Charles River Media Group Announced as a 2022 Local Excellence Award Winner by UpCity!

Charles River Media Group Announced as a 2022 Local Excellence Award Winner by UpCity!

For more than a decade, UpCity’s mission has been—and continues to be—to help businesses find B2B service providers they can trust. The UpCity Recommendability Rating was developed to determine a service provider’s credibility and recommendability, giving UpCity the confidence to recommend them to the more than 2 million businesses that visit their site. 

Each year, UpCity analyzes and scores more than 70,000 service providers based on their UpCity Recommendability Rating and acknowledges the top national and local providers with an UpCity Excellence Award. The results are in, and we won!

We are proud to announce that the Charles River Media Group team has been recognized as one of the top B2B service providers of 2022 in the Boston area by UpCity! 

Heidi Sullivan, SVP of Product & Marketing at UpCity, had this to say about Charles River Media Group:

“Charles River Media Group simply excels above the rest. One look at their online reviews proves their consistent ability to not only deliver best-in-class results, but also top-notch service. Congratulations on your 2022 Local Excellence Award!”

—Heidi Sullivan, SVP Product & Marketing, UpCity


This recognition has been driven in large part by our 5-star review rating on UpCity. Here are a few of our favorite pieces of feedback we’ve received from our incredible customers:

  • “I had a tight deadline that needed a first-class two-minute video that I could use to sell my product. Don Schechter owned my project and accomplished it with true professionalism, enthusiasm, and creativity. Key things that stood out, he needed my content and knowledge of my product but brought all the creative; his team worked a long day and never stopped driving until the final product was achieved; they made every deadline and lastly they over-delivered. I plan on using them for future initiatives and would recommend them highly.” – Dave W., August 2019
  • “I am always amazed not only by the wide scope of work Charles River Media Group handles but also by the level of professionalism and quality CRMG delivers, regardless of how big or small the clients’ demands are. People at CRMG are caring, down-to-earth, humorous, and highly-skilled–and very easy to work with.” – Eugene K., November 2018


Thank you to everyone who has supported our company throughout the years and helped us reach this point. We couldn’t have done this without each and every one of you!


Learn more about the UpCity Excellence Awards.


#ActivateEngagement Series

A series of articles written by our EdTech Strategy Advisor, Dr. Rachel Schechter, on how to #ActivateEngagement During Virtual Live Events during virtual events utilizing our video platform, production, and studio services.

Article 1:

How to #ActivateEngagement During Virtual Live Events: Tips from Learning Sciences

For companies facing the pandemic, changing every live event to a virtual event had to be done quickly. Sales training needed to be done before peak season. New hire orientation couldn’t be delayed. Leadership conferences to set the vision for the year were crucial to get everyone on the same page.

Most made use of the web conferencing tools they already had. They weren’t perfect. Perhaps they didn’t allow for live polls or maybe they couldn’t mix live and pre-recorded videos. But it was good enough at the time.

Almost a year later, employees and external audiences have higher expectations. They’ve seen online news shows present a seamless story and the Academy Awards host a glamorous event. Everyone has to up their game – with the tools they use and the way they use them.

Without being in person, our audience’s attention will be harder to hold on to and we won’t be able to put candy on every table. Tricks from cognitive and learning sciences maximize the impact of virtual events. You likely have key messages that you’ve identified, information that you need to share, and stories to tell that will inspire your audience to engage them.

This article series highlights six concepts from psychology and learning sciences that will help you activate engagement with any audience.

  • Identify: Novelty, Interactivity
  • Inform: Metacognition, Creation
  • Inspire: Empathy, Gratitude

At a recent event that Charles River Media Group produced with Monotype, these concepts were illustrated throughout the week. Monotype integrated novelty through a creative Olympic theme and celebrity guest speaker. Interactivity was evidenced by 700 comments gathered throughout the keynotes. Those comments were filled with shout-outs, thank-yous, and words of reflection:

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.” 

