Behind the Scenes: Bigger, Better, Stronger

by - January 08, 2013

When I took on my current position, I had a goal in mind - to take our currently good station and make it a great one. No small feat, right? But I do have a plan.

When you think about those news stations that are well-respected and considered the best, a few things stand out.

First, a dedicated staff that's been in the same place for years.

Second, credibility.

Third, relatability.

My station is mid-market and makes a great place to start a career. Our typical turnover rate is every 2-3 years, much like other stations of our size. Everyone focuses on how they can use the station to make it to the next level. Hardly anyone considers starting and ending their career with us.

That's the first step in my plan -  a change in mentality. My goal is to build up our staff to include more than just a handful of long-timers.

 We're constantly being compared to the top stations in nearby capitals, and what they have that we don't are reporters, producers and anchors who've been around forever.

Obviously we won't completely rule out those stair-steppers, and I wouldn't even try. But instead of constantly reminding everyone of where they could go, I'll try to convince them to stay. Because as good as our station is, we can be even better.

But it takes more than just a veteran news director, long-time assignment editor, dedicated senior producer and two reporters who've lived in the area all their lives.

I want my station to become more of a household name than it is now. I want people to know not just the anchors but the reporters as well.

My plan is simple. Build up our staff and keep the good people we have. Once that goal is accomplished, we'll be more relatable to our viewers and be more credible.

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  1. Effective promotion can help a news team attract viewers and build its brand. To prevent viewer erosion the newscast must be consistent in its quality and the anchors and reporters must exhibit credibility, professionalism and, very importantly, chemistry. I worked at three stations in two markets and had to put up with anchors who actually leaned away from each other on the set. Their body language, facial expressions and the tone of voice they used when addressing each other in front of the camera shouted to the world that they regarded each other as rivals rather than friends. I worked with anchors and reporters that were still on the air many years after they should have retired. They were popular with viewers and drew ratings but they were not the kind of people I would put in front of the camera if I was doing the hiring. An influx of fresh new talent can transform a news operation but the best case scenario, as you pointed out, is a dream team that stays together long term.

    1. I just think it's time for a regime change. For the past 3 years it's been all about how our station can help people move to the next level, all while preaching that we need to improve. How can we improve if we're constantly re-training people?

  2. I don't know anything about the TV industry and how it works behind the scenes, aside from what I read on your blog, but I think you're doing a great job!

    1. haha Thank you, although I'm not sure all the right people would agree with you.