Washington, DC broadcast veteran starts five television channels for frontline workers

Written By: Maya N. Brown (IG: maya.aspire

Website: https://pizettamedia.com

A married couple based in Washington, DC, started not one or two but five television channels highlighting our everyday heroes.

Michael VanZetta, Chief Executive Officer of PiZettamedia and broadcast news veteran, can be slated as an expressionist fulfilling his dream of helping others tell their stories. Back in 2002 at 20 years old he started his first job at WTWO in Terre Haute, IL, then ventured onto other stations, such as WSET, WJLA, WUSA9, and Sinclair Broadcast Group Corporate becoming a well-known and seasoned professional in commercials, production, digital news, and marketing.

Want to submit video/photo content for the channels? Email: mike@pizettamedia.com

Throughout the pandemic, he had first-hand experience in dealing with a loved one as a frontline worker. His wife and co-founder, Jen V. is a teacher, and her school system, like the rest of the world, had to transition into a new normal with virtual only pivoting the entire industry of education.

After seeing this, the VanZettas developed a plan to showcase firefighters, teachers, veterinarians, nurses, police officers, emergency care professionals, etc., on their day-to-day duties to highlight how much they pour into our communities. In 2021 PiZetta Media made its debut on HeroGo TV, making its channels available in thousands of homes across the United States.

Watch Frontliners TV and Zoo Animal Antics on Local Now, HeoroGO TV

Lookweareincluded.com spoke with VanZetta about his new television channels and the impact he’s making in the media industry. 

Question and Answer Segment with Michael VanZetta

LookWeAreIncluded.com: When and What inspired you to start PiZettamedia?

Michael VanZetta: We wanted more channels on TV for people to have a say in their stories and messages. Social Media data shows that some of the top-performing videos were people on the frontlines either overcoming adversity or moments that make you feel something. With video technology making it easier to create high-quality content, hospitals, police, and fire departments create amazing videos. Still, there isn’t a platform on TV to amplify these stories until now with our channels. Jen has been a teacher for over 18 years, and her father is a retired colonel of the army. Her being on the frontlines and seeing what she is doing to help these young minds succeed and these teachers need more props and coverage on TV. In November 2021 we decided it was time to create our own company and the channels made their debut on HeroGo TV. 

LookWeIncluded.com: How long did it take you to make your dream into a reality?

Michael VanZetta: In 2009, I went back to college at George Mason University and created my degree on the convergence of broadcast and digital. After graduating in 2013, I just kept researching and understanding new technologies in broadcast and digital. I have always wanted to create TV channels. Thanks to my wife Jen for believing in me to follow my dreams, we started PiZetta Media. Now was the right time as well because of streaming TV and the ability to create TV channels with little cost. This was about 14 years in the making, but the long tough road was worth it.

Watch Frontliners TV and Zoo Animal Antics on Local Now, HeoroGO TV

LookWeAreIncluded.com: Digital Media is very innovative and a great space to be in – what sets you apart from other stations?

Michael VanZetta: We wanted to be the first TV channel dedicated to people on the frontlines. Being in Local TV news, you had a very short amount of time to tell stories. I didn’t want that. No stories or shows have a time limit, so we can tell authentic shows no matter how long it takes to get their story right. With ATSC 3.0 and OTT there are more ways to get more voices out, and I want to utilize those technologies to bring out high-quality programming. On every show, we have a QR code so the viewer can have an interactive experience by going to the websites about the people, hospital, or organization.


LookWeAreIncluded.com: You have 5 channels – how can people submit content to you?

Michael VanZetta: People can email Mike content or talk about creating a show at mike@pizettamedia.com, and I will get it on the channels

LookWeAreIncluded.com: What stations can people watch your channel on?

 Michael VanZetta: Frontliners TV and Zoo Animal Antics are on Local Now, HeoroGO TV, and other streaming platforms. Our goal is to get on cable and broadcast multi-channels to amplify our coverage of frontliners.

LookWeAreIncluded.com: Please share any other information that you would like to include in your article

Michael VanZetta: Another mission PiZetta Media has, besides telling as many unsung heroes stories as possible, is that we will use some of our profits to give back to nonprofits, hospitals, and other organizations that help people in the frontlines. In 2019 I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 2. Thanks to My wife and family and proper treatment, it changed my life. But I didn’t say anything publicly for two and a half years. I was scared of what people would think and if I would lose my job. In the beginning, I didn’t know any everyday people with a mental illness, but If I had heard about someone in a similar situation succeeding in life, it would have made life less scary. I want our channels to let people know they are not alone, and showing relatable stories of people going through similar things will help. I’m also working with Burst as a consultant. Thanks to the extraordinary leadership of Bryant McBride, Tim Graves, and the rest of the team at Burst, I created a channel called Burst Network, which focuses on telling the stories of people with marginalized voices. My goal is to create multiple new channels per year.




LookWeAreIncluded.com: Will you be hiring soon? If so, what positions can people be on the lookout for?

Michael VanZetta: When we grow, we want to hire a team of storytellers that will help tell the stories of frontliners at a higher level and give amazing creators another option to tell stories on television.

If you would like to connect with Michael VanZetta you can reach out to him via LinkedIn here or email mike@pizettamedia.com

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