By Jennifer Silverstein
During the festivities surrounding the Republican National Convention (RNC) held in Tampa in August, local FishHawk resident JP Manterola, owner of Matchpoint Studios, aired programming live on the Internet all four days, promoting the Tampa Bay area to businesses.
In a collaboration with Tampa Bay Partnership, a nonprofit touting the Tampa Bay area and its businesses, Manterola and Victory Group, a political agency, Front Row Tampa Bay was created.
“We thought it was incredibly good timing with the RNC in town to be able to put together a TV show that would showcase our region,” Manterola said. The show focused on the eight-county region, including Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota.
The show concentrated on Business, Health, Technology and Marine Research, luring business from around the country – and around the world – to come to Tampa Bay. With 18,000 other media outlets in town for the RNC, Front Row Tampa Bay was likely the only one not covering the event, but instead using it as a platform.
One hundred twenty-five guests were live, on stage during the 17 hours of live programming. Four hundred fifty leaders went to the building in which the filming took place, Stageworks Theatre, which was one mile from the RNC, to watch the show live and network. The building underwent major renovations before the RNC, including a front hallway draped and projected to look like the ocean while sounds of waves splashing were heard.
The target audience was business leaders from around the world. “We want to bring them here,” Manterola said. “We’re going to tell the world how great the Tampa area is.”
The show taped for four hours every day for the four days of the RNC, with two hosts and segments with guests, including Governor Rick Scott, who talked about why people should bring business to Tampa Bay. It was similar to a morning show format and had a live audience. The hosts were former Fox network hosts Kathy Fountain and Frank Robertson.
The show was available free on the Internet at www.frontrowtampabay.com and was live streaming. It was also available to be watched on mobile devices, such as a smart phone or iPad. It was viewed in 73 countries. The videos are still rolling on the Website.
“We didn’t want it to end with the RNC, we wanted it to go on forever,” Manterola said.
Prior to his work with Front Row Tampa Bay, Manterola and Matchpoint Studios has directed commercials and videos for the University of South Florida (USF), the Girl Scouts, politicians and more. Manterola has been the owner of Matchpoint Studios for three years, the same amount of time he has been a FishHawk resident. Matchpoint has six total employees, all of whom are local residents from Riverview, Seffner and more. FishHawk resident Laurie Grant was hired for the show as the producer/ assistant director, managing sets, commercial breaks, makeup, timing, guests and more.
Before moving to FishHawk, Manterola lived in the Orlando area and directed commercials for Disney and Nickelodeon. Originally from Chile, he came to the U.S. in 2004 after receiving his degree in TV Show Communications.
For more information or to view the footage, please visit www.frontrowtampabay.com.