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Behind The Screens: Brandon Arolfo



Meet Brandon Arolfo, who recently joined PBS Digital Studios as their Senior Director. In his role, he oversees content development, operations, budgets, and sponsorship. One of his primary goals as Senior Director is to increase collaboration with stations.
                                                                                                 

Tell us about yourself and where you were prior to working at PBS:
I have been involved in the development and production of advertising, television, and web content for about 300 years. I originally started as a producer and editor in advertising, and then moved into television development and production. I used to do a lot of producing in Nashville for music videos, commercials, award shows, and TV programming.

Immediately before working for PBS, I was an executive producer and partner of a multi-channel network called My Country Nation – a digital network that primarily produces music-industry programming and social content. Before that I worked for AOL in NYC as a supervising producer for branded content and digital programming.

What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned working in public media?
I come from a traditional entertainment and advertising background, and in these industries a producer usually will do what it takes to please a sponsor or brand. No matter what your morals are – you will make that adorable baby cry in a close up shot so that her tears can be wiped away by a Kleenex, and you will make Reba drink that Coke on camera even though she can’t have sugar. PBS has a totally different sponsorship structure compared to other networks that I have worked with – which is so amazing for me - I get a chance at redemption. But there is a huge learning curve and many lessons to be learned when it comes to the way sponsorship works at PBS. In the last two months I have made a lot of progress, and I look forward to learning even more.

Based on what you know now, if you could go back to your first day at PBS and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Wear something less stuffy. I looked like I was going to family portrait day at Gammy’s house.

What’s the one website you can’t live without?
It’s a tie between Buzzfeed, and BananaRepublic.com – I enjoy a good sale.

What is your favorite PBS Digital Studios original series?
Right now my favorite series is Deep Look - can’t get enough.

Can you recommend an up-and-coming online web series?
Stay on the look out for The Good Stuff – it’s insightful, engaging and hysterical.

What’s one newsletter you think everyone should subscribe to?
Jeez, I don’t know…. Aside from PBS newsletters, maybe PopSugarMoms, I guess.

What is your favorite mobile app?
This is going to sound a little boring, but I use Yelp all the time right now – I just moved to DC, and I am still figuring out where the best hot chicken places are. Another one is Venmo – I want my money.

What do you think are the upcoming trends in the digital world?
Seems like things are becoming more and more personalized, I feel like user experience is going to become an even bigger focus than it is now. And look at all these connected devices, they are all adding to more connected living - it’s like digital marketing for the senses.

If you could have a Google Hangout with any three people, who would you choose?
Abraham Lincoln, Madonna, and Richard Pryor.

Describe the Internet in a word:
Google

Catch up on the profiles of your favorite PBS and LocalPBSers with more Behind the Screens posts.

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