Dog-focused TV network launched by West Virginia native - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Dog-focused TV network launched by West Virginia native

Posted: Updated:
Photo courtesy of FidoTV — Professional dog handler Leslie Racine of Charleston appears in “Which Woof is for Me?” with one of her Golden Retrievers. Photo courtesy of FidoTV — Professional dog handler Leslie Racine of Charleston appears in “Which Woof is for Me?” with one of her Golden Retrievers.
Photo courtesy of FidoTV — FidoTV founder Tad Walden with Tok, Madison and Kai. Photo courtesy of FidoTV — FidoTV founder Tad Walden with Tok, Madison and Kai.

Tad Walden doesn’t have any plans to become a TV celebrity. In fact, he doesn’t appear on any of the shows on FidoTV.

It’s a network Elkview native Walden founded, and currently is available through channel 245 on DISH satellite service’s basic lineup.

“I don’t (have plans to appear on air) right now,” he said with a laugh. “There are some talks about me being on one show, but that’s not really my forte. 

“I can talk until the cows come home about dogs. But I’m not sure how good I am on television.”

He’s not just being modest, he insists. After all, FidoTV is all about the canines.

“I want the dogs to be the heroes of the network,” Walden said. “I want them to be the focus. The more dogs they see and the more the shows are about dogs, the better. It’s family friendly programming.

“We do have some shows in the works that are definitely character-driven. But our four-legged talent has a way of captivating people.

Good start

Since launching just a few months ago, FidoTV has performed well, Walden said.

This puppy has a bright future.

“Our viewer numbers have been very good on DISH,” he said. “You have 124 million people — basically a third of all homes in the U.S. have at least one dog and more than 77 million registered dogs in the U.S.”

That exceeds the number of humans 17 years of age and younger in America, Walden pointed out, sharing the potential market for dog-focused programming.

“There are more dogs than kids,” he said. “The pet industry is at $60 billion. In the last decade it has grown by $1 billion annually, even through the recession. That is a testimony to the power of pets, with dogs making up the overwhelming majority of them.”

A boy and his dogs

Walden grew up in the Blue Creek area near Elkview, enjoying the company of several dogs.

His family had about 16 acres in the rural setting with their closest neighbors about a mile away.

“I hung out with the dogs and romped around in the woods with them,” he said. “They were my companions when I was very young. That played a big part in my love of dogs.”

His family owned Irish setters, beagles, toy Manchester terriers, basset hounds and collies. “They’ve always played a big role in my life.”

It seemed only natural for Walden to incorporate his passion for dogs by blending it with his area of professional expertise.

It just took a few years.

After working with programmers and contracts, negotiating studio deals for movies and negotiating contracts involving networks such as ESPN and HBO, Walden said he felt there was a void in the television world and it needed a channel 100 percent dedicated to canine interests.

“I started working on a business plan,” he said. 

Mountain State roots

In putting together a plan for FidoTV, Walden received a vast amount of help and support from a West Virginia connection — MotionMasters and its owner/CEO, his longtime friend and colleague Diana Sole Walko.

“MotionMasters did our first demo reel for the channel,” Walden said. “Diana’s been with us from the beginning and has been a great supporter all along.”

After finishing the necessary hard work and gathering the funding, FidoTV launched in October 2015.  

MotionMasters is fully producing one of FidoTV’s programs, “Which Woof is for Me?” which made its network debut March 31.

Walden said he is pumping about 30 percent of his channel’s production budget into West Virginia through MotionMasters.

“I want to keep them busy,” he said.

“Which Woof is for Me?” is a show Walden called a “critical series for (FidoTV).”

“I’m a big believer in breaking out of the status quo of how things are done in this business,” he said. “When you get into the media and creative world, people question why I’m not working in Los Angeles. My answer is, ‘I get the same quality work at less than half the cost.’” 

Best in show

Other entities have done similar shows to “Which Woof,” but they didn’t meet Walden’s expectations.

“Being immersed totally in the dog world, I want this show to be the best one out there,” he said. “What we’re putting out there can be entertaining, but at the same time I want it to be accurate and informative about each breed that we’re portraying. 

“That is the big difference in this program. I’ve seen other shows on other networks and some of the information given about certain dog breeds is just flat out incorrect.”

There’s an even bigger audience potentially, as FidoTV explores other platforms to distribute its programming.

For now, FidoTV is only available on DISH.

“We have contracts signed for it to begin airing around the end of May, the first of June with other platforms,” Walden said. “We’re also in serious negotiations with a number of others. We’re in discussions with Comcast and DirecTV, and in the West Virginia market, Suddenlink.”

Suddenlink falls under the NCTC deal — a national cable television cooperative, he explained.

“We’re close,” Walden said of landing a deal. “That will open us up to many of the smaller cable systems across the country.”

Programming information can be found at fidotvchannel.com.

This story first appeared in the print edition of The State Journal. Click HERE to subscribe.

  • BusinessBusinessMore>>

  • Autism training to expand from Huntington to Athens, WV

    Autism training to expand from Huntington to Athens, WV

    Wednesday, November 16 2016 9:45 AM EST2016-11-16 14:45:47 GMT

    The West Virginia Autism Training Center is expanding its reach in the state. WV ATC, located at Marshall University in Huntington, has partnered with Concord University to develop on-campus support in Athens for students who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

    The West Virginia Autism Training Center is expanding its reach in the state. WV ATC, located at Marshall University in Huntington, has partnered with Concord University to develop on-campus support in Athens for students who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

  • AT&T offering computer science grants

    AT&T offering computer science grants

    Monday, November 14 2016 5:08 PM EST2016-11-14 22:08:54 GMT

    Executives with ATTInternetService are offering computer sciences grants to university professors and secondary school teachers to upgrade technology in their classrooms.

    Executives with ATTInternetService are offering computer sciences grants to university professors and secondary school teachers to upgrade technology in their classrooms.

  • WV child advocacy, domestic violence groups get help from Verizon

    WV child advocacy, domestic violence groups get help from Verizon

    Thursday, October 27 2016 5:01 PM EDT2016-10-27 21:01:17 GMT

    The West Virginia Child Advocacy Network and West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence are getting help from Verizon's HopeLine program to help those affected by domestic violence and child abuse.

    The West Virginia Child Advocacy Network and West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence are getting help from Verizon's HopeLine program to help those affected by domestic violence and child abuse.

WeatherMore>>

  • Send us a story idea!

    The State Journal welcomes your news tips and story ideas. 

    For breaking news, please call our newsroom at 304-720-6550.

    To email us your news tips and story ideas, please enter your email address below to continue:

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thank you for submitting your news tip or story idea!

Powered by Frankly