish the tentative plan with NBC, but it was definitely a sprint to the finish.
How was it determined who could attend?
Similar to the tapings for the show at the studio in New York, the university ran an online ticket application for UT students that was open for 48 hours and ticket winners were chosen randomly from the list of applicants. We had 17,418 unique student applications for over 30,000 tickets with +1 requests. Ticket holders entered the building first for the show and at a pre-set deadline any empty seats were filled with people waiting in a separate standby line. We had about 10 times the capacity of the usual studio audience so we worked closely with the NBC Audience team to make sure every seat was filled before Jimmy ran onto the stage.
What did the exposure mean for the venue and the university?
I think it was a huge win for everyone involved. It was a unique, entertaining, and high energy college taping for The Tonight Show, a once in a lifetime opportunity for 2,500 UT students and an hour-long national commercial for the University of Texas and Bass Concert Hall. It made current students and alumni proud and I can only imagine how many prospective students interest it piqued to apply to UT. Bass Concert Hall got a few shoutouts on the show, some beautiful shots from inside the hall and images of the outside of the building that showcased the room at its finest. Hosting the show has definitely added momentum to our programming and development efforts.
Anything different logistically you had to do for the appearance inside the venue?
Outside of making sure all of the seats were filled for the show and pulling some seats for the various camera platforms on each level of the house we didn’t change much look of the hall itself. The show brought in quite a bit of additional lighting for the audience shots, but most everything you see on camera is the existing look of the room.
What was Jimmy’s take on the venue, if he shared that with anyone?
He was overwhelmed with the energy and size of the audience that was there for the show. On multiple occasions he pointed up to the top of the second balcony and got the people all the way in the back of the house worked into a frenzy.
Word of advice to any campus venue preparing for an event like this would be to (fill in the blank!):
Have something to offer to people who waited for hours in the standby line and still aren’t able to make it into the show. We knew we would have far more demand from students than seats in the room so the university set up a huge LED screen on the LBJ Lawn right across the street from Bass where students could watch the taping live from the stage before it aired that night. Once we hit capacity in Bass and had to close the doors it was great to have a place to send students where they could still feel like they were a part of the action. Otherwise I think we may have had a riot on our hands!
Photos by Andrew Lipovsky/NBC
By R.V. Baugus
So it is 3:15 a.m. and you are having trouble sleeping. You are a huge Baltimore Ravens fan and, by gosh, you have tickets for the upcoming home game and really wanting to know where in M&T Bank Stadium you can find a beloved crabcake. What to do, what to do?
Welcome to what the team and venue dubs a new virtual assistant/virtual concierge/chatbot known as FlockBot. Yes, get out of bed, oh restless one, and hop on to your phone or computer and talk to a real interactive virtual assistant to answer that question and many, many more 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
It is another frontier in which technology is taking us while ensuring that the customer experience now goes WAY beyond just entering and exiting the gates following a game.
The Ravens make it easy for fans to connect with FlockBot through the Ravens Mobile app as well as the team’s website. Flockbot is designed to answer questions about the stadium, tickets, gameday and team information. Oh, and of course where to go in the stadium to find your favorite food fare.
If those immediate responses aren’t to your liking (hey, who says at 3:15 a.m. our mind isn’t a bit foggy), fans can in fact be connected to a real person if necessary.
Team Director of Digital Media Dave Lang said, “We’re always thinking about how we can utilize technology to enhance the fan experience — both inside and outside the stadium. Our hope is the FlockBot will help us to improve customer service by more rapidly responding to fans’ questions and concerns.”
The team’s newest technology comes on the heels of a completed $120 million renovation of the stadium last July that focused on the fan experience at the 71,000-seat stadium and included the installation of new 4K UHD video displays, escalators and elevators, new sound system, upgraded kitchen facilities, redesigned club level, and updated suites.
As far as FlockBot, look for it to be extremely busy in the days ahead as the 12-2 Ravens have not only run away with the AFC North but boast a likely NFL Most Valuable Player in quarterback Lamar Jackson.
“FlockBot, where will the Super Bowl be played?”
In IAVM Board news, Phil Jordan, CVE, has stepped down as the Performing Arts Sector Director for the IAVM Board as he has recently moved into the consulting world. IAVM Board Chair, Tammy Koolbeck, CVE, has appointed Jennifer Norris, CVE, Assistant Managing Director for the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, to serve the remainder of Phil’s term which expires in July 2021.
“We appreciate Phil’s commitment and service representing Performing Arts and look forward to welcoming Jennifer to the IAVM Board,” Koolbeck said.
By Justin Ochsner
Video board manufacturer Daktronics has partnered with Major League Soccer franchise Houston Dynamo to design, manufacture, and install four new LED boards at the team’s BBVA Stadium.
Installation is underway and the boards will be ready for use by early 2020 in time for the new MLS season.
The main video board will measure approximately 34 feet high by 73 feet wide and feature a 15HD pixel layout to bring clear images to every seat. The main display will also feature environmental protection to ensure optimal performance during adverse weather conditions.
The main display will be capable of variable content zoning allowing it to show one large image or multiple zones of live video, instant replay, up-to-the-minute statistics, graphics and animations, and sponsorship messages.
Additionally, two auxiliary displays and a new marquee display will be fitted at the stadium. The auxiliary displays will measure around 15 feet high by 26 feet wide and provide supplementary content to the main display, while the exterior marquee will measure 25 feet high by 37 feet wide and promote current and upcoming events at the stadium.
Daktronics’ Show Control System will also be included in the installation. The system provides a combination of display control software, video processing, data integration and playback hardware to offer a user-friendly production solution.
Dynamo president John Walker said: “We’re excited to team up with Daktronics to continue to improve the game-day experience for our fans through improved video boards. We’re grateful to Gabriel Brener and our ownership group for their continued commitment to invest in all aspects of our club, both on and off the pitch. These video boards will help us continue to deliver a first-class experience for all fans at BBVA Stadium for years to come.”
Dan Fjeldheim, Daktronics sales representative, added: “The new video technology at BBVA Stadium is going to be a significant upgrade in both size and resolution. The fan experience will be lifted to a whole new level and we are grateful for the opportunity to provide the new displays for the stadium.”
Justin Ochsner is in the media relations department with Daktronics.