Tom Gelehrter had more than a decade of experience in sports broadcasting when, just over a year ago, he decided to take his career in a different direction.
“I was really ready for a different challenge,” he says. “I was talking to a friend of mine on a drive home from work at 10:30 at night and ended up having an hour and half long conversation.”
Out of that late-night conversation in January 2015 came the concept of 4th Floor Creative
, a company that creates graphic, digital and video products for clients. Although the creatives work for a variety of businesses, they’ve found a special niche for themselves with videos and other products for the world of professional and college sports.
This specialty speaks directly to Gelehrter’s background as a sportscaster at the University of Cincinnati for nine years before starting 4th Floor Creative. He was heavily involved in bringing UC’s sports broadcasting department into the digital age by building the new media department and implementing new broadcasting techniques like live-streaming audio and then streaming video.
“We used to joke, ‘Why aren’t we in my basement doing this?’” Gelehrter says, recounting time spent with his staff creating and editing video and new media products for UC. About a year ago, they finally made that leap.
Gelehrter and longtime collaborators Shane Harrison and Marc Graham have been able to make use of their sports media experience in their new endeavor. 4th Floor Creative is barely a year old, but the company is already building a reputation by creating digital solutions for sports.
Part of the growth could be attributed to a close partnership with folks who are making big waves in local sports news. 4th Floor Creative has become the primary video and media producer for FC Cincinnati
as it gears up and gathers fans.
“We’re able to provide everything they need to launch a new franchise,” says Gelehrter of the partnership.
The company has expanded into other high-profile sports clients, like producing high-quality facility tours for the University of Tennessee, and into non-sports clients such as Kroger and Rising Star Casino.
Luckily, the company isn’t actually producing all of its videos in Gelehrter’s basement but instead has received both mentoring and affordable office space from Norwood-based HCDC
. That partnership is fitting even in unexpected ways — while the company’s name actually comes from the fourth floor of UC’s Richard Lindner Center, where Gelehrter worked for seven years, their office space in HCDC is also on the fourth floor.
“We’ve been very lucky in the first year to have a lot of support,” Gelehrter says. “It’s not something I really imagined happening until about a year ago. It’s different every day, and it’s exciting. I’m not going to say every day is great, but a lot of them are.”