The story of the man behind ‘The Story Trek’

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Todd Hansen is living the dream: eating Ramen noodles while sitting in front of a computer, editing his network television show.

Hansen has been covering stories for decades as a news anchor, on-site reporter and recently as the host of a show called “The Story Trek,” where he knocks on random, unsuspecting people’s front doors and asks inhabitants if they want to be on TV.

“I started a hundred years ago at BYU,” Hansen said sarcastically. “I wanted to be a sports reporter — go to games, meet coaches and players — but fate steps in like it always does.”

Hansen took an internship with then-BYU instructor Bob Walz. Hansen credits his love for news to Walz.

“I just loved the idea of doing something different every single day,” Hansen said. “I realized soon with sports I was going to be doing the same thing. They were different games, sure, but it was the same thing. As a reporter I wasn’t even allowed to cheer. It was rough.”

After graduating, Hansen took a job as a news anchor at a small tri-city station.

“I hated it,” Hansen said.

He eventually got fed up with on-camera news reporting, settled down with a marketing job and never expected to be on camera again.

“‘The Story Trek’ actually started with something I did at FOX13,” Hansen said. “It was called ‘Trippin With Todd.’ I went around, knocked on random doors and got people’s stories. If I could have done that everyday at FOX13, I probably would have stayed forever.”

When BYUtv was looking for new programming, Hansen stepped up with the hope that he could start ‘Trippin With Todd’ everyday.

“Be careful what you wish for,” Hansen said. “You just might get it.”

Jon Andrus has been working with Hansen since the beginning of “The Story Trek” series. He believes strongly in the concept of the program and its host.

“I call him the Dr. Phil of hosts,” Andrus said. “When we go into any room, any interview, within five minutes they’re opening up about the craziest personal things. He’ll have them crying, and by the end of it, we are all best friends.”

The whole production crew agrees putting on a show that leaves so much to chance has its difficulties.

“None of us had ever made a network TV show before,” Andrus said. “It was definitely a learning curve.”

Despite the difficulties, Hansen and his crew are now finishing production on their second season.

“I’m constantly reminded that everyone is having trials they’re dealing with but somehow they’re able to overcome them,” Andrus said.

Joe Belliston works with “The Story Trek” as a sound engineer. Among the many shows he works on and the producers he works with, he said Hansen sticks out from the crowd.

“Todd comes in, and I get the whole stories behind the stories that make it on the show,” Belliston said. “‘The Story Trek’ is reality, it’s a fun show, but the good thing about Todd as a producer is that he gives me and my team liberty to do what we want.”

A personable touch is Hansen’s specialty, and it extends to whom he recruits for his production crew.

Eric Gaylord joined Hansen at the start of the second season of “The Story Trek.” Hansen worked with him at FOX13 and persuaded Gaylord to quit in order to be a part of his own crew.

“We follow him into the storm every time,” Gaylord said. “We know he’s going to take care of us. When I left FOX13, I wanted to make sure this was a positive change. We looked at it as a great opportunity, a sign that this is what we were supposed to do.”

Gaylord is also surprised at Hansen’s ability to connect with people.

“I try to think what I would do if these people showed up at my door,” Gaylord said. “I wouldn’t let them in. There’s something about Todd that just makes people feel at ease.”

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