An Interview With Cheddar’s Tanaya Macheel on What Makes a Story Right for Broadcast
When it comes to the average consumer’s relationship to media, they’re inundated daily with breaking news and interviews with top influencers in every industry. In the oversaturated media marketplace, how are broadcasters expanding their audiences, and what makes for an exciting segment and guest?
We spoke with Tanaya Macheel, a reporter and anchor at Cheddar, a live and on-demand video news network, where she covers the finance and cryptocurrency beats. We wanted to discover what qualities she looks for in a potential broadcast segment and a featured guest. As of this year, 40 million people watch Cheddar regularly, and millions more watch Cheddar video clips monthly.
Cheddar came into the broadcast scene three years ago and has grown exponentially since targeting an audience of millennials and younger generations, who are turning away from traditional news. Cheddar targets these viewers by making their broadcasts available across all streaming platforms and reporting on beats that are of particular interest to these audiences, such as gaming, fintech, cannabis, and e-sports.
So, what do these audiences want to watch? Who do they want to hear from, and what subjects are most important to them?
What does Cheddar look for in a potential guest
Tanaya shared with us that broadcast is very “guest-driven” and the CEO, co-founders, or other executives are usually her top choices. “The CEO is a more marketable guest and can help with viewership. We love to have those people on because they draw people in.”
According to a study conducted by The Knight Foundation, young people regard the media as being biased, even with sources they check regularly. Broadcast stations like Cheddar do their best to cater to a skeptical audience by avoiding the same stories and conversations happening with other news stations. “We are excited about driving conversations forward and taking these conversations one step further than everyone else,” Tanaya said.
When thinking of how to best communicate your brand’s story, it’s important to realize that you and reporters aren’t at odds with each other. She elaborates that it’s important to, “Have empathy and an understanding that we both have missions to accomplish, and there is a way for both sides to win.”
Additionally, when discussing your company, don’t be afraid of the tough questions. “As journalists, we need to address the obvious. I have a job to do, and I have to ask sensitive questions. The guests can answer these questions however they want, and may not even have to answer, but as journalists, asking the tougher questions is important.”
Tanaya said a good example of a guest who puts his company’s goals, news, and products in context with wider industry trends is Anthony Noto, CEO of SoFi. “[Anthony Noto] is very real and candid with me. He’s not afraid of the sensitive questions and is always prepared for them, even if the preparation is to sidestep the question or not answer. We only get five minutes on the air, and he is always ready to go.”
What this illuminates is that no news publication wants to feature the same talking points repeatedly. Reporters are continuously looking to engage and inform their audiences and these audiences, particularly the younger viewers of Cheddar, look for authenticity and explanations and understanding about the company on a larger scale.
Not your ordinary segment
In addition to having multiple news sites at their disposal, younger generations are often reading a news article online while watching a YouTube clip on their phone, or clicking a Facebook Live video while skimming through Apple’s top trending news of the day. With all of this information swarming the internet, how does one particular launch or announcement stand out? What makes for an attention-grabbing segment?
Tanaya remembered one segment in particular that she deemed as “magical.” In an interview with Thasunda Duckett, CEO of Consumer Banks at JPMorgan Chase, and Jennifer Piepszak, Chief Financial Officer for JPMorgan Chase and a member of its Operating Committee, Tanaya reported on the launch of Sapphire banking. Discussing the new Sapphire Credit Card was a story that not only her audience could understand, but it was also led by two intelligent women with diverse backgrounds who Tanaya described as, “Brilliant and innovative and just wonderful forces of nature, both together and separately.”
This was Tanaya’s “favorite segment” because of the product they were launching, the personality of the two women themselves, the broader industry implications of their interview, and the material that the story gave her for future segments. Millennial and Gen Z audiences are curious about the broader impacts of a product and how it will affect them, an industry, the environment, and the global economy.
A broadcast audience wants to hear from experts who help them learn about new things and understand the world around them. For executives looking to further their thought leadership platforms, it’s essential to hone in on your expertise. Provide valuable insights you haven’t seen elsewhere, and understand that journalists are there as catalysts, asking the questions their audiences want to be answered.