You too? King tries again with WCVL
Four years ago, Denny King had a dream of a TV station called WCVL that would be "all Charlottesville, all the time." That happened to be the same year–- 2004–- that Gray Television moved into Charlottesville in a big way with two stations, soon added two more, and King's WCVL never made it on the air.
"It kind of set smoldering a couple of years," says King, who went on to join Paladin Media Group and run unsuccessfully for the Albemarle Board of Supervisors in 2007. "I said to myself, 'I own these call numbers in perpetuity, and I paid a lot of money for them,'" he recounts.
In the meantime, a phenomenon called YouTube burst onto the computer-screen scene, and King had an idea: To have "videojournalists" provide content for a sort of local YouTube. "We're still an under-served market," observes King.
His vision shifted from broadcast to webcast, and WCVL.TV will carry news, health, fitness and kid content, he says, paid for by sponsors for each channel. There will be no pop-up ads, and each video will have a tasteful opening and closing billboard: "Brought to you by XYZ Company," says King.
"I'm fond of the idea of young people submitting videos," says King, for which he'll pay. And he challenges the popular notion that pegs the most desirable television demographics at 18 to 49. "That's not true," he says. "The average is now 50 years. There is no defined demographic for the Internet. It runs the gamut."
He cites Brian Wheeler, executive director of Charlottesville Tomorrow and Albemarle School Board chair, as a model–- and a possible collaborator. "He's always been ahead of the curve with Charlottesville Tomorrow," says King. "I would hope we could stream them because they cover every doggone meeting in the county."
Waldo Jaquith, whose cvillenews.com was pretty much the first blog in these parts, has been adding video to his website, but says he can't speak to King's model. "There's so little video right now. I presume there's not much demand. Maybe Denny King can create a market."
Jaquith thinks that established news sites "like the Hook" are more likely to likely to attract video traffic. "I can already make videos that no one will see buried in the bowels of YouTube," says Jaquith.
And Jaquith questions the appeal of streaming the public meetings covered by Charlottesville Tomorrow. "I don't think," says Jaquith, "a lot of people are going to sit down and watch a three-hour Board of Supervisors meeting." However, "If you hack out three minutes of debate, that would be great," adds Jaquith.
"I think his idea to launch a local-only content web station is a great idea," says WHTJ public television general manager D.J. Crotteau. So good that WHTJ plans to launch its own C-Tube for locally produced video sharing in the fall. "Everyone has this idea," he notes.
"The trick is to get eyeballs on it," says Crotteau, who also suggests people will be attracted to existing websites. "Denny is a very successful media expert. If anyone can do it, he can."