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I Heart Morgan Webb Interviews Becky Worley

Becky WorleyLife After TechTV's TechLive and Fresh Gear:
Becky Worley Speaks Out.

by John "Highway" Wu & Jim "The Konquerer" Adams
Staff Writers

Originally published December 3, 2004

In May 2004, hordes of cybergeeks were cut to the very core to find favorite TechTV shows such as TechLive and Fresh Gear out of production, after the station was purchased by G4 Media earlier in the year. TechLive was cancelled outright, and although Fresh Gear is still aired, no new episodes have been produced since TechTV was purchased.

We were able to catch up with TechLive's computer security analyst, Becky Worley, who's currently finishing up her Master's degree in Education and Computer Science at Stanford. We felt we needed to ask her a few important questions.

Favorite Old School Video Game Galaga or Tetris
Favorite Black-n-White Movie On the Waterfront. "Chah-lie, I coulda been somebody, I coulda been a contenda
Favorite Music from the 80s I was such a Duran Duranimal
Favorite Music from the 90s Sadly, country. I can sing all the Brooks and Dunn you could name
Favorite Movie from the 80s Sixteen Candles. "Dong - Grandpa's talking to you"
Favorite Movie from the 90s Training Day. (2001 is close enough)
Guilty Pleasure(s) in Life My Water Bra. Oh yes, we all wear them (except for Morgan), but I believe in full disclosure. So there!
Favorite Physical Place That You've Visited My home town -- MAUI! I also love Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Missoula, Montana

I heard rumors that you're really one 'wild and crazy tech chick'. Is this true and if so, can you recall the most wild thing you've done for the show?

Becky Worley eat off the bathroom floorI've had some great fun trying to get people to think about tech differently. I was given carte blanche while working for TechLive and Fresh Gear -- anything I wanted I could report on. So I did a whole series about the germs that accumulate on your keyboard and mouse (ergo the photo of me eating lunch on the floor of the bathroom - it's cleaner than most cubicles)

Becky Worley with a mullettI reviewed ridiculous products in ridiculous costumes like when I reviewed the IROC MP3 player as a jean suited, mullett wearing iRoc-Z driving rocker.

Becky Worley with xeroxing her buttI also got to do opinion pieces on tech issues, like new laws against camera phones (the xerox'd butt shot was to prove that every new piece of technology is used for goofy reasons at first, then the joke gets old, like photocopying your butt, and people don't use the tech that way anymore).

Can you recall the most embarassing thing that happened during the show?

I remember I opened 'whitehouse.com' on Call For Help once and got a full frontal on national TV and the 50-inch plasma next to my head, I was frantically closing pop-ups as we went to break. Oh! I once choked on my own spit while solo-anchoring the news, making another awkward, unplanned commercial break.

Anything else you care to share?

I broke my nose 3 times in the year that I was anchoring the 1 PM news for TechLive.

You broke your nose 3 times? In the same year?

Becky Worley getting knee'd in the groin areaWell, I was playing rugby for the US at the time and that sure didn't sit well with my boss. After the 3rd break, I got my nose fixed and it was so swollen and ugly that when I came back to work, I had to read the news sideways toward the camera for 3 days.

What were you thinking?

What was I thinking? 'Stay home for a few more days you ugly cow!'

I'm sure that being on a show that talked and reviewed tech, you got to have all those tech gadgets to play with. Were there any tech gadgets that caught your eye and so "wanted" to take home with you?

"wanted" ... right -- we took all kinds of crap home; usually these were long term loaners that the companies would either forget about or ask us to return at a later date. My favorites were/are: a GPS mapping tool for the car, the eye-toy and the boom construction headset (the best cell phone headset; bulky, but amazing).

Out of all that, name something that you still have?

I still have the ULI surfboard. The ULI surfboard is the Ultra Light Inflatable surfboard (hence the acronym). Unfortunately, the makers of the board did not realize that ULI is the hawaiian word for the male member. Since surfing originated in Hawaii, that little naming misfortune has been exposed in a few surfing magazines.

I'm sure that didn't go well with the product literature.

The literature for the surfboard was hilarious. Make sure to fully pump the ULI, it must be hard for you to ride it properly.

Oh my...

Sorry, that's a bit naughty, but I'm just telling you how funny all the subtext was.

Tell me something about Chris Leary, I bet sharing a show with him can be tough sometimes (*wink*).

Well, Chris got the anchor job that I thought I wanted.

Ooo, that doesn't sound too good.

I tried really hard to dislike him and I relished in the fact that some of the websites referred to him as a "Himbo" - male bimbo. Then a strange thing happened: I got to know Leary and really liked him. He has a fantastic self-deprecating sense of humor and a form of intelligence that is different from anyone I know.

