Many years ago, in March of 2013, the idea of starting this website was born. It was just another Sunday afternoon when I came upon a large building fire that destroyed a candle warehouse in Dunedin. I began to photograph and record a video of the fire and, later that day posted it on my personal YouTube account. The posting generated media interest along with that of the first responders that worked the incident that day.
The name IONTB, Eye On Tampa Bay, was created, and a logo was designed. Originally it was going to be a small site to document a small number of incidents highlighting the tireless work being done by our first responders in the Tampa Bay Area. Photos free of watermarks have always been supplied free of charge to our local first responders and our public safety agencies in the area. It was hopeful that occasionally, video and/or photos could be sold to media outlets in the area. IONTB continues to grow rapidly now, with over 103,300 Facebook followers. IONTB redesigned its website and moved it to a new hosting company in 2022.
On Facebook alone, IONTB has a monthly reach of over 725,000, with post engagements nearing 2 million per month, and each post averages approximately 40,000 average impressions. IONTB has over 8,100 followers on Twitter and started growing its presence on Instagram to nearly 6,000. We also have approximately 2,150 subscribers on YouTube.
In the past year, IONTB.com has had over 6.5 million page views.
This site is not a huge operation but rather run by a staff of one with occasional help from a few other bloggers in the area. It is not unusual to receive large amounts of messages daily, and all possible attempts are made to respond in a timely manner. IONTB is currently in the process of bringing on freelance writers to contribute to the website.
It is the contributions of the followers that have allowed the endeavor to flourish. The delivery of news needs to morph into more consumer-driven content, not content that people are forced to endure when they wait for the 45-second segment somewhere during 6 PM broadcast.
This endeavor has proven that most people do not want to wait 3 hours to go home and tune in at 5 or 6 PM to watch the news. Our lives have changed, and social media has antiquated the current news delivery method.
Please consider helping to sustain IONTB by donating below or at Paypal.