Streaming technology company Syncbak said it hired Mike Fass as VP of broadcast services to help continue the expansion of VUit, a national platform carrying programming from local TV stations.
Fass had been VP of operations at Gray Television, one of VUit’s early backers.
“Syncbak and VUit have one of the deepest benches of technology talent within the industry and we are looking forward to having Mike as part of our team to grow this brain trust even further,” said Jack Perry, CEO of Syncbak. ”He has been an incredible architect of solutions that have helped so many local broadcasters build their OTT capabilities, expand their supporting technologies, and scale to new heights.”
Perry told Broadcasting+Cable that Syncbak’s vision was to connect every broadcaster with every viewer.
“Broadcasting is evolving. It’s over the air, over cable, over satellite, and now over the top," said Perry. "Having broadcast technology strength just makes us a better company. When we had the opportunity to hire Mike, I jumped on it."
Fass will work with Perry and CTO Steve Maher to develop OTT and ATSC 3.0 technologies to help broadcasters, advertisers and viewers. Fass reports directly to Maher.
Perry said ATSC 3.0 is an area where Fass will be very involved. “3.0 gives us an opportunity to take another path over to the viewer” and enable more personalization. “You’ll probably see VUit evolve into a single point of navigation. That single point of navigation really helps the broadcaster. Think of it like an electronic program guide on steroids.”
Fass started out at KOLN-TV in Lincoln, Nebraska. He got into the technical side and served as a technical director at MTV Networks’ Network Operations Center. He returned to local TV at WOWT-TV in Omaha, where he rose to director of technology before joining Gray corporate.
“For me, it's an awesome opportunity to be joining this team with my background in broadcasting,” Fass said. “I have a lot of passion for leveraging technology to help journalists connect with their communities and get critical and important information out.”
Perry sees VUit which was launched in 2020 expanding to have at least one station in all 210 local markets by the end of the year.
“Mike’s going to help us do that,” Perry said. “A big part of his job is going to be to translate to his former brethren on the broadcast side just exactly what they need to do on the OTT side and really bring those two things together. “
In March Syncbak hired Kevin Dunaway, whose job is to help stations develop content for the OTT platform. Earlier Syncbak brought over Rachel Brecht as director of advertising. She had been a top local salesperson at Gray.
VUit has seen its viewership minutes triple in the past year, as viewers have turned to the platform with an increased appetite for a true local lens and perspective in major news and cultural events of interest to them outside of their current hometown.
Gray stations are on VUit. Other broadcasters participation include Cox, Hearst Television, Heritage Broadcasting, Morgan Murphy Media, News Press and Gazette, Sunbeam and leading independent local stations such as WFMZ-TV in Philadelphia and KTSF-TV in San Francisco. ■
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.