Stations Are Finding Audiences With Just a Phone and an App

By Kevin Eck 

Local stations are discovering the one piece of equipment that may bring in the viewership they’re looking for is one every employee already owns, a mobile phone.

USA Today has a piece on the growing effectiveness of live broadcasting via social media apps like Facebook.

While in Dallas, WFAA anchor Mike Castellucci is airing his second show shot entirely on his iPhone. We reported on the first one called “Mike Castellucci’s Phoning it In.”

In the same city Castellucci is documenting everyday life with his phone, KDFW reporter Steve Noviello used his to bring in 33 million views in a week by doing a live shot about a pillow. Noviello was out shopping when he saw the Mermaid Pillow, which changes texture by touch. He did a Facebook Live broadcast on it and hit social media gold.

For a medium that has a business model based on linearity, having the flexibility to go live wherever, whenever with nothing more than a phone and an app gives a station access to an audience that may not have noticed it before. And for anchors just looking to report the news, the advantages are obvious. “I don’t have to wait for 4 o’clock for the show,” KSLA anchor Charisse Gibson told USA Today. “This is a live shot I can do anytime and anywhere. How could I beat that?”

For journalists, Facebook Live “is a really new way for them to connect,” says Facebook product manager Vadim Lavrusik. “The magic of live is it’s interactive. The people who are viewing the broadcast are just as much a part of it.”

Maria Sansone, a co-anchor of KTTV-Los Angeles’s Good Day, L.A. goes live every morning at 6:45 a.m. before the show starts.

“I feel I know my fans in a way I never did before,” she says.

“It’s so instant,” adds fellow GDLA co-anchor Araksya Karapetyan: “There’s more of a connection. You’re real, you’re out there, you’re not behind a desk.”

Here’s Castellucci’s second show:

From USA Today: