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June 16, 2017

Meet Chris Mather

Chris Mather, Head of Production, Interactive Engagement Group (IEG), has more than a decade of experience in web production and digital storytelling. “Dan Greenberg is the big cheese in IEG, but I help run the day-to-day operations,” he says. “That involves coordinating our web development, overseeing our content strategy, product roadmapping our OTT and mobile apps (we’re anywhere!), supervising web video and podcast production, and — maybe most importantly — cultivating a culture of experimentation, testing, and analysis. Things change rapidly on the web, so we’re always adapting.” Read on to learn about the path that led Chris to WNET, his favorite places in Prospect Heights, and more.

Chris Mather

What is your background, and how did you land at WNET?

I’m from just outside Baltimore, Maryland, and went to school in Boston. After graduation I moved to NYC. Fun fact: my first New York job was a four month “temp” assignment at Standard & Poor’s that lasted a year and a half. I left in 2008 just before the financial crisis exploded, so I escaped the crisis by the skin of my teeth (or else caused it). I then spent six great years with Focus Features as a content manager and web producer. I got laid off, went to grad school, applied to WNET, and started as a senior multimedia producer in August 2014. I took over for my then-manager Deven Persaud when he left last May.

Are there any current or upcoming projects you’re particularly excited about?

So many things! We’re currently working with the awesome and digitally forward-thinking folks at NJTV News to redesign their website (launching this August). We’re also scouring our rights-cleared archives to expand our offerings in Thirteen Passport and, of course, we’re fighting for Thirteen. Our suite of OTT apps continues to grow while several new web video series and podcasts are in active development. We’ve had a sequence of successful Facebook Lives, the most recent of which marked the launch of the second season of First Person. All exciting!

For our Media with Impact campaign, we’ve been asking viewers to share stories describing how THIRTEEN has influenced their life. How has THIRTEEN (or the PBS station of your childhood) inspired you?

I grew up with the stalwarts: Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. What I didn’t know (and Google just told me) was that Bill Nye the Science Guy and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? were both on PBS. I loved those shows. I think those shows (as with all PBS Kids programming) taught me two important values: to be curious and to be decent.

Which three shows airing on our stations this month are you most likely to watch, stream, or record?

My girlfriend loves The Great British Baking Show, so we’ll probably be catching season 4 in Passport. I’m also looking forward to Eclipse Over America, NOVA’s programming around this year’s solar eclipse in August, as well as another space program, The Farthest — Voyager in Space, also in August.

Where do you live, and what are some of your favorite places in your neighborhood?

I’ve lived in Prospect Heights for nine years, so it’s changed a lot. Here are some of my current favorites: ramen: Chuko; ice cream: Ample Hills; jerk chicken: The Islands (closed, reopening soon); Thai: Look by Plant Love House; Mexican: Chavelas; beer: Covenhoven; bookstore: Unnameable.

What book are you currently reading?

Dead Wake by Erik Larson. I’m on kind of a historical nonfiction kick.

Do you have a special interest or hobby outside of work? If so, tell us about it!

I love to cook. My parents live at the beach, so my bliss is grilling in the sun with a cold beer by the ocean. I also love movies, photography, and traveling (just like most human beings).


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