OpenRoad.TV's Doug McConnell moving to Web

John Shinal · June 20, 2008 · Short URL:

After more than two decades years on a broadcast TV station in the San Francisco Bay Area, "Bay Area Backroads" and its award-winning travel content are headed to the Web with host Doug McConnell's newest venture, OpenRoad.TV.

The Web site has more than 1,000 segments showcasing McConnell's travels throughout Northern California and the American West, as well as travel planning features and ways to meet other like-minded travelers.

The show's understated production values and McConnell's warm-hearted approach to his subjects -- not to mention stunning video of some of the most spectacular locations in the U.S. -- earned the show a loyal following on San Francisco's KRON-TV for 23 years. 

But the station saw its fortunes fade after it lost its network affiliation in 2002, and its owner, Young Broadcasting, hired bankers to try and sell it earlier this year.

It still hasn't found a buyer, and amid the turmoil, McConnell got word that the show he's hosted since 1993 will cease production on July 31.

In addition to putting the content onto the Web, McConnell is pitching the show to PBS and looking to line up sponsors for that effort.

In this interview, McConnell reflected back on the show's run and said the best part about hosting was "waking up in the morning and not knowing how the day is going to turn out."

That, and meeting some great, ordinary people like Foggy Gomes, who headed the volunteer fire department of the picturesque coastal town of Mendocino for more than 50 years. The show on Gomes' retirement part is among McConnell's favorite segments.

"This country is full of bright, capable, passionate, wise people," most of whom you never see on TV, McConnell says.



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