Category Archives: ABC

How Stations Use News Topicals On Facebook

This is the final part of our five-part series, Building Viewership with News Topicals. Read Part 4 here.

Across the country, millions of people watch the entertainment programming TV stations provide during the day and at night. So it makes sense for stations to promote their newscasts topically within all that programming in the hopes viewers will stay and watch the next newscast.

For years, this was the only means stations had to recruit news viewers with the news of the day, unless stations bought time on other media, like radio, print or cable.

Then came Facebook.

Facebook provides stations with another — and much more mobile — screen to reach potential news viewers.

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Creativity, Flexibility Drive Best News Topicals

This is Part 4 of our five-part series, Building Viewership with News Topicals. Read Part 3 here.

News topicals can take many forms.

Some creative services directors and topical writer/producers say recording the main news anchor sitting behind the anchor desk works best for their station.

Others see value in shooting their news anchor in the newsroom, cinéma vérité style.
And other stations try to feature real people and sound bites, along with reporter teases from the field.

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Finding And Keeping News Topical Writer/Producers

This is Part 3 of our five-part series Building Viewership with News Topicals. Read Part 2 here.

Creative services directors are finding it harder and harder to find good news topical writer/producers.

Some grow their own, plucking them right out of college, perhaps as interns, and train them. Others look internally, finding someone already at the station who wants to be creative.

With bigger salaries to offer, CSDs in bigger markets have the ability to recruit from smaller markets, but that presents challenges, too.

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What It Takes To Create Quality News Topicals

This is Part 2 of a five-part series, Building Viewership with News Topicals. Read Part 1 here.


Being a news topical writer/producer is one of the toughest jobs in local TV news marketing.

And to do that job well, the experts say, you need to have a passion for journalism, a thorough knowledge of what news is covering in the newscast, the ability to recognize what stories will resonate with viewers, and the confidence to promote those stories even if they’re not the news department’s top stories.

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WXYZ Promo Makes Free Holiday Gift List

This clever and well-executed promo for WXYZ’s new app is sure to get many downloads. Phil Wrobel, creative services director at the Scripps-owned Detroit ABC affiliate, sent me this note along with the spot.

“I thought this would be a fun promo to share with you. Our goal was to reinforce that our viewers and users can connect with us and get our content on any platform. With the holidays right around the corner, we thought it was a perfect opportunity promote our brand on all the OTT platforms since many of these devices will probably be on a lot of people’s list this year.”

“We had a little fun with the copy and the timing of the spot was perfect for the shopping season. I hope you enjoy!”

Building Viewership With News Topicals, Part 1

Tonight at 11, there’s a big change in the weather forecast.

That’s one of the better 4-second news topicals you can write.

Granted, not one you can use every night, only when conditions warrant, yet weather is the main reason people watch local news, and a ‘change’ in the forecast creates a thirst for news.

News topicals, those ubiquitous promos embedded in programming enticing viewers to watch the next newscast, have been a staple of local TV news since forever.

Effective topical news promotion can lead to sampling, and during sweeps, possibly into ratings.

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WTAE Says Bundle Up All Day Pittsburgh

Starting this morning at 5, Hearst ABC affiliate WTAE Pittsburgh will be pleading with area residents to bundle up, even though temps are expected to hit 50 degrees.

It’s time for the 32nd annual WTAE Project Bundle-Up Telethon benefiting area children and senior citizens.

Volunteers will take viewer pledges from a phone bank throughout the day that will be broadcast during segments of newscasts and in breaks throughout regularly scheduled programming.

The day-long telethon will continue with an hour-long special from 7 to 8 p.m., preempting regular programming, and wrap up during WTAE’s 11 p.m. newscast.

“It’s more than a coat; your generosity brings smiles and the comfort of knowing someone cares,” said Charles W. Wolfertz III, WTAE’s general manager.

“Our longstanding partnership with WTAE Channel 4 has raised over $14 million and helped more than 275,000 kids and senior citizens stay warm,” said Major Deborah Sedlar, Salvation Army divisional commander, Western Pennsylvania Division.