The summary below highlights a few KPIs that contributed towards a successful sales meeting. Email to learn more about producing your next live virtual event with CRMG.

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Article 2:
6 Ways in Infuse Gratitude in Your Next Event
Travel experts recommend that the first word you should learn before traveling to a country with a foreign language is “thank you.”  When receiving help from others, expressing gratitude in their native language shows effort and appreciation for their culture. Though many of us aren’t currently traveling, the practice of gratitude can often get lost in our routine. Internal meetings, sales conferences, or other large virtual events are times when it’s important to stop, focus on our relationships, and take stock in the power of gratitude.

What is Gratitude?

Gratitude is the appreciation of another person or entity. Expressing gratitude can occur verbally, by explicitly saying “thank you” or can also be shown implicitly through actions or gestures. 

What isn’t Gratitude?

Recognition is not necessarily an expression of gratitude. Leadership expertMike Robbins explains the distinction between appreciation and recognition: 

“Recognition is about what we do.  Appreciation is about who we are.  Both of these things are important and motivating.  And, appreciation runs deeper and cuts to the core of who we are and our relationships with one another.”

Why does Gratitude matter?

Interactions with others make up the fabric of our social relationships and expressing gratitude fosters a connection between the giver and recipient. Researchers have found that showing gratitude is important for the initiation and maintenance of social relationships.  Just like effective feedback, impactful gratitude is specific and timely. A practice of regular gratitude can have powerful long-lasting effects.  

6 Ways in Infuse Gratitude in Your Next Event

There are a lot of ways to express gratitude during live virtual events.  Start with one of the examples below that best fits the organization’s culture.

    1. Incorporate a “Gratitude Moment” into each presentation.  Meetings often celebrate accomplishments from the past quarter or the last year. Leaders may shy away from calling out individuals or groups with the fear that others will be left out.  When these shout-outs are frequently incorporated, team members find more reasons to express gratitude and the actions are inclusive when added up together (especially when someone is helping keep track). 
    2. Create a “Wall of Gratitude” for live interactions. There are a number of online tools that allow for large groups to create a virtual bulletin board to enable attendee voice.  Once you’ve picked the tool, pull in someone from the design team to organize and pre-set blank notes that will entice contributions. “Advertise” the wall during a keynote and other meeting communications. 
  • Add “Thank you” to the Swag Bag. When considering mailing out gifts for your attendees, add the simple phrase “Thank you” to the logo-plastered mug, t-shirt, or notebook. Every time someone looks at that item, the combination of logo and gratitude may support brand loyalty. 
    1. Integrate gratitude with self-care rooms or sessions.  Many day- or week-long virtual events are including self-care sessions such as yoga, mindfulness, and meditation.  These online sessions are naturally positioned to not only include gratitude but to put it front and center. 
  • Pair “Gratitude Awards” with sales awards. Making a sale in today’s climate takes a team effort.  If your company has a sales awards tradition, consider including nominations and awards to the office heroes that support sales. Similar to the gratitude shout-outs, implement a process and monitoring system in line with the organization’s DEI initiatives. 
  1. Bring your audience out of their everyday world. When events were in person, traveling to a hotel or sitting in fancy ballrooms was part of showing attendees gratitude.  Mimic this opportunity to escape by using a platform that has a different look and feel than the group’s usual web-conference software.

Inspire Gratitude

When planning your next company meeting or public event, consider how to weave gratitude throughout it to build and maintain relationships. During a recent live virtual event that Charles River Media Group produced, all the words in the comments were analyzed for content thanks to the analytics provided by their platform.  Over 50% of the comments explicitly recognized individuals and teams or explicitly expressed gratitude.


It’s never too late to increase your expression of gratitude in the workplace, in your classroom, or while engaging with others online.

