Matt Granite Matt Granite
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It’s almost time for Matt Granite’s live segment on WKYC’s morning show. 

He runs into the studio, jumps over cables and dodges the aim of cameras filming co-anchors Maureen Kyle and John Anderson. He takes his place between them during the commercial break and then launches into Matt’s Daily Deals on cue. 

Granite jumps up and down shaking a pair of stainless steel tumblers like a set of maracas. 

“In all of our tests, these tumblers kept beverages hot or cold five times longer than anything else on the market,” says the 33-year-old, his voice rising and falling in both pitch and pace. 

He claps, points and gestures wildly to make his point: Today’s deal is a steal — these tumblers outperform all competitors and are about half off.

It’s hard to put a price on Granite and his eagerness to save money. As the Deal Guy, finding bargains started long before the Canadian began appearing on WKYC and filming content for more than 40 affiliate stations. He never pays for shipping, frequently clips coupons and hasn’t paid for cable in more than a decade. 

But even if you don’t watch or listen to local news, chances are you’ll be seeing Granite soon. In the last few years, his reach has expanded to YouTube, where his channel has nearly a half-million subscribers. And since February, he has co-hosted an Amazon Live show reviewing products on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Still, what you’re seeing on air is just the icing. Granite spends a whole lot more time baking the cake. “People don’t know I put six months of research in for each product,” he says.

Using an algorithm he developed 10 years ago, Granite finds the lowest prices and keeps track of sales patterns. He knows the locations of warehouses across the country, frequently calling them to check on inventory, guaranteeing there’s enough stock of each product so it won’t sell out after his first segment airs at 4:55 a.m. He also makes sure the company’s website won’t crash from the increased traffic.

“What I do is months of testing, checking consumer customer responses, looking at the infrastructure of a website,” says Granite.

That level of commitment — Granite wakes up at 3 a.m. and works 18-hour days — and knowledge is hard to replicate. By being authentic, quirky and most of all trustworthy, he’s earned hard-won buy-in from viewers.

“Other stations have tried to do what he does,” says WKYC’s morning executive producer Jennifer Jordan. “But they can’t figure out how to keep product in stock.”

It’s why the camera operator raves about the money she’s saving thanks to Granite, who suggested she try Amazon Prime Pantry, or why Kyle stops by to ask which MacBook she should buy next (the Pro, Granite recommends). 

“A lot of people think I’m doing this to sell,” he says. “I’m in this to save. I live and breathe my deals. I try to operate on the side of the consumer — [not] bring that next sucker into the store.”

It started with a pager. 

Like many other teenagers in the ’90s, Granite wanted the popular wireless telecommunications device. So at 13, he saved up to buy one.

“Within three months, I was getting bills from the company for triple what they said it would be,” he says. “I was livid. I was furious. I was a teenager who had a pager and no ability to pay the monthly fee.”

After a series of frustrating phone calls, he finally got through to a manager who not only apologized but gave him another six months free. It sparked something inside of him. 

He had seen others in his life struggle financially, especially his grandmother who had raised four kids on her own. So saving became a way of life. 

“I paid a lot of attention,” he says. When the TV was on, he’d ignore the show, but zero in on the commercials. He reviewed all his parents’ various accounts and found ways to spend less. “I basically retrained the customer service agents on why my parents should be on different plans,” he says.

Even when he started dating his wife Jacqui in high school, he convinced her parents to switch to a cheaper internet provider.

While Granite’s success is built on his deals, it’s his delivery that makes him so much fun to watch. Catch Granite on air and the thing you’ll notice first is his enthusiasm, which he actually tones down a bit for TV.

That, too, is just a part of Granite’s makeup.

As a teen, he was known for being wildly funny and likeable, zipping around town in his Heelys sneakers. His high school drama teacher was so convinced of his talent that he wrote a new character into Grease for him — a teacher in love with a school principal. “I was completely over the top,” Granite recalls.

A skilled pianist, Granite caught the attention of the Juilliard School, but chose journalism instead. He was on a mission. “Advocacy is why I wanted to go into journalism,” he says.

Granite graduated from the University of Toronto and then earned his master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2007. As part of his graduate studies, he did a short stint working as a White House correspondent for WCAX in Burlington, Vermont — a role he never liked. 

“I’m Canadian,” he says. “I didn’t know the difference between the House and the Senate.”

