Their Popular Newscast Turns Two Litchfield Men into Local Celebrities
September 23, 2016
by Kaylee Murphy
Romano’s Pizza in Litchfield is the birthplace and home of Litchfield’s own ‘What’s Up’ news program.
How Jayson Brennen and Pete Psaledas became local news celebrities started with their idea to host a “vinyl night” at Romano’s Pizza. The night was surprisingly successful, so they decided to start advertising it and, in January, their idea evolved into what is now known as ‘Litchfield NH – What’s Up’ Facebook page. It is a place that people in town can share ideas and news. The evolution from vinyl night to creating a newscast was rapid. They launched their first newscast in July. Typically, they air 15 to 20 minutes every week or two complete with news and segments. Generally they record out of Romano’s Pizza in a little room behind the bar. Most of their set decor comes from either the dump or flea markets. Sometimes they record out of the trunk of Jayson’s son’s 1978 Chevy pickup. They used that same car as a float in the Litchfield’s Memorial Day Parade and threw out candy while blasting ‘80s music.
Some of their segments include the weather, which Diane Plansky does. According to Jayson she isn’t perfect at predicting the weather, but has a great personality. There is also a physician’s assistant correspondent that does a men’s health minute. Pete does local town happenings, and they both cover sports, which generally consists of Patriots and local youth sports. Jayson and Pete also do live shots at youth sports games and local businesses throughout the week. Their first live shot was about the new beer cooler at the Litchfield Food Mart. They did another about the Litchfield Food Mart regarding snow cones, and, a week later, the store ran out of them.
Litchfield has many newsworthy stories that Pete and Jayson cover. They give you information and add a bit of humor to each one. An example of Litchfield’s lesser known issues is the feral cat problem as well as missing trash can lids. Pete and Jayson also did pieces on the PFOAs (Perfluorooctanoic Acid) and the drought in Litchfield.
When asked if they had any plans to take ‘What’s Up’ bigger, both Jayson and Pete said ‘no’ without any hesitation. There are no plans for them to expand into Hudson, and they don’t plan on posting their videos on YouTube. Jayson and Pete plan on continuing ‘What’s Up’ until they are sick of it. Before this Pete didn’t even have a Facebook and neither of them knew that they would become this popular. Their page has about 1,500 friends and their newscasts average over 1,100 viewers per week.
Prep work takes a few hours the night before and generally consist of putting together a 25-slide show.
They only have three rules for people who post on their Facebook page.
- No complaining or drama
- No blatant advertising
- Keep it light and pass information around.
They still occasionally host ‘vinyl nights’ at Romano’s Pizza. Between Pete, Jayson and their friends they have about 800 records. On top of Pete and Jayson’s rising careers in news they both have professional jobs and families. Jayson has a job in the public works engineering industry, and Pete works in natural foods..