Article 3:

5 Ways to Integrate Novelty to Activate Engagement

“Groundhog day” has taken a new meaning post-2020. When work, family, and entertainment are all happening in the same location, the brain craves novelty.  When not “at work,” trying new recipes or taking walks to new neighborhoods can help keep life interesting. At work, we need to innovate our online spaces to incorporate novelty to boost engagement and build relationships.

Even if a company uses a variety of communication tools, it is easy for employees to tune out of large company meetings that use the same platforms. New technologies and access to guest speakers (including celebrities) are easier to implement and cost less than pre-pandemic.

What is Novelty?

happy smiling baby

Novelty is the presence of something new, original, or unusual.  Babies as young as 2 months old show preference for novelty by looking toward new stimuli and looking away from the familiar.  The brain is rewarded with dopamine after each new stimulus, which attracts attention, promotes learning, and increases motivation.

Why does Novelty matter?

The brain evolved to reward novelty in support of survival; for safety reasons (remembering new dangers) and to support exploration and innovation (trying new things). On a daily basis, phone and tech notifications fight for attention with “bings” and pop-up windows. In learning, bringing learners to a new setting (going on a field trip, retreat, or hotel meeting room) can prime the attendee to pay closer attention and remember what was learned in that novel space.

What to keep in mind about Novelty

rocks balancing on the beach

While adding surprises to an event may incorporate novelty, new stimuli does not necessarily have to be shrouded in mystery to have heightened excitement and memorability.  It is also important to balance familiar with the novel.  Familiarity helps us feel safe, therefore too much uncertainty and newness could induce stress instead of pleasure.

5 Ways to Integrate Novelty at Your Next Live Virtual Event

  1. Hire Celebrities.  What do you think about Dennis Rodman having a cameo during your event? That would certainly be novel and memorable! With the entertainment industry production paused, now is a great time to integrate a celebrity cameo into a new initiative kickoff meeting. Joe Biden’s campaign hosted dozens of virtual events and fundraisers – one of the most attended included the original broadway cast of Hamilton.  Budget a moment to allow the audience to take a selfie to keep forever!
Biden fundraising event with Obama &  Lin Manuel Miranda

2. Unique accessibility tools. Having a fully virtual event allows for the incorporation of accessibility tools, features, and support staff (ASL interpreters featured in the image above) to create a more inclusive experience than ever before.

3. Design around a theme. To quickly bring your attendees into a novel virtual space, going all in on a theme can really make a difference. A product launch could include graphics and demos of the product throughout the virtual spaces. A recent sales kickoff meeting CRMG hosted crafted an olympics theme and featured a US Gold Medalist as a keynote.

4. Remember to modulate. As with a movie or a symphony, a live event shouldn’t just have one energy level.  Modulating the energy is a way to infuse novelty. Varying dynamics will help keep the audience engaged across the whole event.

5. Incorporate audience voices. Engaging with the audience in new ways will attract their attention. Instant graphing and word clouds can make sharing opinions or ideas enticing. If the group needs extra incentive to participate, consider having a drawing with prizes for repeat participants.

Inspire with Novelty

In spring 2020, Abacus Health Products had to quickly pivot to reinvent their plan for their Arthritis Foundation fundraiser. Although their first instinct was to do a 4-6 person roundtable discussion, once they partnered with CRMG they innovated on new possibilities using Charles River Media Group’s virtual event expertise. In just a matter of weeks, producers and writers from around the globe brought together NFL stars, celebrity fitness coaches and chefs, as well as tv host Matt Iseman (American Ninja Warrior, Celebrity Apprentice), to live stream a fully remote fundraising event called “Survive and Thrive Covid-19: Celebrity Challenge.”

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Guests included NFL’s Rob Gronkoweski, model Camille Kostek, former linebacker Brian Urlacher, fitness trainer Harley Pasternak, former fullback Chris Gronkowski, and award winning check Ming Tsai.

When doing something new, there will always be challenges and unexpected barriers, but the potential positive impact of bringing novelty to the audience is worth the risk!

