Catching Up on What’s Going on in the TV News World

It’s a amazing but if you don’t read your email on a regular basis how much you can get left behind.  I’m now playing catch-up.

First, congrats are in order to both WMC and WREG.  It appears what one didn’t win in November, the other did.  Since this is old news to most, I won’t bother posting the numbers.   And WMC is preparing to take the wraps off the new and improved Andy Wise.  I can only assume that AW is tanned, rested and ready to take on those folks who trample on the lowly consumer.  I would expect a big unveiling and promotional push as of January 1st and even get that bumped up a notch as we swing into the February book.

Anyone who doesn’t doubt that these are tough times for everyone including TV news operations isn’t paying attention.   If there was ever a time when some folks are probably giving serious consideration to how to squeeze the most from every penny, it is now.  I’m told that hiring freezes are the norm everywhere and it seems that not a day goes by that some long-time anchor is announcing his or her retirement.   I’ve been told that at WTVF in Nashville that some long time employees are being offered buy-outs.  I haven’t had that indepedently confirmed but that’s supposedly going on and that is the Numero Uno station in the Music City.  They do have some long-time talent in that operation and perhaps that’s what helped them get to the number one spot but these days it’s also very much about the bottom line.   Also, I’ve heard that Young Broadcasting which owns the ABC affiliate there (WKRN) may file for bankruptcy after the first of the year.  I think some TV group with deep pockets might snap that station up if it goes on the block as part of a fire sale.  I would say if you have a job in TV news you had better make yourself indispensable (and it better not be just in your mind).  I would say that stations would REALLY be interested in hiring someone right out of college at half the salary and a fraction of the benefits.  I would imagine those who have skated along could find themselves in the unemployment line.

Speaking of getting employment, I received a note about the former news director at WREG Michele Gors is now the president and CEO of KPTS in the Wichita area.  As some of you may remember MG left Memphis to become the ND at a station in Wichita and left that post earlier this year.  Also, there are some Asst. News director spots in Memphis.  AT WHBQ Fox 13 Matt Malyn is headed to KTVX to be the AND and WREG’s Tom Moo is calling it quits later this month. Don’t know if those posts will be filled internally or if they are looking for some outside talent.  I’m told that at least one person DOTR is lobbying pretty hard to get that post.  From what I’m told some will not be too happy if that person gets it.

The murder of that anchor in Little Rock should make those who work in the business want to take a few more precautions concerning their safety.  It came out recently that the female anchor had been sexually assaulted in addition to being beaten.  I think the perp on this one can say goodbye to freedom.

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3 Comments on “Catching Up on What’s Going on in the TV News World”

  1. Doug Johnson Says:

    I bumped into one of the fine folks from NC3 on my way home, and he mentioned that the station is more like a fortress now than anything else. Lots of keyed entry into different areas of the building. When I started there in ’90 all the doors were wide open. Kinda like the parking lot at WMC. Used to be wide open, now it’s ringed with chain link. Nothing’s safe anymore.

  2. someguy Says:

    The February book has been pushed back to March due to the DTV change. It will be interesting to see just how much NCAA action helps CBS affiliates across the land.

  3. The GM Says:

    It is as ugly as I have ever seen it — down right scary. TV gets 20% of its ad revenue from auto advertising. The Big Three are on the Hill with their hand out and as of yet, it is still out there, empty. What does that mean? Lower ad revenue. Not just auto but the housing bust takes its toll on furniture and everything else that a homeowner might buy.

    Many, many media companies are over leveraged. When they took on that debt, the lenders put convenants into the agreement that said the debt to revenue ratio couldn’t exceed a certain amount. Well no on anticipated a drop in revenue like we are seeing across the board. Those ratios are not being met, which means default.

    Not only will you see hiring freezes and layoffs, I predict within two years you will see many markets with only the top two stations producing a newscast — this will be particularly true in markets 50+. There is just not enough of a news pie to justify threee or four stations producing news. Losing money is not an option.

    So, there’s my Christmas Cheer for the day. Feel better?

    Focus on being efficient and effective in your job because your company is doing the same.

    The GM

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