Jenni Hogan mixes the worlds of broadcast and online media every weekday morning, interacting with viewers on Twitter, in real time, as she delivers the traffic reports on KIRO-TV in Seattle.
Tonight she will be taking it to a whole new level, with a live special called “Connect with Jenni Hogan,” that will blur the lines even further.
The show will start at 10 p.m. online with a live stream on the kirotv.com home page, with the traditional television broadcast running from 10:30 to 11 p.m. Throughout the show viewers will encouraged to interact with Hogan and her guests via Twitter (#KIROConnect) and the KIRO 7 Eyewitness News Facebook page.
Here’s the interesting part. Hogan will be hosting the show from the downtown Seattle offices of Banyan Branch, making use of a big array of monitors to track what the audience is saying and use their input and suggestions to shape the show on the fly.
The subject will be technology, with guests including Cheezburger’s Ben Huh and actress Josie Bissett.
It’s an experiment for KIRO-TV, but the outcome could also provide insights to people from the broader social media and technology communities. Continue reading for edited excerpts from our conversation this week.
How this will work exactly?
Hogan: It’s going to actually start a half an hour beforehand, at 10 p.m. online, behind the scenes, getting to know everyone involved, and then we’re going to go live on television at 10:30. So we’re going to start the conversation first, and give our online family a chance to really get involved, so we hit the ground running when we’re on television. At the end of the show, you’ll be able to see behind-the-scenes of us wrapping up, as well. So you’ll really be a part of creating the show from start to finish. We’re excited to see where the viewers go with it.”
A lot of people are trying to combine the online and broadcast worlds. You do it every day, but you do it manually, reading your phone when you’re on camera.
Hogan: Yes, there’s no tweets on the screen, it’s straight from my phone, to my mouth to the viewers. I think it works really well with traffic, because it’s not scripted. It’s what I see live at the time. Traffic has been a sneaky way to experiment with this. I’m excited to show people what we can do when we aren’t scripted, and the viewers are helping us talk about the hot topics of the day, and just see what happens.
What do you think you’ll learn from expanding it in this way?
Hogan: I am hoping that the community and the viewers learn what I really know — that their voice is really powerful, and they can create news, and can be part of it. I’m hoping that we inspire people to get active online, even if it’s just one post or one tweet. It can really impact them or someone in their life in a positive way. I’m really hoping we can show that live.
So your target audience isn’t necessarily techies?
Hogan: No, it’s not. It’s the mom that’s busy. It’s the person who doesn’t know if she or he is doing everything right on Facebook. It’s everyday viewer. I think a lot of TV stations try to be on the forefront by talking about tech stuff, rather than letting the viewer use technology to talk about it.
I imagine it could get awkward at times, right, because the whole ideas are viewers are the script?
Hogan: That gives me chills when you say that, because I want it to be unknown what you’re going to see, and me, too, not knowing what you’re going to see. I really want it to be able to breath, and be able to unfold, which is nerve-racking, as well, being the host, but we’re going to prove this together. I don’t feel like I’m hosting I feel like this is a team and we’re creating it together.