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CRMG’s Virtual Events Platform Bolsters Studio and Streaming Services

Needham Heights, MA – January 26, 2021 – Overwhelmingly, 93% event industry experts plan to invest in virtual events moving forward.  Charles River Media Group (CRMG) is a reseller of the Brandlive video platform, a vehicle for companies to interact with their audiences for sales meetings, trainings, fundraisers, conferences and other internal and external events. CRMG helps companies produce virtual events for audiences to identify with the company, be informed of key messages, and foster inspiration to engage them. 

Just over half (52.5%) of event marketers are challenged by the logistics of virtual events and believe virtual events require a different set of skills and resources. CRMG’s expertise and Brandlive’s intuitive interface makes virtual events much easier than using everyday virtual meeting software. Beyond group chat, interactive features such as polls, quizzes, and surveys alongside your video sessions drive engagement and viewer retention. If your event has sponsors or highlights promos, custom embeds right alongside the primary video can meet your needs, everything from donation boxes to tweets. 

Designed specifically for online events, the BrandLive platform complements CRMG’s video production, studio, and live streaming services to make CRMG a full-service shop for producing your next virtual event. 

“Utilizing our broadcast control rooms and production teams, we produce live and simulive programs that incorporate presenters in our studio and remotely via their webcams.” Director of Engineering Jon Shedler explained. “When we include slide decks, video playbacks, and branded on-screen graphics, it results in a seamless and engaging experience for any audience.”

Employee engagement is critical for company success – and creating a custom virtual event experience can still drive employee satisfaction and engagement KPIs at the fraction of the cost of in-person events. It’s not the setting that makes events unique and memorable, it’s the experience and connection between people.  Contact Charles River Media Group today to start planning your energizing spring and summer events for all audiences and budget sizes. 

Virtual Events



Charles River Media Group completes acquisition of Sonic Pixel Media

For Immediate Release

Boston, MA – January 6, 2021Charles River Media Group, LLC (CRMG), a Boston based video production company and studio, announced the completion of the acquisition of Sonic Pixel Media (SPM). Jon Shedler joins CRMG as the new Director of Engineering and Mike Damiano joins as Technical Director. 

“Charles River Media Group relied on SPM for the past five years as a valued live streaming and virtual events partner. In 2020, CRMG was fortunate to thrive with exponential growth in our virtual, hybrid, and studio services. It seemed no better time to officially bring SPM into the company,”  said Charles River Media Group founder Don Schechter. 

Together, CRMG and SPM have worked with Fortune 500, pharmaceutical, and technology companies, as well as creative agencies, universities, musicians, event planners, and non-profit organizations to engage online audiences through full-service live streaming production.

“Having CRMG as a strategic partner over the past few years has been a positive experience for both our businesses and our clients.” said Sonic Pixel Media founder, Jon Shedler. “Our complementary services have allowed us to produce a large variety of projects. By officially combining our teams and resources, we will continue to grow and provide added value to our clients.”

Schechter added, “Last year’s acquisition of Fein Productions boosted our in-house video production capabilities and SPM’s team will continue to lead us in the virtual events space. Their expertise, combined with our investments into our online event platform, which we will be detailing in the coming weeks, will propel us into 2021.”


About Charles River Media Group

Charles River Media Group

73 TV Place

Needham Heights, MA 02494



MIT Sloan Experts Series: ‘Human-Centered AI’

On December 8th, MIT Sloan School of Management premiered their latest installment of the MIT Sloan Expert Series: ‘Human-Centered AI’: How can the technology industry fight bias in machines and people? CRMG produced this video, which included remote recording from our control room using VMix call and editing the final product together. 

The show is hosted by Rebecca Knight, and features Renée Richardson Gosline, Senior Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a Principal Research Scientist at MIT’s Initiative on The Digital Economy. 

