Regular watchers of CTN, Ann Arbor’s local-access cable stations, probably recognize Dana Denha best for her on-air role as host for the weekly show, FYI. That’s her most visible duty, perhaps, but Denha fills many roles at CTN.
“I’m a full-time producer at CTN, I’ve been working at CTN for over 10 years,” she said. “A producer at CTN wears a lot of hats. I am a host of multiple shows, FYI being the only weekly one.”
FYI is the only weekly show Denha hosts, but she also is the on-air personality for seasonal shows such as Let’s Watch with the Ann Arbor Film Festival and the Ann Arbor Summer Festival Series. She also co-hosts Adventures in Parenthood with Melissa Bondy.
And as a producer, Denha finds content for all her shows, writes scripts, shoots video and edits, and also assists other producers with their productions.
“I am the only full-time producer who does double duty as a host,” she said.
Like we said earlier, Dana Denha fills many roles at CTN. She has been hosting FYI for more than a decade, but the show has been around since the 1990s and has evolved over the years. It originally started as a calendar of events with a host from different city departments. As it grew it went from a monthly show, to bi-weekly, to weekly when Denha took over in December 2007. Today, it consists of edited packages as well as in-studio interviews.
“The goal is to let viewers in on fun events and happenings around the area and need-to-know info,” Denha said. “It also is about promoting organizations and upcoming events.”
After hearing of Denha’s itinerary for putting FYI together, it becomes more impressive to remember that this is far from her only role at the station. When coming up with an idea for an edition of FYI, she reaches out to different entities to see if they would be interested in being on the show, whether it be through edited packages or an in-studio interview.
“I schedule a crew to help me with the production, write scripts and questions, record VOs (voice-overs), and take all that content and edit the show together,” she said. “I prefer features over news. News has a tendency to be much more serious and there are many stations that will cover the negative aspects of living in a community.
“I prefer to stay light and have fun with my content whenever possible.”
Some of Denha’s favorite work as host includes covering the Thunder Over Michigan Air Show and working with the local theatre community to help promote upcoming plays. She calls interviewing Montel Williams as he promoted his film, Golden Shoes, a highlight.
Williams obviously feels comfortable in front of the camera, but sometimes, with local, everyday people, that isn’t the case. Denha says that keeping people loose is a very important part of her job when interviewing them.
“First, they need to feel comfortable in the environment and I always strive to make people feel that way while interviewing them,” she said. “I try to make them feel like we are sitting in my living room just having a chat; I listen and engage and ask questions based on the way the interview is flowing.
“And they need to be knowledgeable and passionate about what they are discussing.”
Denha is proud of the work she does at CTN, and says that FYI is “in a good place right now.”
“In the last couple years we revamped the opening, set and graphics. The show has won multiple awards in the over 500 episodes I have produced,” she said. “I am definitely happy with where we are.”
As for the next great story? Denha says she always as her eyes and ears open. She says she is open for suggestions. Just e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. CTN is available on Comcast local-access channels 16, 17,18 and 19 and AT&T 99. Also, CTN is available on YouTube channel ctnannarbor. For more information, and to find program times, go to www.a2gov.org/ctn