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January 29, 2018

“MetroFocus” Hits Highest Gross Viewership Since Going Daily

Last week (week beginning January 22), MetroFocus grossed 251,275 viewers on THIRTEEN (387K for the week including all of WNET). This is the highest gross viewer impressions (the sum viewers from each broadcast) since the start of the broadcast season.

On THIRTEEN that’s 119K+ more viewers than the previous week and +122K compared to the same week last year.

In light of this milestone, we checked in with MetroFocus Executive Producer David Brown (right) about the daily program:

This past week you exceeded your season-to-date average of weekly gross impressions. What made that broadcast week so special?

I think the variety of national and local stories covered, their importance to the viewer and the in-depth conversations with guests made the shows stand out from traditional network or cable news broadcasts. From the government shutdown and its ripple effects in our region to the coming out story of one woman from a well-known conservative Christian family conflicted by faith and love, we offered valuable insight to all who watched.

People are finally starting to find us and to make the time to watch us. The show is even seeing growth as far south as Philadelphia.

What segment from this week really resonated with you and the audience?

For me, personally, was Friday night’s segment that commemorated International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Saturday, January 27). We discussed a new HBO documentary The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm; as the son of a Holocaust Survivor, it held special interest. I was blown away by one of our guests, a 12-year-old “4th Generation” bearing witness for his great grandfather and teaching tolerance as well. Very moving on many levels.

Our most-watched shows were the Wednesday and Thursday night broadcasts, which included segments on the NYCHA shakeup with Councilman Ritchie Torres, a profile of graffiti artist David Gerena, the flu’s ferocity in New York State, and the feud between founding fathers Jefferson and Adams.

What should we look forward to this week?

Tonight (1/29), former Reagan and Obama Speechwriters take us inside what to look for at Tuesday’s State of the Union and New York’s Senior Senator Chuck Schumer takes us inside the new Japanese American Internment Camp Exhibit at the International Center of Photography.

Tuesday (1/30) and Wednesday’s (1/31) programs will focus on President Trump’s first State of the Union Address with Democratic and Republican analysts. The week will round out with conversations about #MeToo, NYC data crunching, “Wear Red Day,” and more. For daily program updates, sign up for the MetroFocus newsletter!

You recently celebrated your 500th episode – what has changed since Episode 1? What are your plans for the future?

The short answer: so much. First and most obvious is the on-air look: our updated and engaging graphics, open animation, lower thirds, as well as increased B-roll, camera shots in studio, and set utilization. Also, our daily reports from the field puts us on the map and at events with other local and national news organizations.

Our digital footprint has increased enormously since launching as a daily show: our Facebook fans have more than doubled and our daily call to action reaches 10K+ and counting. Additionally, the MetroFocus app continues to function as a portal for all local news, weather and traffic, plus models a sleek, user-friendly design.

I do think that the single MOST important aspect of the amplification and growth of MetroFocus has been our daily commercial promo. It was a game changer in gaining viewers. We saw immediate growth by the tens of thousands by producing and delivering our own daily topical promo.

In the coming months you’ll see more panel discussions, more original web content, and more Long Island-centric programming as our WLIW Plainview studio is completed.

The MetroFocus podcast is going into its sixth month of production. How has this new asset helped the brand and on-air/online engagement?

Content is king. The more quality content produced, the more possibilities to attract viewers on all platforms. It’s MetroFocus stories with a different attitude, providing further reach and attracting a different audience.

Host Jenna Flanagan and MetroFocus Supervising Producer Dom Camia are really the forces behind the podcast with major collaboration from Lindsey Horvitz in Marketing and Whitney McGowan in IEG. All of the departments working together toward the success of the podcast is wonderful to watch.

What really stands out about the team working on MetroFocus?

The headline is that we all really like each other. A lot! We are a small, tight knit and mighty group of 10 nimble producers and four incredibly skilled editors. We present 15-20 segments per week with few resources, so collaboration among the team is the key. I’m often heard saying “It takes a village.” We all work closely and incredible hard to create a show we are not only proud of but one, I think, is on par with the quality our audience expects from PBS.

The team is often in early and out late, but the payoff is watching the finished product and seeing the growth in our viewership.

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