In television and video production, the unforgettable moments are usually tied to huge audience numbers.

I’m fortunate to have a few. And thanks to Wingding Media and its robust social media and digital marketing expertise, Carolina Buzz Daly Digest had one that reminded me of my time on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

I’ll explain the Oprah episode in a bit. But first, let me tell you about this interview segment I did on the new owner at Rivers Edge — Sandesh Sharda.

Rivers Edge New Owner

I interviewed him once it was confirmed he had bought the golf course at Rivers Edge in Shallotte, North Carolina.

Rivers Edge is an iconic Arnold Palmer design along the Shallotte River and the intercoastal waterway. If you follow my reports on Carolina Buzz and Undercover Jetsetter, you will remember a number of segments about the course including the famous and golf score wrecking Arnie’s Revenge — the Par-5 9th hole that requires three precision shots along the Shallotte River on narrow fairways that usually lead to at least a double bogey.

So, the course is very popular. I didn’t realize how popular until my seven minute interview with Sandesh finally hit social media and streaming sites.

At least 10 residents of Rivers Edge stopped me and mentioned the interview.  Sure, I get comments and mentions from locals.  But this was different.  And I found out why a few days later.

According to the numbers in a week’s time we had 650,000 views. But what’s more impressive is the next stat. The data showed that 250,000 people watched the entire interview — from start to finish.  In our short attention world, a quarter million people watched for 7 minutes plus.

When Wingding Owner Jeff Gilder notified me I was stunned.

I immediately thought of Oprah Winfrey.

On the Oprah Show

Some of you may remember I hosted Real TV, the first all video news magazine show, which first aired in September 1996 and lasted until 2001.  The syndicated show ran Monday through Friday on nearly 200 different TV stations across the country along with more than 20 countries worldwide.

When we started the show, no one really gave Real TV a chance. But within 3 months we were hitting decent numbers.  Four months into the show, Teri and I were flying to New Orleans for a convention. We had a layover in St. Louis.  In an airport restaurant as we were in line, Teri said to me, “everyone here knows who you are.”  That was quite a wake-up to guy who had only been a local news anchor.

The success of Real TV I can assure you was not because of the host. One of the big reasons was the camcorder which, thanks to improved microchips, became much more powerful, created high quality video, and was a lot less expensive.  As a result, everybody started using the camcorder back then like we use the smart phone today, providing hours of great content by non-professional photographers.

But back then, there was no Internet – just television. At Real TV, we actually reached out to the audience on the show and offered them a license fee for their video content.  Our group of fabulous producers produced their video and turned them into compelling stories.  Each night, I introduced 10 to 12 astonishing videos to the TV watching world.

Another factor contributing to real TV success was the fact we only showed positive stories. No one died in a Real TV segment. Were there scary moments? Yes. But we only showed the success in the positive nature of human beings.  We heard from so many TV stations that licensed the show who would air Real TV in between or just after their newscasts every night.  It was entertaining, but not a downer.

As a result, we jumped to 2 million viewers per show in the first two years. We weren’t overtaking shows like Oprah or Jerry Springer, but in the first year we were the highest rated show at that time.

Then at the end of the second season, I was in Sunset Beach North Carolina visiting family when I got a call from the Real TV office. The message was, “get on a plane to Chicago; Oprah has you on her show next week.”

Holy Ratings

So, Teri and I flew to Chicago to meet Oprah and enjoy the Windy city in March.

Now, you might think I was over-awed by Oprah.  Yes, I was due to her success and her audience. But one of my previous news anchor jobs was in Hartford, Connecticut at WFSB-TV.  And one of my co-anchors was Gayle King.  She and Oprah are best of friends.  So, at times I actually picked up the phone and it was Oprah calling for Gayle.  Oprah didn’t know this, but we had talked on the phone before – sort of.

Oprah was phenomenal to work with. Her staff was so professional and prepared.  My team at Real TV had sent about 10 to 15 videos that Oprah and I would present and discuss.

Everything went off without a hitch — which was a great success – in the Sandesh style.

A week after that episode, Real TV’s ratings jumped from 3 million to 4 million viewers.

Wingding’s Digital and Social Media Marketing

I know what you’re saying.  That’s nowhere near 650,000 we hit with the Sandesh/Rivers Edge segment.

Let me put it into perspective.  Remember, there was no streaming or Internet in the 1990s.  The only thing was your TV that had probably 40 or 50 channels on regular TV and cable. So, a lack of supply and high demand, led to big numbers — like 4 million.

When you consider the online competition today worldwide, with the majority of us on social media sites and on smart phones, then 650,000 hits are very impressive.

If you haven’t seen the Carolina Buzz episode with Sandesh – my new Oprah – then here it is.

John Daly is the host and producer of Carolina Buzz and the Carolina Buzz Daly Digest, bringing you content from the booming Carolinas from the coast to the mountains. Watch all his episodes on Wingding TV’s Business Channel.  Got a good segment, call us at 843-272-1901