Tom Wolzien is an inventor, analyst, and media executive. He created Wolzien LLC In the summer of 2005, after spending nearly 14 years as a high profile sell-side analyst of large publicly traded media and cable companies for the Wall Street research firm of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co, more than 15 years at NBC, and early years at local television stations and running an Army combat photography operation in Vietnam.
Multiple patents have been awarded Wolzien (starting with 5,761,606) for his early interactive television inventions linking mass media and the web (click for more info or click to buy button on many cable remotes). He continues as an active inventor, with his latest patents issued in 2014 and 2016. US Patents 8,767,031 and 9,654,731 Video Call Center, cover enabling technology for Video Caller Television, the first new TV genre since Reality TV 20 years ago. Wolzien and his team at The Video Call Center, LLC have been developing this new, extremely efficient approach to TV content through the live, laboratory show TalkCenterAmerica. In the summer of 2015, TEGNA, Inc., became a significant investor and customer of The Video Call Center for its broadcast television stations. Wolzien serves as Manager of The Video Call Center, LLC and Executive Chairman of the company. Please see www.thevideocallcenter.com for full description and www.talkcenteramerica.com for laboratory shows and trailers.
For 14 years at Bernstein, Wolzien was internationally recognized for his ground breaking research into the impact of industrial trends on media and communications companies. For example, in 1995 he was the first on Wall Street to identify the potential of the cable modem and, later, cable telephony. He was ahead of the curve in predicting advertising downturns (2000), the huge growth in political issue advertising (2003 for the 2004 election), and in 2004, the potential of the "internet bypass" or over the top delivery of video to consumers via broadband connection.
In addition to briefing senior managements of major media and communications companies, Wolzien has testified before Congress and the Federal Communications Commission. He has discussed major industrial changes on the news programs of all major broadcast networks and the 24 hour cable news and business channels. And he has been quoted widely in major publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, Time, Newsweek, The Economist, and Business Week.
From 1976 to 1991 Wolzien worked in news production and executive management of network news and in corporate business development at NBC. Duties at NBC News ranged from White House field producer, to the producer in charge of the Nightly News investigative unit, and to executive producer of major news programs including a prime time magazine series, special event programs, and Nightly News Weekend. He covered presidential election campaigns and ran news coverage and operations of major events ranging from Mideast peace initiatives in the Began-Sadat era to the nuclear problems at Three Mile Island. He was the executive in charge of production for election night telecasts.
As an NBC News vice president, he was responsible for the worldwide operations of the division including early computer graphics, global computerization. and the (extremely difficult) introduction of the world's first x-y tracking studio robots. He was a "national table" contract negotiator for NBC at multiple technical and guild negotiations during the difficult transition period in the mid and late 1980s. Moving into NBC corporate management as Senior Vice President of Cable and Business Development, he was part of the team that started CNBC and negotiated programming partnership deals with the cable industry.
Wolzien began his news career at KLZ (TimeLife)/KMGH (McGrawHill now Scripps) in Denver as a summer intern newsfilm photographer covering everything from auto accidents to the state house, and continued the job full time on the night shift during his senior year. After graduating from the University of Denver in 1969 and completing Army Officer Candidate School, he served in Vietnam as officer in charge of an Army combat photography unit as part of the US Army's 21st Signal Company/Southeast Asia Pictorial Center. In Vietnam, his duties ranged from leading small field teams of photographers to commanding the Photo Branch unit of 40 photographers charged with finding the war and recording it. Video he shot in Vietnam was aired by all the US commercial networks. (Watch "Dustoff 89'er: here.)
After Vietham, he returned to Denver as a reporter/photographer, moved to Green Bay (WLUK/Post Corporation) as a news program producer until fired for putting too many Watergate stories on the air in 1974, and was hired by the CBS Owned Station in St. Louis (KMOX TV) as a news show producer. At that time CBS had decided to use KMOX as the experimental station for the transition from news film to electronic news gathering using live trucks and tape. Wolzien became one of the first program producers in the country to build local newscasts with a heavy live remote component. (Experience that was instrumental 40 years later in creating The Video Call Center). In 1975 he moved across town to KSD (Pulitzer now TEGNA's KSDK) as assistant news director to help with the transition to mini-cameras, as they were called at the time. That position led to the NBC News job.
Wolzien was a member of the Board of Directors of TiVo, Inc., a public company now sold to Rovi which took the TiVo name, for eight years beginning in 2007, including five as the Board's Lead Director.
Wolzien is a Director of the International Radio and Television Society, a non profit media industry educational organization which specializes in education and minority recruitment of the next generation of media leaders.
He has been married for 46 years to Valerie Shelley Wolzien, the published author of some 25 mystery novels. They live in New York’s Hudson River Valley.
Wolzien LLC is jointly owned by Valerie and Tom Wolzien.
(About the Banner Photo: Dusk or Dawn? An analysis point. If you know one thing, then sometimes other answers become clear. In this case, if you know where you stand in the landscape, you can tell the time. You are looking west across Penobscot Bay in Deer Isle, Maine.)