It’s hot. Sweltering, really. But despite the heat wave rolling through Portland and the army of newscasters it takes to tell us all how to cope, KPTV’s “man-about-town,” Joe V (short for Vithayathil) made the time to sit down with us and run our show.
This was actually my first time meeting Joe but we instantly hit it off. This was largely thanks to Joe’s feels-like-I’ve-known-him-for-years demeanor — whether that’s just who he is, or it was the heat breaking down our internal defense mechanisms, I don’t know — I guess I’ll find out when I see him next in more temperate weather. Regardless, Joe and your favorite PR-podcasting duo had a lively chat in a comfy KPTV green room after (almost) walking in on somebody getting changed. It’s a good thing we don’t have cameras rolling for these podcasts!
Joe immediately took us through his foray into broadcast journalism. To the aspiring broadcasters at Washington State University, feel proud — Joe gave your program a whole lotta’ love throughout this episode. After wrapping up at school, Joe took an unpaid internship at a local station in Yakima, Wash. Thanks to Wazzu’s broadcast journalism program with hands-on courses, Joe flew right through his “trial period” and quickly became a full-fledged reporter. Joe couldn’t help from throwing a few shots at collegiate rivals, University of Washington.
After three years in Yakima, Joe landed himself in “market-37,” otherwise known as San Antonio, Texas. This was a huge jump for Joe, in terms of market size, and he stayed five years before returning to his Pacific Northwest home. Joe didn’t come back alone though — during his stint in San Antonio, Joe began dating, and would later marry his coworker, Jenny. Plot twist: Joe’s wife is Jenny Hansson, KOIN’s morning show anchor!
Joe has served as KPTV’s features reporter since 2006, getting up at 3 a.m. every day to walk his four-hour beat on “Good Day Oregon.” In this role, Joe will cover live shots ranging anywhere from chilling at the Rose Festival to climbing up the Fremont Bridge.
The Pitch Opportunity
Joe produces and arranges all of his own segments, so pitching him is going right to the source. When you’re pitching Joe, make sure you include the following:
- Visual element — Just “talking to somebody” isn’t going to be enough for Joe. He reminds us that TV is a visual element and he needs to point the camera at something other than an interview.
- Something new — This is difficult because Joe has been at KPTV for over ten years, so he’s pretty much done everything, but even if it’s something he’s done before, give him a new angle or a fresh visual. Sell your story!
- Details!!! — We’d like to think this is a given, but just to restate: make sure EVERYTHING that Joe would need to cover your event is in there. Theoretically, you should be able to send a pitch and not even have to be at the event for the coverage to run smoothly.
- Brevity… — Yes, you need details. But you don’t need to write The Odyssey. Save your “epic” writing for your free time.
It’s clear that Joe has a lot of things on his plate. He’s got multiple segments to cover every morning, so his calendar is his bible. Joe’s currently stacked through the entire month of August, so if you want to get something on his radar it better be well before the event. Joe says it’s never too early to pitch him an event — just remind him closer to the date!
Keep in mind that when you’re working with Joe, you will likely get multiple segments out of it. Good Day Oregon throws to Joe three to six times over the course of the morning. This means your pitch should outline three to six different segment ideas to fill out his schedule. Don’t just suggest four interviews for him to do — get creative and visualize the shots they’d want.
Amy and I had a great time speaking with Joe, hearing about his schedule, his love for his wife and kids and his “try anything once” mentality. Just don’t put Joe around heights.
This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon
Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.