By Tom Momberg
Growth of social media is no less apparent in Bayside than it is throughout the rest of the country. One native son content producer is taking advantage of growing interconnectivity to create a forum promoting business and community in northeast Queens.
Bayside Live TV held its second-annual preview party last week to display to the community how far the production company has come, and where it plans to go.
With a new media production and broadcast center on 41st Avenue, Bayside Live TV plans to bump up production by increasing the size of its team and giving Bayside a platform for building community.
Only within the last several months, Bayside Live TV’s average social media and YouTube reach has grown to over 250,000 views.
Former American film producer, writer and lifetime Baysider Gregg Sullivan is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Bayside Live TV. Also the former executive director of the Bayside Village Business Improvement District, Sullivan has put a great amount of effort into growing the media company’s role in the village. He believes social media and new technology can put Bayside on the map to attract visitors, bolster the community and improve the local economy.
“The amount that I am going to be able to grow this quickly now is going to be exponential,” Sullivan said. “It took us a long time, a lot of work and some late nights just getting to this point, but now all this is going to happen very quickly.”
Sullivan plans to expand his hyper-local television model across Queens County as a community forum, but first he said he wants to champion the plan in Bayside. He is looking to hire producers and reporters to create a variety of compelling stories for the web.
“This creates a different sense of community and a different sense of family for us,” Sullivan said.
Bayside Live TV has televised Little League parades and community events, as well as local bands and arts and crafts festivals. Now, Sullivan is introducing a whole new series of shows, the most significant of which, the “Living Legends of Bayside.”
“There are just so many people here that have these great stories,” he said. “We are really going to be connecting the dots between the past and the future with the people that are living right here in the present.”
Another component to new programming will be a series of documentaries about local musicians and artists.
To accomplish this major expansion, Bayside Live TV requires two things: additional leadership and money.
Broadcast producer and former Baysider, Faith Elliott, is being assigned as the managing editor.
“Part of what we are trying to do is embrace the past and embrace all of the beautiful memories we all have, but also make sure that the future generations have memories of a Bayside of today. We’ll tell the stories that make Bayside so wonderful and so unique,” Elliott said. “It really is a place of magic and I am delighted Gregg has put forward this technology, because … we can now share that and bring it to the next level going into the future.”
Lou Cattaruzza of the Village Artist Organization will also be working with Bayside Live TV.
“One of the things that actually revitalizes communities and makes them vibrant, is the arts,” said the 45-year Baysider. “The arts to me aren’t just pretty paintings; the arts to me … are people that really get to invent the future.”
I decided that this would be a challenge, so we went out and tried to get artists to participate. We created the Village Artist Organization, a nonprofit. We put on shows at empty banks, “People have gotten a sense of something that wasn’t there before.”
By holding art exhibitions, and concerts for performers and musicians in Bayside, Cattaruzza said he has taken the first step in marketing the village as a “happening place.”
“I saw the possibility forming; I thought that is about creating content that is so perfect that we have Bayside Live TV share it,” he said. “Creating a forum for people to come out of the closet in the context of art, whether you’re a singer, artist, inventor or writer, to be able to have that work in Bayside.”
As for money, Bayside Live TV, 214-18 41st Ave., already has several sponsors, but is looking to grow with community support. With a $50,000 goal for equipment and operations, Sullivan has offered several different incentives. Visit www.gofun