Geek is Chic

Fort Worth entrepreneurs geek out with site for pop-culture nerds

Fort Worth entrepreneurs geek out with site for pop-culture nerds

Cierra Caballero, Alex Thompson, PopNerdTV
Cierra Caballero and Alex Thompson of PopNerdTV. Photo by Jacqui Davis

More than ever before, it’s chic to be geek, and some self-professed nerds in the Fort Worth area are helping set the trend. Johnathan Paul and David Goodman operate PopNerdTV, a YouTube channel and website featuring news and reviews related to video games, movies, television, and comic books. And they have big plans for the future.

Founded in 2015 by Paul and Goodman as part of a “special problems” course at the University of North Texas, PopNerdTV, which is based in Keller, “started out as a website created by a group of grad students at UNT,” says Denton resident Alex Thompson, PopNerd’s chief content coordinator. “Shortly thereafter, we started adding video content, and from there we pushed off on our journey.”

In addition to overseeing content creation for PopNerd, Thompson co-hosts the channel’s “Nerd Portal,” a weekly show where he and fellow UNT graduate Cierra Caballero (who has her own horror-themed PopNerd show called “Jump Scare”) discuss entertainment news and popular culture. Recent episodes tackled such topics as Star Wars Day, Guardians of the GalaxyDeadpool 2, the “Magic the Gathering” collectible card game and Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods.”

Thompson works a day job as a web content coordinator for a digital marketing firm that deals with insurance companies, but he hopes to make a career out of PopNerdTV one day.

Currently, PopNerd raises funds through Patreon, in which subscribers receive extra content (such as exclusive videos), but Thompson hopes to add other forms of revenue in the near future, including advertising and an online merchandise shop.

“I would love in five years to be doing this full time,” he says. “I can see the website and channel blowing up, but it takes time and hard work. Finding advertisers and people who want to invest in us is tough for a company that has only been pushing content for a little over two years. This year we plan on participating in more events and conventions, networking out to new people.”

Working in a crowded field featuring hundreds of similar YouTube channels (including Nerdist, Geek & Sundry, and Cinemassacre, to name just a few of the more popular ones), Thompson believes PopNerdTV has what it takes to separate from the pack and make the leap from small local channel to nationally recognized outfit with hundreds of thousands of subscribers.

“We have a great group of people focusing on quality content, and social media has been a big help for advancing our material to larger audiences,” Thompson says. “Most of us are just big fanboys and girls with a love of expressing ourselves and entertaining others. We don’t want to be like all the other sites who like to use clickbait and spoilers to drive traffic. We have high hopes that PopNerd can eventually be built into something that will not only represent the DFW area but Texas as a whole. We want to get our voices out there.”