WESLEY CHAPEL — Some of those attending the Pasco County Economic Development Council's annual banquet Wednesday night might have felt a little more important than in previous years.
That's because they gave "red carpet interviews" that will be aired on the organization's new Web TV channel.
"Video is being increasingly used on the Web, and we wanted to try to use it for economic development efforts," said John Hagen, president and CEO of the public-private partnership.
Hagen said the program cost very little to start; the organization bought the domain name PascoCounty.TV — Pasco.TV already was taken — for about $15. It then used marketing director Summer Martin and economic development manager Krista Hakes as on-air personalities. Volunteers have provided most of the videography. The pair began gathering material at the Republican National Convention as part of Front Row Tampa Bay. The initiative, sponsored by the Tampa Bay Partnership, was a four-day, live streamed effort to promote the area's business, climate, talent, workforce and opportunities.
The EDC interviewed University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft, David Pizzo of Florida Blue, Kevin Harrington of As Seen On TV Inc., Adam Bohn of Artix Entertainment, Ted Astolfi of Manufacturing Extension Partnerships, Stuart Rogel of the Tampa Bay Partnership and Tim Tangredi, CEO of Odessa-based Dais Analytic.
The footage, along with the material gathered Wednesday, will be used to launch the channel this month.
"We like to do experiments," Hagen said, noting that he's unaware of any other economic development groups in the area having a similar program. "If it works, that's great.
This is not the first innovative online project for the EDC. Its use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets earned it the 2012 Social Media Marketing Award from the Florida Economic Development Council. In May, Pasco EDC was also awarded "Best Use of Social Media" from the national and international trade publication Business Facilities: The Location Advisor.
Since January, Pasco EDC said it has integrated its public relations and marketing campaigns into a branded social media strategy.
Its slogan is "Room to Grow in Tampa Bay," with kids used as spokespersons to convey the message that with its abundance of open land, that place is Pasco.