Product Never Mentioned In 8-Minute Commercial

OK, maybe calling an eight-minute video a commercial is a stretch for us TV folks, who think of commercials as 30-seconds in length, maybe a minute, max.

But in the sense that it’s long-form marketing and advertising about a product, it qualifies as a commercial.

A timely and moving story about an immigrant trying to become a successful American entrepreneur is saying a lot about a company that we may never have heard about, or even have need for its products.

The company is Square, but you wouldn’t know that from watching the video about Yassin Terou.

Square is never mentioned, even though Terou used its products, according to the story I found about this video.

I’m guessing Square could have chosen from hundreds of its customers, but by profiling an immigrant from Syria, Square, a mobile payments company, reminds us what America means, to us, to our ancestors and people around the world who simply seek a better chance at life.

“We’re going to keep the American dream going, because this country is for everybody,” says Terou.

Terou fled Syria six years go, and eventually opened up a sandwich store, something classically American.

Yassin’s Falafel House in Knoxville, Tenn, is a small business that’s paying it forward by donating food to the homeless.

That sounds very American to me.

After watching this, I wanted to know more about Square, and its product.

Isn’t that what good branding and advertising does?

Click here to read the full story about the production of this video.

Click here to read more information about this campaign from Square.

I realize, as I’m sure Square did, that tackling the issue of immigration in today’s political environment, is controversial for some.

But TV stations have the power, and perhaps the obligation, to tell both sides of the story.

More than a half million Arab-Americans live in Michigan. WDIV, Graham Media’s NBC affiliate in Detroit, spent a week talking to business owners and college students and hair dressers to hear their stories.

Click here to read the behind the scenes of how this story was made.

WVUE Catches Fishermen Making Millions Without Fishing

Not many local TV news operations would devote more than 11 minutes in a newscast for a special report.

Almost none would devote more than 11 minutes in a newscast for a special report about fishing, let alone do a five-part investigation about it.

That’s gives you some idea of how big a deal fishing is in Louisiana, especially when it comes to red snapper, a prized catch in the waters around the state.

Recreational and commercial fishing is worth billions in Louisiana.

WVUE’s five-part investigation, Hooked Up, uncovers how “snapper barons” are reeling in millions in riches from a public resource.

“It’s an entitlement program,” said a public official.

Lee Zurick

“The government gave it to you; you don’t have to work no more. I mean, you just sit at home and don’t work and the money just keeps coming in.”

Lee Zurik, an anchor and chief investigator at WVUE, the Fox affiliate in New Orleans owned by the Louisiana Media Co., reveals how just 50 businesses and fishermen control 81% of the commercial red snapper allocation.

Those 50 fishermen can make a total of $23 million every year, many without ever touching the water.

FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Read On

WHDH Claims Most Watched In January, Despite Loss Of NBC

According to a new promo airing on WHDH, “more viewers watch 7News [WHDH] than any other local news.”

WHDH is an independent station in Boston owned by Sunbeam Television. It lost its NBC affiliation on Jan. 1.

“No one should have ever counted us out when we lost the NBC affiliation”, said Paul Magnes, WHDH’s general manager.

“We are a powerhouse news station with an outstanding staff. Viewers have come to rely on us for their news coverage, and we’ve been there for them with every big story.”

“In anticipation of becoming an independent station, we increased our news staff and improved our facilities, including a great new set,” said Edmund Ansin, WHDH’s owner.

Brand Connections

KOAA Leads Colorado Springs Social Media


KOAA, the NBC affiliate in Colorado Springs owned by Cordillera Communications, leads the market by a nose — less than 40,000 social media actions as its nearest competitor — in the past six months according to data from audience insight firm Shareablee.

KOAA posted 1.2 million total social actions in that period, accounting for 25% of the total engagement generated by the DMA with more than 4.8 million social actions overall.

KOAA also led the market in actions per post with 181.

KKTV, Gray’s CBS affiliate in Colorado Springs, came in second with 1,163,814 social media actions in the same time period.

KKTV led the market on Twitter with just over 24,000 actions.

The Colorado Springs Independent, a weekly newspaper and the largest locally-owned media company in Colorado Springs, led the market on Instagram with just over 8,500 actions.

Ben Lloyd

Ben Lloyd, KOAA’s newly-minted digital executive producer, attributes the station’s winning Facebook performance to a change in focus and staffing.

“Today, literally everyone’s involved in creating content for Facebook,” he says. “That’s where a lot of our viewers are, plus people who are not our viewers. The challenge for any broadcaster is reaching the audience you want to reach, no matter what the platform.”

