Nick Matesi: A Disaster Helps Define a Station’s Digital Value
During Waldo Canyon fire, KKTV GM and staff helped keep Colorado Springs informed and safe
By Paige Albiniak -- Broadcasting & Cable, 8/20/2012 12:01:00 AMB&C's 2012 Digital All-Stars
As vice president and general manager of a local television station in Colorado Springs, Gray’s KKTV, smoke meant something different to Matesi than it did to most people. He turned his car around and headed in to work.
Once he arrived, Matesi and his entire staff all but remained in the newsroom for the next week as the Waldo Canyon fire began a burn that would eventually destroy more than 18,000 acres and 346 homes. “We kicked in Saturday at 1 p.m., and we didn’t stop,” he says. “Every time we would think about going back to regular programming, the thing would blow up again.”
While KKTV covered the fire for 130 hours straight, preempting all of its scheduled programming, the station and its staff also was going full bore on its digital platforms to keep locals informed— using Facebook and Twitter, in particular, to answer questions, check rumors and deliver alerts. The station’s Facebook fans increased by 87%, jumping to 47,835 from 25,351, and its Twitter followers increased 40%, to 10,365 from 7,369.
The staff, led by Phil Tenser, KKTV director of new media, also kept the station’s main website updated with text, photos, video and maps and immediately built out a special section to track the fire. Page views of the site jumped from an average of 40,000 per day to more than 5.5 million, while bringing in nearly 1.2 million unique visitors.
Through everything, the staff was all about engagement, with a goal of responding to each post and tweet within an hour. “At one point, we were responding and posting so fast, Facebook’s algorithms started to assume we were spam, and threatened to kill our account,” Matesi says.
It was a long stretch of days, but it was worth it: “This is the kind of coverage that people need,” Matesi says. “This is what we’re here for.”
No related content found.
No Top Articles
Digital Rapids provides market-leading software and hardware solutions, technology and expertise for transforming live and on-demand video to reach wider audiences on the latest viewing platforms more efficiently, more effectively and more profitably. Empowering applications from..more