She is joined by two experts in the field: Cathy O’Neil from ORCAA, author of Weapons of Math Destruction and Kathy Baxter,  Principal Architect of The Ethical AI Practice at Salesforce. They discuss the biases inherent in AI technology, how companies can mitigate them, and the ways AI tech plays a role in the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Check out the full episode here: 


Clutch Honors Charles River Media Group as Top B2B Company in Massachusetts

Video has become the most sought after medium when it comes to marketing. As technology progresses, more and more people are consuming video content on the daily compared to other mediums such as blogs. In turn, more companies are starting to produce video content to attract consumers to their product/services. 

It’s no secret that video content, when done right, has the potential to generate leads. No one understands this better than us. Charles River Media Group can provide your company’s online channels with engaging and genuine video content. Our wide range of services can cover all your business needs. From creating a series of informational videos to producing live streams.

But thanks to our wonderful clients and Clutch, we received the honor of being recognized as a Top B2B company in the Creative & Design category!Clutch Award

Clutch is the leader in connecting global service providers with corporate buyers from around the world. The ratings and reviews platform publishes the most extensive and referenced client reviews in the B2B services market. 

Every year, Clutch honors the highest-performing B2B companies in Massachusetts across industries. For the consecutive year, we were highlighted by Clutch as one of the top video production companies.

This is such wonderful news because it assures our team that we are always producing valuable work for our clients. Clutch’s team has to go through hundreds of companies like us and we’ve been selected again to receive this honor.

“We are thrilled to once again be singled out by Clutch. Their recognition is quite meaningful to us and we value their service.” – Don Schechter, CRMG Founder

But don’t take our word for it, here’s what our lovely clients had to say about our recent partnership.

Review from Clutch

We pride ourselves in the satisfaction of our clients. To be assured that the work we love to do is being positively received by our clients is an amazing feeling.

If you want to know more about how we can help your business, check out our Clutch profile! If you want help on your next project, talk to us now!

Open Up with Optimism with Life is Good Playmakers

On August 25th, the Life is Good Playmakers: Open Up with Optimism live premiere event, produced by CRMG, aired on Facebook and YouTube. The event was hosted by Steve Gross, Founder and Chief Playmaker with Alicia Barnatchez, Associate Director of Training from Life is Good Playmakers.

From our studio, Steve gave several presentations for teachers and parents alike on the value of optimism for themselves and their students going into the upcoming school year. In the event announcement from PR Newswire, Steve says, “Life is Good Playmakers are uniquely positioned to help childcare professionals realize the benefits of eternal and practical optimism to build those life-changing relationships to help our most vulnerable kids heal.”

studio livestream live premiere

The event featured guest appearances from country singer/songwriter Garth Brooks, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, and Bert and John Jacobs, co-founders of the Life is Good Company. The program concluded with a song from a local Haitian artist called “Rejoice,” following a story from Steve about his time in Haiti. Check out the program below:

An Evening with Ceres (at home)

On July 28th, Charles River Media Group live streamed “An Evening with Ceres (at home)” fundraising event, which featured multiple pre-recorded segments about sustainability and philanthropic efforts from members of the organization and affiliates. Guests included producer Norman Lear and Chair of the Elders Mary Robison,  as well as a live fireside chat between Indra Nooyi, Former Chairman & CEO of PepsiCo and Mindy Lubber, CEO & President of Ceres.

fundraising fundraising


The event was hosted by Ceres Vice President Anne Kelly, live from our studio, and Senior Manager Anthony Toppi from his home in California. The program featured regular appearances from Susan Sayers, also in our studio, to highlight hosts, sponsors, and incoming donations.

Fundraising Fundraising


Throughout the evening, viewers played several rounds of trivia, with live results appearing on the screen. As donations came in, a dynamic donation bar at the bottom of the screen updated on screen. After the pre-recorded and live content, a slideshow composed of photos sent in by viewers who participated in the event was shown as part of the post show material. The show closed with a second performance from the pre-show band, the Hannah Mayer Quartet. 


Check out some of the highlights below:


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