Many of you may remember him as the boy who made you fall in love with local news, but Paul Raphel isn’t so local anymore. Since the former Fox 5 segment producer and reporter left DC almost two years ago, he’s been with “TMZ Live” and most recently Ora TV’s “PoliticKING” producing his way through LA.
FishbowlDC recently caught up with Raphel to talk about what he’s been up to since relocating to the Hills, what he misses most about DC, and how his perceptions of Washington media have changed since relocating.
FishbowlDC: So what have you been doing since you left DC?
Paul Raphel: I left DC in June 2012 when I moved to California — without a job. I lived on my friend’s couch while searching for work. Professionally, it seemed crazy to leave a perfectly fine, full time job with no real plan but I didn’t want to live with ‘what if’s’ by not taking a chance in Los Angeles – something I always considered doing. A month after moving I was hired at TMZ to be the content producer for “TMZ Live” which, at the time, was their newest show. Our team took the show from two markets to airing on all the major FOX affiliates by September 2013. I have now moved from pop culture to politics and started working for Ora TV in January as a producer on Larry King’s political show PoliticKING. It’s been really exciting to start the year at Ora because it is a very new digital network that airs shows with recognizable names like Larry King and Jesse Ventura.
FBDC: What do you miss most about the DC media market?
PR: The thing I miss most about the DC media market would definitely be the Washington D.C. winters…wait that’s not it. I hate to go with the cheesy answer but it is the truth…what I miss most is my former FOX-5 family. It really was a great group to work with and I literally grew up there. I started as a clueless intern and left with not only great producing experience but also an idea of what it is like to be in front of the camera. I was lucky enough to work with a bunch of great people who taught me a lot — Steve Chenevey, Holly Morris, Tony Perkins, Allison Seymour, Matt Gaffney to name a few.
FBDC: What perceptions of DC media have you encountered while livin’ the West Coast life?
PR: Since moving out here, some people have told me that when I work I am a bit impatient, but that is because I think DC media -and East Coast media in general -seem to work at a faster pace. On the West Cost people seem to feel unhurried so the perception is maybe that East Coasters might be uptight.
FBDC: How has your perception of DC media changed since your move?
PR: My perception hasn’t changed much. I think I would describe DC media as more traditional since the main focus is on news and politics. In Los Angeles you can find people making shows/webisodes on every topic. People out here are trying to connect with specific niche-audiences with all types of different show formats. For example, I met with a group that was making 10 minute shows solely based on DC Comics. Of course, I move to the entertainment capitol of the world and somehow found my way back to my DC roots and work on a political show.
FBDC: What, thus far, has been the highlight of your time in LA?
PR: I would have to say the highlight of my time working in LA would be people I have gotten to work with — specifically the two bosses I have had Harvey Levin and Larry King. While working in D.C. if you would have told me I would work for one of them in my future I would have thought you were crazy. I have been very fortunate to have worked for both – one a news legend and the other a pioneer in pop culture news. So if you take anything away from my journey: Big risk can result in big reward.