Although he struggled as a politics reporter, a job as a producer and reporter at WGRZ in Buffalo in 2009 started to bring Granite’s Deal Guy persona into focus. 

After every show, Granite would walk to Starbucks with morning show executive producer Collin Bishop. Bishop was amazed at how Granite always had coupons for free drinks. 

“If that’s already what you do,” Bishop told Granite, “let’s take that knowledge and share it with the public.”

For Granite’s first two-minute segment, which aired March 16, 2009, he talked about how to save money on airfare. He presented it with all the news anchor gravitas he could muster. But it lacked his spark, his personality.

“We told him, ‘You have to be yourself. We know you. We work with you. You’re fun,’ ” Bishop says. “We had to coach that out of him. Once we did, he took off.”

By 2011, Granite joined WKYC, where he continued to build on his ways-to-save momentum. WKYC meteorologist Hollie Strano recalls seeing him do his first segment. “Infectious, just energy personified,” she says. “It’s who he is, so that’s why it works. People love that.”

Since then, Granite’s animated consumer reports have paid off. People tune in for his advice on everything from mattresses and knives to backpacks or tech. He can’t stand seeing people pay twice as much for North Face fleece jackets in the fall (buy in late November!). He blew the cover on a Black Friday TV that was selling for a couple hundred bucks, but was a piece of junk.

But all that savings-sleuthing comes at a price. For years, he lived in Cleveland apart from Jacqui, an emergency room physician. In February 2017, Granite received permission from WKYC to set up a full studio in the basement of his Toronto home and make that his base. But he still commutes to Cleveland several times a month, as well as to New York City twice a week to shoot his new show for Amazon.

“He’s always been very good at multitasking and always been someone who likes to be very busy,” Jacqui says. “Nothing seems to phase him.”

That may be put to the ultimate test later this month, when the couple is due to welcome their first child. “Right up until my daughter is born, I’m going to do everything,” Granite says. “If Amazon wants to extend my schedule, I say ‘yes.’ As long as I can actually fit it onto a calendar, I say ‘yes.’ ”

Then, he plans to push pause and recalculate the cost-savings of his work-life balance. “I’m going to see what makes me the happiest, where the outreach is, where I’m having the most impact,” he says. “I can tell you I’m going to be the most available dad to this future daughter, and that will be my priority.”

It’s the third hour of Granite’s Amazon Live broadcast in New York City. Although he’s been up since 3 a.m., he’s bright-eyed and eager for this next segment on baby gear.

Granite puts a baby carrier on his arm, strolls through the studio and asks, “Do I look natural?”

After a product shot of a baby in a crib flashes on the screen, he comments that his baby will be at least that cute. “I assume she might even be a little more cute,” he tells his co-host. 

He even jokes that he plans on naming his baby Alexa — after the Amazon virtual assistant.

As much as Granite loves Amazon (he can’t wait to start a diaper subscription), he also feels strongly about supporting local businesses. Granite and his wife decided to buy a crib at a store in their neighborhood.

But once they started looking, Granite figured out that the store was actually buying products on Amazon and marking them up. “I was astounded,” he says.  

He bought a crib from the shop anyway. But it gave him an idea. He wants to reach out to small businesses and teach them how to up their game — not just mark stuff up — by developing better digital storefronts and learning how to interact more effectively with modern shoppers.

It’s just one of the ways he continually taps into the sense of activism that drove him to choose journalism over Juilliard. He also meets with seniors at local libraries in Cleveland and coaches them on how to use the
internet. 

“I feel better at the end of the day,” he says.

That matters a lot to Granite. Every day, he gets a half a dozen or so emails offering him money for a brand endorsement. “Someone who has the social media following I do could make serious money,” he says, “if I decided that working passionately is not paying the bills.”

The end goal, says Granite, isn’t for him to become a bigger celebrity. Rather, it’s for the average person to become a better consumer. He envisions creating an online resource — he calls it a “repository of information” — where anyone can go to get educated about any potential purchase. 

“I just want to be a fixture for any American household before they make a purchase,” he says. “It’s about making it easier for an individual to enjoy life more.”

But there is no deal that can get him the one thing he really needs — more time.

“The question isn’t how many hours a day I work,” he says. “The better question is how many hours in a day am I not working?”  

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