Jamey Tucker says his freelance job as What the Tech? reporter is providing daily news stories covering consumer technology to more than a dozen TV stations. “Tucker does a good job of being a curator of what’s new,” says Estelle Parsley, the VP of news for WRDW, Gray’s NBC affil in Augusta, Ga.
Jamey Tucker says what started as a side hustle while he was a reporter in Nashville has turned into a full-time job — providing daily news stories covering consumer technology to more than a dozen local TV stations.
In 2011, Tucker saw that stations had a need for more content with news producers pulling stories off feeds to fill their newscasts. So one day, Tucker did a story comparing mobile phones.
Consumer technology is Tucker’s sweet spot, having been an early adaptor since high school, he says.
The next day and the day after that, the station said, just concentrate on technology, and a franchise, What the Tech?, was born.
“I got the idea that these stories could play anywhere, and that is how it started,” Tucker says.
Tucker left local TV in 2015 and went out on his own.
These days, his What the Tech? segments air five days a week on more than a dozen stations across the country.
Tucker says he pitches a tech story every morning at the morning news meetings for his stations, and has the story ready by 5 p.m. for whichever newscast the station wants to use it in.
The idea is “just to be an MMJ for these stations,” Tucker says.
WRCB, Local 3 News, the Sarkes Tarzian-owned NBC affiliate in Chattanooga, Tenn., is one of Tucker’s longest-running clients.
Callie Starnes, the GM, says Tucker’s “little plug line has always been technology news for normal people. Jamey’s good about putting together a story that is going to make sense to key demos. So his stories do really well because it’s news you could use when it comes to technology. And he is just fantastic at understanding what information people want when it comes to that kind of topic.”
Estelle Parsley, the VP of news for WRDW, Gray’s NBC in Augusta, Ga., says her station has been using Tucker’s What the Tech? reports for the past five years. She says technology is a relevant topic everywhere.
“Tucker does a good job of being a curator of what’s new,” she says. “When What the Tech? comes on, everybody finds something about it that they are going to be interested in.”
Tucker says “for all intents and purposes, I am a member of their news team. I approach it as if I am the sports guy or the meteorologist, but talking about technology.”
Many of his stations have his picture on the team page, or even his own webpage.
For stations to have somebody specially focused on providing stories on technology also provides them with an expert for other technology stories, Starnes says.
“He really has been a great partner in those ways, too,” she says.
Parsley says Tucker’s done live and taped interviews with the hosts of their hour-long morning lifestyle show, Morning Mix.
If the station sees a What the Tech? story that’s highly promotable and wants to give it a bigger push promotionally, “Jamey’s always really good about being a part of our promotion to make it really stand out,” Parsley says.
She says some syndicated content doesn’t always play well in every market, “but I think his always hits the mark.”