As television stations go, the Internet has posed some new challenges for viewers. Many people are turning off the tube in lieu of the Internet and WJHL has launched a new feature that has quickly become one of my new “guilty pleasures.”

The WJHL ‘Back Channel’ or the ‘B.C.’ is a simple live web cam that is positioned on the news desk. Taking advantage of live streaming tools offered by UStream, viewers can now watch the news as it unfolds like a ‘fly on the wall.’

The live stream captures the off-screen banter from Josh Smith and Sarah Diamond as they talk about the news behind the scenes and perform the nightly delivery of their produced segments.

You’ll watch Sarah fix her makeup while Josh cuts up with the videographers in between segments. They’ll turn the camera toward Mark Reynolds and things get quiet as he walks from the green screen to the news desk and there’s plenty of personality in the unfiltered approach.

You can hear most of the news, but you get to know the staff a little more with these segments. Of course, you’ll miss a lot of the produced segments that play during the live broadcasts and there are also those pesky, albeit random commercials from Ustream.

Talking with Dan Cates, the new WJHL station manager, he indicated to me how surprising the feedback has been thus far.

It’s a friendly interface that’s kind of kooky and although the audiences are small with up to 15 to 35 viewing at any one time, this is sure to catch on for those moments when you’re surfing Facebook or checking your email.

I imagine that this wouldn’t be great for every newsroom because their may be some risky comments made from time-to-time, but so far Sarah and Josh have been above board with their family affair alone. It’s cute, playful and certainly a unique perspective that you might enjoy checking out from time to time.

Login on the UStream BackChannel at this link and comment to Sarah and Josh during the broadcasts – believe me, they’ll talk back. I don’t know of any local news channel that does a better job with social media right now that WJHL so a tip of the hat to these folks for giving us something new and entertaining.

Great job guys!