Stations interested in airing “What the Tech” please follow this link:
The origin story:
“What the Tech?” launched on a slow-news day in February 2011. I was a full-time dayside reporter at WKRN-TV, the ABC affiliate in Nashville, Tennessee. On this day, every story given to me in the morning meeting didn’t pan out. Phone calls were not being returned, stories weren’t exactly what we thought they were going to be. If you’re a news director or executive producer you know those days.
After trying on about a half-dozen pitches it was almost noon and we were no closer to finding a story. The board was broken and I, without a story, was slated to lead the 4:30 newscast. My assistant news director said, “Just go find something”. Oh, and one more thing, “It has to lead the 4:30”.
It was the day Verizon finally got the iPhone. It seems impossible to think about now, but AT&T was the only provider that offered Apple’s iPhone. Our morning live reporter had been at a Verizon store where people lined up to get the new device. Her story would be in the newscast too, so what was I going to do with it?
I had the AT&T iPhone and called my contact at Verizon to get a loaner for the day. I took both phones around town to show and tell the differences (if there were any) in the two devices. I found where you held the Verizon phone in your hands would affect reception. I also showed the major difference was the inability to talk on the phone and browse the internet simultaneously on the Verizon version.
We led the 4:30 and my news director met me in the hallway to tell me it was interesting and helpful and “investigative”. My producer called to say it was a home run.
The next morning in the story pitch meeting we saw the overnights which showed a significant bump after the tease for the 4:30 newscast. We won the half-hour which didn’t happen very often for a 3rd place station in the market.
“Go find another tech story” was my assignment that day. And so it began. We found viewers were not only interested in the tech devices and social networks they were using, they’d stop what they were doing to watch. We found out later they’d click on the stories too.
But it couldn’t just be in Nashville, could it? No. People in Tampa, Portland, Green Bay, and Allentown use the same devices and websites and social networks. Why couldn’t the story produced in Nashville not run in any market with the same consumer tech? And why couldn’t I make the stories look local no matter where they aired?
My general manager and news director gave me their blessings to launch “What the Tech?” to see if other stations would be interested in it. Stations that needed content for an afternoon, morning or evening newscast discovered this was an untapped news beat in their market. Stations began running the franchise and in 2015 I left WKRN so I could produce 5 stories per week for those stations.
Television stations are learning their viewers are passionate about their devices, apps and computers and will tune-in regularly for news that affects them. Currently airing in the newscasts of a dozen TV stations, “What the Tech?” is expanding with new pricing tiers and barter possibilities.
Click on the link above to be taken to a website especially for news departments in need of daily, high quality and topical content.
or just call me 615-852-8825