July 11, 2006

Nanotechnology Appeals To The Small Screen

By: by Richard A. D'Errico, Staff Writer, The Business Review


Nano is more than a technology.

It's a TV show coming this fall--"NanoNow." The show is scheduled to air weekly on Fox23, hosted by Steve Janack, the spokesman for the state University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

The show will air this fall on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and many of the shows will feature technology coming out of UAlbany's $3 billion Albany NanoTech complex where the nanocollege is located.

Local elected officials and high-tech executives will also be interviewed on the show. UAlbany has research and development partnerships with more than 150 global companies.

Fox23 anchors John Gray and Ann Hughes will also present segments.

Albany NanoTech is considered the region's high-tech ground zero. It has landed major tenants--for example, Sematech, which is a consortium of computer-chip manufacturers such as Advanced Micro Devices and Infineon and tool makers Tokyo Electron Ltd. and ASML. It played a key role in the region landing its first computer-chip manufacturer, AMD, which announced plans to build a $3.2 billion chip plant at the Luther Forest Technology Park in Saratoga County.

"The timing of this show could not be more perfect in light of the AMD announcement," Janack said. That announcement was made at Albany NanoTech on June 23, featuring Gov. George Pataki, a frequent visitor to the site, and AMD CEO Hector Ruiz.

"The region is playing on a global stage. The idea of the show is to reflect that," Janack said.,

Janack hosted the "Tech Valley Report" on Time Warner Cable from 2002 until he took the job at Albany NanoTech last fall. Janack had a 15-year career in radio and television.

"Certainly, nanotech is a key driver for growth in this region," Janack said. "Our goal is to showcase that and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering as a global leader."

Fox23 and Albany NanoTech began talking about the possibility of a show in January.

"What's it really mean to the area?" asked Jeff Whitson, Fox23's vice president and general manager. The show is designed to answer that question. "It really affects so many people in the region, not just businesses and the university."

Nanotechnology is used in paint for Mercedes to make the vehicles scratch-resistant. It's in Eddie Bauer clothing to make fabric stain-resistant and wrinkle-free. A nanometer is about 70,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Nanotechnology is expected to be big business. By 2014, there will be a $2.6 trillion market for products with nanotechnology.

Show will have global reach

Whitson said the show's reach will go beyond the region. It will be available via podcasts and streamed on the

"NanoNow" is just one of several local tech shows to crop up in recent years. WMHT/Channel 17 has its "The Bottom Line with Wally Altes." Altes is the former president of the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce and is credited with coining the term Tech Valley. "Business Forward" is a joint venture with the Center for Economic Growth Inc., a nonprofit economic development organization based in Albany, and WRGB/Channel 6.

"Tech Valley Reports" has been on hiatus since Janack left the Albany-Colonie chamber last year. The chamber's new spokesman, John Spadafora, said the show will be returning but will be quarterly rather than weekly. Spadafora has a 16-year history in broadcasting. He was WTEN/Channel 10's sportscaster for 16 years.

"We're trying to see how it's going to work and how we're going to do it," Spadafora said. "We want to do something different. There's a lot of business shows out there."