December 14, 2016
Luke Watson has taken a varied path to get to where he is, but you know what they say: It's not the destination; it's the journey.
As a student at Susquehanna University, Watson initially majored in information systems. But his sophomore year, he discovered that Susquehanna gives students the opportunity to design their own major.
"So I created a curriculum that allowed me to essentially major in film, television and digital media," he said. Watson accomplished this by taking courses in film, broadcasting, journalism, art and information systems.
"I've always designed my own job since then," he said.
Today, Watson, originally from Lewistown, Pa., lives in New York City and works for Roker Labs, a division of Al Roker Entertainment. As director of Roker Labs, Watson helps to develop programming for various live-streaming platforms.
"Before 2015, you needed a $50,000 satellite truck to broadcast live," Watson said. "Today, there are dozens of platforms that allow users to stream content to their TVs, tablets or phones."
Among his first ventures is ChefShock, a two-hour, real-time cooking show that streams on Twitch, an Amazon-owned live-streaming service with its roots in the gaming community.
"When we do a cooking show, it's not just like one you see on TV," Watson said. "It's one that is tailored to the platform. The talent is part of the community, so he's making references that they get and appreciate."
For each ChefShock episode, viewers can purchase ingredients in advance, by either looking at the ChefShock meal schedule or choosing one of the show's home-delivery partners. Then they cook along with the host.
Before going to New York, Watson went from a screen-printing business he started with his high school buddies, to managing musical talent, which led to a position with Tommy Hilfiger before landing at Roker Labs.
"It's been an unorthodox path," Watson admitted. "I always thought to myself, I can't imagine waking up knowing I'm going to do this thing from 8-5 today, tomorrow, next week, in a year, two years, five years. So I've always embraced uncertainty and that keeps things interesting."