Victor Vassallo, Daniel Fox, and Alexander Ritsch
On October 6, 2017, TC Williams students said goodbye to an on-air talent known throughout the school for his name, Pete Peterson. Peterson had been a longtime host of Everyday Titan and many students had grown accustomed to his charm and style of broadcasting. With his departure, two new anchors have emerged but many students are not convinced that they can live up to Pete’s standards.
The new hosts, Gabriel (Gab) Hendi, a junior, and Michelle Marfo, a senior, are well aware of pressure from students to achieve the same recognition as Peterson. Hendi said, “I don’t know if I can live up to [Peterson’s] legacy, that was actually an issue that kind of plagued me the days leading up to my first show because I was just hearing all that stuff about how mad people were that Pete was leaving so it kind of, I’m not going to lie, it got to me a little bit.”
However, amid this pressure to be like Peterson, Hendi and Marfo are not looking to be clones of the show’s former host. “There are definitely some comments like, ‘Where’s Pete?’ [Pete] was a good host but I feel that I need to be myself and it is important to be original” said Marfo. While the crew still aims to retain Peterson’s old audience, it doesn’t want the conventional feel that the old show presented. Instead the new crew wants to have a more fluid and conversational show.
The key to this more free flowing style lies with the co-hosts, but first they have to address challenges. Technical problems have been a struggle with two hosts. Having two sets of audio and visuals, as well as flowing smoothly from host to host is a task that the crew has yet to master. For now, the best solution has been to decrease the number of shows with two hosts by cutting back to only one show a week.
Despite the challenges, both hosts are determined to push through, citing the increasingly significant impact that the show has on the school. Marfo said, “Everyday Titan has become a key part of communication in the student body…and ensures the awareness of students.” A considerable number of the T.C.’s clubs and sports teams have their upcoming events announced on Everyday Titan. T.C. Principal Peter Balas, has also begun to lean more on the show to inform the student body, frequently requesting teachers to tune in to the show each morning.
Yet, not all TC residents have seen a rise in the show’s impact or popularity. Students such as sophomore Ami Falk have witnessed a decreasing viewership and enthusiasm for the show since Peterson’s retirement. Falk said, “I’m not sure of [Everyday Titan]’s impact now that Pete Peterson is gone. It was just incredible to watch the smile on everybody’s face when he was host but without him you can tell that the atmosphere of the school has totally changed.”
Other students feel that the show’s roster change was long overdue. Senior, Jensi Finyaqua, thought Peterson’s shows all had the same feel to them toward the end. She enjoys the change in style from Peterson’s “traditional broadcaster feel” to the more friendly and personable vibe she believes Hendi and Marfo bring.
One student surprised by all the controversy is Peterson himself. Peterson never expected to garner as popular a student following as he did and wasn’t comfortable with the attention. Said Peterson, “[Hosting] is really fun, but it is a little weird that random people know you. I’m kind of glad that it is behind me.” He blames the attention primarily on his memorable name, which he says “resonated” with students.
Now out of the spotlight, Peterson is an adamant defender of the show’s new hosts. He praised Hendi and Marfo for their eagerness to step up after his departure and believes they have what it takes to be remembered as great hosts. However, Peterson was not without some constructive comments for his replacements. “They’re good kids, but they still have a lot to learn…putting in a little more emotion would definitely help” said Peterson.