RJ Media Exclusive: ABC Executive Producer Michael Koenigs ‘05


One of the biggest challenges of creating modern media is maintaining an audience. With massive amounts of content being created each day it’s important to keep your viewers engaged. Nobody knows this better than ABC executive producer and Regis Jesuit High School alumni Michael Koenigs.

Only 15 years after graduating from high school, Koenigs has worked his way up the ladder from behind the scenes to on camera. He got his big break early in 2016 with his internet show titled “Election Cycle.” The idea was simple, ride a bike around the country and talk to ordinary voters to hear the opinions of everyday people. It quickly became a hit on YouTube, racking up hundreds of thousands of views and becoming an outlet for what the average voter thinks.

Stories featuring the common person really stuck with Koenigs and in 2018 he launched a web series called “More in Common” on the channel “Localish.” Koenigs likes to use ordinary people to highlight serious topics, and used this approach in one of his favorite “More in Common” segments: the story of an unlikely friendship between a former neo-nazi and the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The ability to create pieces where the viewer finds the concept so intriguing they can’t stop watching is a key part of Koenigs’ success. He tries to open his pieces with a “wow factor” within the first five seconds to ensure that his audience will be intrigued enough to keep watching. One of his most viewed videos came after 2017’s mass-shooting in Las Vegas. Koenigs was tasked with interviewing someone relevant to the national discussion around guns, and he found Mel Bernstein aka “the most armed man in America.”
He began the segment with a shot of Bernstein holding a gun in each hand and standing in front of an assortment of tanks and armored vehicles, really grabbing the viewer’s attention. Koenigs then shifts the tone of the video to focus on how easy it is to buy a gun in the United States, a powerful message following the concert shooting.

Koenigs keeps his focus on what viewers would like to see, and creating a great connection with people is where that happens. His newest venture is developing more than a dozen shows for ABC’s digital streaming platforms.

Journalism has always been a big part of Koenigs’ life, even back to his days at Regis Jesuit when he worked on the school’s newspaper. That jump start, plus a lot of hard work, helped make him a media success, amassing a sizeable following of people who enjoy his style. With such a track record over a short amount of time, we can expect to continue to see more powerful content from this RJ alum.