KTVB Channel 7 launched a new local program earlier this month – but not a newcast.
Idaho Today, which airs weekdays at 12:30pm, is the station’s first lifestyle show – hosted by Mellisa Paul. The new show brings together a blend of feature stories, community events, and topical information.
“It’s a celebration of everything that makes Idaho great,” Paul told BoiseDev. “It’s those conversations that everyone is wondering about – and it’s helping people find the solutions and tools they need to live their best life.”
It’s the second new program to launch on KTVB this year. The station also revamped its 5pm newscast as The 208, featuring long-form local news stories and interactive viewer elements.
While Idaho Today will not focus on news of the day, Paul said that doesn’t mean it won’t tackle serious topics and issues.
“For instance, we will be focusing on topics like the back to school challenges – it’s different than what you will get through news. It’s the topical conversations parents are having.”
She listed an example of giving parents ideas on how to handle back-to-school activities in the age of COVID-19. An upcoming show will talk about Zoo Boise’s new online after school programs. Some segments feature paid integration with local businesses. Paul said it’s important each piece of content they feature provides something to the viewer.
“Is it something that is important to who is watching? Are they going to get something out of it, and will it provide a solution to them, and will they value it? That’s our guide.”
Idaho Today will weave in many local community organizations and events. Recent shows featured Idaho Shakespeare, Ballet Idaho and the Morrison Center.
Small team, big product
Melissa Stoner, KTVB’s Marketing Director, said the show will do big things with a small team.
“I am so proud of what this tiny team has created,” Stoner said. “Mellisa Paul, show producer Brittany Lock, and media producer Will Hall have created a clean, seamless, engaging local show with possibly the smallest crew to ever produce a half-hour show five days a week. They’ve had support from the rest of the team, but really this is the core team of three who stood this show up on its feet.”
Lock and Hall (who isn’t related to the KTVB sports anchor of the same name), drew praise for their roles.
“Will is a huge part of the show — he does such a great job,” Paul said. “He and I are very connected mentally. It’s all about the immersive storytelling, and he helps put together these lifestyle pieces that celebrate the people that make our community amazing.”
“Brittany is one sharp producer who weaves the complex array of partners, content and internal processes together while interfacing with KTVB’s sales, marketing and news departments in a role that is entirely new to her and to KTVB,” Stoner said.
An evolving idea
Idaho Today is the second attempt at a lifestyle show in the Boise market in recent years. KBOI-TV aired Idaho Living once a week on Friday mornings, but the program ended in 2018.
Local lifestyle programs become popular in many larger markets over the past twenty years. Few smaller markets like Boise air this type of locally-produced content.
Paul says her program will change in the months ahead, as the COVID-19 situation improves and they can do more.
“This show is going to evolve — you will see the shape of this and what it’s going to be like,” she said. “It’s an opportunity for our community to have a megaphone — and celebrate and highlight how fantastic the state is.”
Paul spent most of the last decade hosting a show for KTVB’s sister station in Sacramento, California. But as an Idaho native with children – she jumped at the chance to move home.
“It is fantastic to be able to do what I love in a place I grew up in a state that I love,” she said. “I have two kiddos, and I gained a lot by having grammys and uncles and aunts and papas close by. There’s a reason people are coming here. It’s because it’s incredible. The quality of life in the state itself is amazing.”
Disclosure: BoiseDev’s Don Day & Anna Daly Gamboa used to work at KTVB. BoiseDev has a content-sharing agreement with KIVI-TV.