Let's take this interview to a different level: If you could attach a Sesame Street character who best represented each of the folks at TechLive, who would you choose to represent Chris Leary?

I would have to be able to add Muppets too. Chris Leary -- Captain Link Hogthrob from "The Pigs in Space" skit. Leary had a million Fabio looks before he got to us. Or maybe Guy Smily?

Melanie Kim?

Okay, I know I'm gonna get in trouble for this one, but I guess Miss Piggy. Melanie's such a little peanut, so you know that comparison is only in a few personality ways: she's a whirling dervish of energy, a part of everything and a girly girl to the core. And remember, Miss Piggy was THE STAR of the show.

Jessica Corbin?

I would have to say Corbin is Elmo. Off-camera and on-camera she is sweet, hard working and equally loveable.

Lindsey Arent?

Lindsey is one of my best friends and I would have a hard time categorizing her, so if you could combine Fozzie Bear and Janice from the band and maybe a little Big Bird (she kind of mothered us all, she is good at hugging people when they're upset), then maybe you'd get Lindsey. Oh, and throw in a little Miss Piggy for her Diva side.

and finally, Brendan Moran?

Easy! Oscar the Grouch. Tough exterior, but a very smart, funny, hard-working guy. One of my favorite people at TechTV. But maybe he's one of those guys who heckled people at the theatre (Waldorf or Statler)

You know, I'm exposing that I watched a lot of TV as a kid and that I am taking this interview way too seriously.

But TV is good for us! (*smile*)

There might be certain things you can't say as a former TechLive/Fresh Gear personality, but if there were nothing holding you back, what would you say to the execs at G4?

I'm not holding anything back. The execs there are infinitely confused. As I mentioned in an earlier post, G4 CEO Charles Hirschorn has the leadership abilities of a clam. His vision is equally limited. As for the folks who chose to move down there, whether they are still working at G4 or have been let go, they are now being exposed to more TV opportunities than they would have had in San Francisco.

On a more personal note, I'm disappointed. I think TechTV was a unique entity, niche programming that listened to and interacted with its niche audience. When management stopped listening to our core audience and Paul Allen sold the company to appease whatever debt he had to Comcast, our little experiment was over. Maybe G4 is appeasing a similar niche for gamers, but I can't speak to that.

Did you know that the show had been placed on hiatus prior to the Thanksgiving weekend for revamping? What do you think of the current direction that G4 has TSS taking?

I really like Chi-Lan and wish her the best, she's smart and fun to work with. Other than that, I really never worked with Kevin, Sarah, and I don't know Kevin Pereira. The show just needs a focus, who are you broadcasting to and what do they want? Figure that out and make a cohesive TV show with real content. I was on the creation team for The Screen Savers and Call For Help in '98, that's what we did then, thought about the audience and then made a show we thought they'd learn from and enjoy.

Would you go back to doing TechLive if, by some miracle, the execs at G4 saw the errors of their ways and wanted to go back to a Tech-based format?

Nah, I think I'm enjoying my life now a lot more than I did back then. I just finished hosting four pilots for the National Geographic Channel. The show is called Mother of All and it will debut at the end of January or beginning of February (I'll let you know the details when we get a confirmed air date).

Mother of All? What's it about?

The show is a building show, kind of like Monster Garage or Big. So far we've built an insane refridgerator for a fraternity, a river raft that is basically a water fighting barge for some river guides, a tailgate vehicle for some insane Oakland Raider fans, and a mobile barbecue for firefighters in San Francisco (hint: it can cook a hotdog in 1.8 seconds). I am welding, plasma cutting, and getting in lots of trouble. Luckily, I still have all my fingers attached. Hopefully the show gets picked up permanently.

Wow, you sound really busy.

I have some fantastic freelance gigs that pay the bills. Plus with a few of my old TechTV bosses, we're shopping a pilot for a new show. A few nibbles so far, but nothing's solid till the check is in the bank.

Anything else?

My other goal for the moment is to finish my Master's degree. I can thank Paul Allen for the fact that he and TechTV shelled out almost $50K for my master's at Stanford which I did while working full time at TechTV. What an amazing benefit.
On March 25, 2004, Comcast (parent company of G4 Media) announced its plans to purchase TechTV, a channel devoted to computers and technology, from Vulcan Ventures. The purchase was completed on May 10, 2004, which allowed Comcast to merge their G4 station with the newly acquired TechTV. The merger resulted in a new channel, G4techTV, which officially launched in the US and Canada on May 28, 2004.

-- from Wikipedia