Full Sail University Internet Marketing Master’s graduate Michael Gay has never been one to shy away from taking risks – in fact, he attributes the scope and growth of his professional career in the world of digital media and broadcasting over the last 15+ years to his desire to explore newly emerging trends in the industry.
As the recently-appointed Vice-President of Local Broadcast at leading online news publisher digital media exchange platform Inform (formerly NDN), Michael works closely with 400 local broadcast companies to help them syndicate their video content via the 4000 web publishers in the Inform network. He’s immersed in a rapidly expanding section of the industry that has become one of the most common ways in which people receive their news, but it doesn’t seem like too long ago when even the idea of moving from his job in broadcast towards this type of position was considered something of a gamble.
“When I first decided to make the jump to the digital side of the business, people were still calling the Internet a fad. I had to deal with that doubt from colleagues in my work environment that the realm of interactive was never going to really be something,” Michael says, reflecting back on his career in the early 2000s. “In hindsight, it was the right place to be, but you don’t know that at first. Ever since then, every position I’ve had, I’ve received because of the risk I took in the previous position.”
Michael’s role at Inform finds him getting face-to-face with local television and radio station partners to assess their needs and determine how his company can best serve them in getting their content distributed through the web to the rest of the world. He also makes their online video efforts more profitable, employing tactics as simple as getting video seen by larger audiences to more detailed efforts such as reducing expenses and bringing in new tools to markets to help them produce online video faster and more efficiently. It’s a world that is constantly developing, and Michael credits part of his ability to stay up to speed and navigate through these circles to what he learned in Full Sail’s Internet Marketing Master’s degree program.
“I was working as Executive Producer of Digital Media Content at Hearst Television at the time I took Full Sail’s online program,” Michael says. “I was definitely impressed by how I was able to take on all of this new knowledge that I was receiving from my classes at night and how it gave me better context for the type of meetings I’m in every day. I still do reference so much of what I learned in the program, and I find myself astonished by it. I also wanted to experience education online, because I knew it was an emerging space. I’m a digital guy, and understanding how education is being digitized helped my career as well.”
Ever since he was a kid, Michael has been fascinated by broadcast news – and though he chose a different path than his childhood vision of sitting behind the anchors desk, he’s made a commitment to stay focused on local broadcast as a whole.
“I think local information is one of the most critical things a community needs to be more informed and more compassionate for those around us. I wanted to take a new technology and way of communicating and bring that same level of community understanding and commitment to the new platforms as they emerged,” he says. “When I first got into this, you couldn’t post video online. And when you eventually could, the video was the size of a postage stamp. Now we watch HD videos on our smart phones. It all shows the importance that digital plays in the world.”
“It’s funny because I always considered myself a local guy, but at Inform, that term means every single local market we are partners with, across the country,” he continues. “Now I’m in a position where I can be local – everywhere.”