“WTAE-TV project Bundle-Up serves as reminder of the good that happens in our community, when we come together for a good cause.”

WKBW’s Anchor Promos Totally Believable

Jeff Russo

I’ve never met WKBW news anchor Jeff Russo.

But after watching a couple new promos featuring him, I believe every word he says.

He comes across as the kind of guy who would make a great next-door neighbor, and I guess, as a news anchor at WKBW, the Scripps-owned ABC affiliate in Buffalo, N.Y., that’s kind of what he is to WKBW viewers.

Russo was the sports director at WKBW but changed over to news about three years ago, according to Sue Dobmeier, WKBW’s creative services director.

“We wanted to present him as a family man and involved in the community, show him in a softer light rather than just a news anchor. He has been at the station for 14 years.”

I like the woman announcer at the top, she sets the mood right off the bat.

I think these kind of spots really resonate with viewers.

Hey Jeff, I think there’s a house for sale right next to mine!

WCVB Airing Boston’s Tree-Lighting Concert

WCVB’s annual live broadcast of Boston’s official tree-lighting concert is airing tonight starting at 7. In addition to it airing on TV, the event will be live streamed on WCVB.com.

WCVB is Hearst’s ABC affiliate.

The tree-lighting will take place immediately after a live concert with performances by Grammy Award Winning R&B Group, All-4-One, the Boston Pops Gospel Choir, and several other top named acts.

There’s an interesting back story to the tree that will be lit in Boston Common and the Public Garden.

The 53-foot white spruce tree is a gift to Boston from Nova Scotia as a thank you for sending emergency aid to the province after the explosion in Halifax Harbor 100 years ago on Dec. 6, 1917.

Within 24 hours of the disaster a train loaded with supplies and emergency personnel was making its way from Boston to Nova Scotia.

The broadcast is made possible by a partnership with WCVB, Boston Parks and Recreation, The Province of Nova Scotia and Magic 106.7 FM.

 

New WCVB Promos Are Authentic, Thus Effective

Harvey Leonard, Ed Harding, Maria Stephanos and Mike Lynch.

When you want to know what someone’s really like, ask the people they work with.

Your co-workers probably know you better than your wife and kids. Because, after all, you probably spend more time at work than at home.

That’s the creative behind these new image spots for the main anchor team from WCVB, Hearst’s ABC affiliate in Boston.

And they work. No hollow claims, no research-driven buzz words, only the observations of co-workers in their own words makes these spots, and the people in them, believable, real, and genuine.

Russ Nelligan

Russ Nelligan, WCVB’s creative services director, says when anchors have been on the job long enough, it’s easy to assume everyone knows who they are.

“WCVB is blessed with people who have been reporting in Boston many years. We decided to take a step back and ‘introduce’ our anchor team to the viewers. We thought that having their co-workers drive the narrative was effective, in part because they really appreciate each other’s strengths.”

I was able to talk to Nelligan on the phone at length about these spots and I was struck by how well he knew the members of his main anchor team, anchors Maria Stephanos and Ed Harding, Chief Meteorologist Harvey Leonard, and Mike Lynch, WCVB’s spots director and anchor.

There’s an old adage about sales — a good salesman know his product, and you can tell that Nelligan knows his front-line people well. The only way that happens is to be around them in the newsroom.

“They are smart people and they are very genuine,” says Nelligan.

“You don’t have to be around Maria too long before you realize what an exceptional human being she is. She is the kind of person who you meet and all she does is ask about you. As a result, she just has this way of drawing people out.”

When talking about co-anchor Ed Harding, Nelligan says he’s been in the market a long time and is hard working. “Ed is just like this Energizer Bunny.”

Chief Meteorologist Harvey Leonard has been forecasting the weather in Boston and New England for 40 years. Nelligan says Leonard still gets excited when it’s about to snow.

“He is just really into it, but is so worried that people are depending on my forecast and I have got to get it right. The other meteorologists in town have just the utmost respect.”

According to Nelligan, Mike Lynch is an institution in Boston when it comes to covering the major pro sports teams, but “has carved out a niche covering high school sports for more than 30 years.”