And by everyone, he means all of the station’s anchors, reporters, producers and meteorologists, along with dozens of other newsroom staffers, a big jump from just the two or three people on the web team who focused on it previously.

That’s been an adjustment for the newsroom that is communicated and reinforced daily.

Lloyd says weather and traffic are the main content drivers for KOAA on Facebook, and at times, the two are linked together.

Colorado Springs is over a mile above sea level though some areas are significantly lower and higher, like Pikes Peak, which rises above 14,000 feet. So weather conditions can vary significantly over the area, which often has a direct effect on road conditions and traffic.

“It makes a big difference, so we focus on Facebook Live whenever there’s bad weather and traffic,” Lloyd says.

Like many stations, KOAA shares Facebook comments by users as a regular feature in its newscasts.

Lloyd says this happens mostly during the morning news, but it’s in the process of incorporating AccuWeather’s Storyteller system into newscasts, which will let staffers interact more with viewers on-air and online.

Lloyd credits KOAA’s marketing department with actively engaging in social media, especially in primetime when people may be watching television but have their Facebook feed open.

“They’re actually looking for and creating content to put on our Facebook page that pushes back to the website to push people to our broadcast,” he says.

But even with its success on the platform, Lloyd says the station is still navigating its best use and how it can strengthen its broadcasts.

“We’re still trying to figure out not only what the audience wants, but how all this relates to our product on-air.”

WSB Interviews Ex-Wife Of Husband Who Killed Son In Hot Car

Cooper and Ross Harris

You probably remember the case from a couple years ago.

A father who intentionally left his 2-year-old son in a hot car to die.

Investigators say he was engaged in online flirting and had affairs with a prostitute and an under-age teenager and concluded he killed his son to escape his family life.

Ross Harris was convicted of murder and will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Harris’ ex-wife gave an exclusive interview to reporters of WSB and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to talk about her son, her husband and her life today, which hasn’t been easy since Cooper’s death in June 2014.

WSB is the ABC affiliate in Atlanta owned by Cox.

WFAA Promo Is Scary But That’s The Point

After watching a recent WFAA promo, the next time I’m in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, I’m taking the bus, a train or walking.

Because apparently, if I get a ride in a cab, or with Uber or Lyft, there’s no telling who’s really driving the car.

A three-part investigation by WFAA, Tegna’s ABC affiliate, reveals that tens of thousands of drivers operating for Uber, Lyft and even cabs, are unpermitted and unregulated in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex.

Read On

Duane Lammers Helps Stations Get Their Share Of Retrans Dollars

All of the billions of dollars in retransmission consent fees that broadcasters receive, like found money, can be traced back to a single penny held in the hand of Duane Lammers, then COO of Nexstar Broadcasting.

That was the opening sentence in the column I wrote almost exactly a year ago called, The Retrans Man, Duane Lammers, Sets Up Shop.

It’s a fascinating story, how one penny turned into billions of dollars in retransmission consent money for broadcasters.

Duane Lammers

Lammers was the first person to negotiate cash from the cable operators for the rights to carry their broadcast signals in 2005.

Lammers says since he first started negotiating on behalf of broadcasters back then, he’s personally responsible for generating more than $1 billion in retransmission consent dollars.

“There was no playbook back then,” said Lammers.

In 2005, Lammers was COO of Nexstar Broadcasting. He was deputized by Nexstar’s CEO, Perry Sook, to be the tip of the spear against the cable operators for retransmission consent money for Nexstar.

Perry Sook

“Perry [Sook] was the one who had the courage,” said Lammers a year ago, “and backed me 100% and I can’t thank him enough for that. I had a lot of support from Perry and the industry kind of got on the bandwagon and I’m just real proud of what’s become of it.”

What’s become of it is a revenue stream of billions of dollars for broadcasters, like found money.

“It was most definitely a game changer,” said Lammers.

Last year, Lammers started his own company, Max Retrans, to assist broadcast television groups with their retransmission consent needs.

I caught up with Lammers and wanted to know how Max Retrans was doing and learn a little about the process of representing broadcast companies in their fight for cash from cable.

“My client base is kind of settled in,” said Lammers, adding that most of his clients are privately-held or family type broadcasters in large and small markets; some in single markets, and some in multiple markets.

“I’ve got top-30 DMAs and I go all the way down to number 200,” said Lammers.

Lammers said his clients represent 23 million households covering 20% of the country.

