EXCLUSIVE: Producer and cable scion Edward Walson is launching news and debate app Erupt, aimed at the 18-34 year old demo.
Film and Broadway producer Walson is known for a string of Woody Allen movies including Blue Jasmine, Café Society, Magic In The Moonlight and Irrational Man, and stage shows such as Bullets Over Broadway and Pretty Woman: The Musical. A few years back he stepped in to help John Travolta pic Gotti reach the screen. The Sunriser Productions chief is also president and owner of New Jersey-based cable company Service Electric Broadband Cable TV, and the son of cable pioneer John Walson Sr.
The genesis of Erupt was sparked by Walson’s desire to give young people in the 18-34 demo a platform for debate and an alternative space given political biases in some traditional news media.
The app is due to be available for download on iOS and Android starting on May 31, with live programming beginning at 12pm that day.
According to Walson, the live stream will feature non-partisan moderator journalists who will curate discussions on controversial topics.
Through the app, potential guests will submit a request to be a speaker in the virtual format. They will be vetted by an internal panel for future video segments, with ‘no incite to violence’ and ‘no obscenities’ clauses as the only rules for the discussions. According to the founders, guests will be from various racial, social, economic, educational and religious backgrounds, and moderators will come from a variety of media platform backgrounds.
Erupt’s sessions will be headed by its Lead Content Producer and News Director, Bryan Keinz, former Senior Producer for ABC News. Emmy nominee Keinz spent 15 years with ABC News, working on shows including Good Morning America.
Walson said: “On Erupt there will be no one to answer to other than our audience. This is a recognition of just how partisan news has become, and we wanted to take some of that polarity out of the discussion. I am tired of Fox News supporting the conservative agenda and CNN supporting the liberal agenda during the last presidential campaign. We’re hoping to change policies through discussions rather than through party bias. We’re on the side of truth, justice and humanitarianism. We want people to watch an hour of these youthful speakers on Erupt and come away with their heart changed for the better.”
Keinz added: “Many media outlets imagine themselves as a place where the conversation or debate is happening, but at Erupt, that is our expressed goal. We are bridging the events of the world around us with voices who have a vested interest in the issues we discuss. We want to poke holes in conventional thinking, while engaging our audience in a fresh new way. We’re building a community where we can boldly face our failures. If our elected officials are unable to critically examine and help solve our problems, then Erupt is a place where informed citizens can.”
Walson said he is dedicating Erupt’s launch to the late Margo Spann, a journalist who was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Los Angeles earlier this year, and Phil Ochs, the journalist turned protest singer.
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