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Channel 7 Backs Away from Early Internet Promotion for New Show on Tech

Posted by Scott Kirsner  October 30, 2009 07:12 AM

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If you were developing a TV show about technology and innovation, you might want it to have a prominent online presence.

And that’s exactly what Luke Ryan at WHDH-Channel 7 had started to build for a show he was developing for the NBC station, “Into the Tech.” The show had a Web site, IntoTheTech.com, and some short videos posted on video-sharing sites like Vimeo. Ryan, an advertising sales rep for WHDH who also holds the title new media manager, gave presentations about the show earlier this month at the Mass TLC’s Innovation Unconference and the Apple Store in Boston. Ryan had shot and assembled a pilot episode, hosted by anchor Matt Lorch. The pilot featured an interview with futurist Ray Kurzweil and visits to companies like iRobot Corp., synthetic diamond pioneer Apollo Diamond, and a 3-D printing firm.

Ryan told me recently that he was talking to a number of big companies locally about becoming sponsors of “Into the Tech,” and that he hoped it’d air on Sunday mornings, right after “Meet the Press.” His goal was to have it on the air by February, and to weave together the broadcast TV show with discussion groups and other interactive features on the Web site.

But suddenly last week, the Web site for “Into the Tech” vanished. And when I asked Ryan about it, he said he wasn’t authorized to talk about the show any longer.

On the site, before it disappeared, “Into the Tech” was described as “a locally produced ‘emerging technologies’ television series and interactive online community. The goal of the project is to educate and entertain the growing community of technology enthusiasts, innovators, educators, students and interested professionals about the rapidly evolving industries of Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, Clean/Green Tech, Visual Effects, Gaming and Robotics in the New England area.” A great mission...

My sense is that the executives at WHDH got nervous about having material for a forthcoming show circulating on the Internet as it was being developed, and before it was officially green-lit. (Social media advocates might say that actually, that would be the best way to develop a show intended to connect with a tech-savvy audience.)

I called Chris Wayland, the general manager at WHDH, on Monday. He wouldn’t say whether the concept had been killed, or might at some point find its way on-air: “I’m not going to comment on it. Officially, there is no such show as ‘Into the Tech.’”

But there’s still this animated teaser for the show on Vimeo, which looks pretty darn snazzy:

Into The Tech - Show Open from Kevin Liotti on Vimeo.

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7 comments so far...
  1. The show is a really cool idea and I hope it actually goes live. I can't pretend to understand why the site has been taken down, but it would be great for the local new england tech scene if something like this existed - even if it was only an online show. I would guess that there are enough techies, or people interested in technology, to support such a show (although I know nothing about TV show economics so I can't really pretend to know what I'm talking about.)

    Posted by Healy Jones October 30, 09 11:56 AM
  1. I would actually tune in to watch a show like "Into the Tech" airing on Channel 7 or another Boston affiliate. This is one of the best ideas for local programming that I've heard in a long time. I'm actually surprised that an idea like this came from Channel 7 and not Channel 4 or Channel 5.

    Boston-based media needs to become an evangelist for technology. I'm still stunned and saddened that The Wall Street Journal is closing their Boston bureau. This is not good news for Massachusetts or New England at large.

    There is a lot of innovation taking place in Massachusetts and in New England in general. This innovation is also an opportunity to convince businesses and people to come to New England instead of just heading straight to Silicon Valley.

    Here's hoping Channel 7 reconsiders. They may gain new viewers, more viewers and new advertisers.

    Posted by Jenn O'Meara October 30, 09 04:03 PM
  1. What a creative show! It's about time these old school media broadcast companies realize it's time to catch up with the times. Once they see the amount of ad dollars that can be brought in by an opportunity like this, they'll put that site back up and get the show on the road. Maybe now people will actually go to Channel 7's website... Good luck Mr. Ryan!

    Posted by Joy Simon October 30, 09 04:42 PM
  1. Ray Kurzweil is really out there! I think he believes he's going to live forever once he merges with the machines. Some say he's the modern Einstein, others Frankenstein.

    Do you know if this show going to be interactive?

    Posted by Barney Slone October 30, 09 04:50 PM
  1. Is Channel 7 concerned about providing something new that is entertaining, educational and appeals the more educational people in the Boston area? This show would not have the violence, sex, car chases, or explosions most often seen on television for the younger audiences. It would actually try to educate your audience and help them think.
    I personally think if you pull this show you are doing a great dis-service to the Boston audience and your organization. Need I remind you of the popularity of shows like; Discovery Channels, History Channels, National Geography Channels, etc.
    Allow the public decide if they want this type of entertainment. Go forward with a few episodes and see if the public accepts this type of entertainment. Try it….. You might like it.

    Posted by Art Demlong October 30, 09 06:25 PM
  1. Luke is a good guy with a lot of great ideas. We were talking about some of them the other night. I'd like to see this take off, even if it's not broadcast but put online in some fashion.

    It seems like a great opportunity for a TV station to take what it knows well (video and TV production) and create good, compelling and relevant content for its local online community.

    Posted by Chuck Tanowitz October 30, 09 08:37 PM
  1. What a fabulous idea for a cutting edge series! As an educator, I encourage my students to be innovation leaders and I hope WHDH has the good sense to make sure this show airs. It would be a terrific tool for the classroom and I can think of several ways to use the interactive aspect to expand learning opportunitites for my students, myself, and my colleagues.

    Posted by Suzanne Becker November 1, 09 09:22 PM
 

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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