That’s a lot of overlap of cable companies, each one having to be negotiated individually.

“I mean if you get one client in a DMA, they can have anywhere from 25 to 40 MVPDs
(multiple video program distributors)  carrying their signal.”

Keeping track of 25-40 negotiations takes organization, and an attention to detail, according to Lammers.

Max Retrans keeps detailed diaries that log every contact with every MVPD to see if the negotiations are meeting the expectations of his clients.

Those expectations are formulated in the introductory stage of a contact with a client.

“They want to know what you think you can get done for them. There’s a lot of thought that goes into projecting what kind of rates that I think I can get for them and so it’s all encompassing.”

The first step is to research and find all of the cable operators that carry his clients’ stations, because “they’re not really obligated to tell you they’re carrying your station,” said Lammers.

“So, a lot of value I bring is I find cable systems that are carrying stations without permission.”

There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into each station’s negotiation for retrains consent dollars: Identify all of the cable operators; send them an election letter to let them know who’s handling the negotiation; and prepare and distribute the contracts that then begins the negotiation process.

“Everybody has benefited from the work that Perry and I started back in 2005. I mean everybody has most certainly gotten to the well now,” said Lammers.

How big a cup broadcast companies can take from the well is, as Lammers said, his job.

“My job, just as the company name says, is to maximize their take.”

Brand Connections

WDIV’s ‘ClickOnDetroit’ Top News Website In Detroit, WDIV’s website, had more than a million unique visitors during December 2016, making it the No. 1 news and information site in Detroit, according to the latest comScore data.

WDIV is Graham Media’s NBC affiliate in the Motor City.

ClickOnDetroit, beat the nearest competition, (, 979,458), (, 806,043, and (, 617,240), according to the station.

In addition, ClickOnDetroit won two top awards, Best Overall Local News Strategy and Best Social Media, at the Local Media Association’s Digital Innovation Awards, a national contest honoring the best local news websites.

“Our digital coverage is just as important as our on-air coverage,” said Marla Drutz, WDIV’s general manager.

Read On

Black & White & Bold: KLRT’s New Promo

KLRT, Mission Broadcasting’s Fox affiliate in Little Rock, Ark., wanted to create a promo for Donna Terell and Kevin Kelly — the longest-running anchor team in town — that had attitude.

After all, this spot was going to run in the Super Bowl, and it had to have the kind of production value that could air alongside ads that may have costs millions to produce.

From left: Cory Spencer, Trey Mallett, Shannon Reed, Andy Day, Danielle Ray, Nichole Thomas,, Adriana Booker and Rocky Farmer

So Danielle Ray, KLRT’s creative services director, had her team watch fashion and perfume ads for inspiration to create a news promo that doesn’t look like a news promo.

Read On

In The Mood For Music? Check The Weather First

It’s a dank winter day outside — cloudy, drizzly and foggy.

The kind of weather that makes you want to listen to a sad song, and now, thanks to AccuWeather and Spotify, there’s a whole playlist of sad songs for you — or the right music for whatever kind of weather you’re experiencing.

Does the weather influence the kind of music you want to hear?

Absolutely, according to a year-long study by AccuWeather and Spotify, which compared more than 85 billion anonymized streams on Spotify in over 900 cities nationwide to analyze the impact weather has on the music people listen to.

The result is Climatune, a new site on Spotify, the music streaming service, providing listeners with local playlists based on weather moods in their city using the most accurate, most comprehensive global weather data from AccuWeather.

“There is a clear connection between what’s in the skies and what’s on users’ play queues,” said Ian Anderson, Spotify’s data researcher.

“Climatune is another innovative, engaging way that AccuWeather personalizes the weather so people can improve their lives,” said Steven Smith, AccuWeather’s digital media president.

So what were some of the conclusions to the study?

Like you might have suspected, on rainy days, people listen to sad music, and on sunny days, happier, more energetic music.

But some of the more surprising results were the variations in weather and listening behavior based on location.

New York City and Philadelphia listeners are the most affected by bad weather with residents of these cities substantially changing their listening when it rains.

Chicagoans are excited by the rain and stream happier music.

Miami and Seattle listeners listen to more energetic music on cloudy days.

San Franciscans, on the other hand, seem saddest on cloudy days.

Houston responds the most strongly to rain, with acoustic listening increasing by 121% when it rains.

Look out the window and then go to Climatune to find just the right music if it’s sunny, windy, snowy, cloudy, rainy or even if it’s a clear night.

By the way, in New Orleans, they like their Louisiana Rain.