Category Archives: News

KARE Wins duPont Award For Investigative Reporting

KARE, Tegna’s Minneapolis NBC affiliate, won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for investigative reporting. It was recognized for investigative reporting in three pieces.

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WJZ Is First In Baltimore’s Social Media Scene

What is WJZ Baltimore doing to lead the market in Facebook engagement?

According to the station’s general manager and news director, it comes down to listening, powerful visuals, quality posts over quantity, and sometimes, stories that bring a smile.

WJZ, a CBS O&O, leads Charm City in social media actions over the last six months according to data from audience insight firm Shareablee.

WJZ has just over 3.2 million actions on social, 31% of the market’s more than 10.2 million actions.

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WWL-TV Leads New Orleans’ Social Media

What drives social media engagement in New Orleans? WWL-TV says weather — and sometimes gumbo, of course.

WWL, Tegna’s CBS affiliate in DMA 51, leads in social media actions there over the last six months according to data from audience insight firm Shareablee.

WWL has just over 3.3 million actions on social, 25% of the total engagement generated in the market, with more than 13.6 million social actions. WWL also was first in actions per post with 259., the website of The Times-Picayune newspaper, which is owned by Advance Publications, led the market on both Instagram and Twitter with 760,000 and 174,000 actions, respectively.

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Again, Local TV Delivers During Crisis

The extraordinary flood coverage local TV stations provided in Texas and Louisiana has not gone unnoticed.

“If anything is seriously amiss in town, you can be sure that the TV stations will be on it and you can trust what they report.”

That’s from our own Harry Jessell, TVNewsCheck’s editor, in the insightful piece he wrote about the “irreplaceable role” local TV plays “when disasters strike as one did in Houston this week.”

So it’s no wonder that, according to a TVNewsCheck article on a recent study by the TVB, that Southern Texas communities overwhelmingly chose local broadcast television as their preferred news source for storm coverage over all other media.

In my 30 plus years of working in local TV news and its marketing, I’ve seen how local TV newsrooms come together during a crisis, whether it’s a wildfire, a tornado, a hurricane, or something man-made, like when crack cocaine turned some quiet residential New Orleans streets into a drive-by shopping mall back in the 1980s.

Mostly, the people who work in local TV news are in it for the right reasons, to serve the public, to inform, to expose injustice, to make a difference.

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WFTV Hidden Cameras Catch ‘Upselling’ Cons

They call it ‘upselling’.

Here’s how it works.

Your wife takes her car to get a quick, low-priced oil change. The low price is just to get you in the door, and your car on the rack.

While her car is on the rack, the mechanic says he found some other repairs that need to be done. He even takes pictures of it.

You take the car to a trusted mechanic and show him the pictures and the list of repairs, and, you guessed it, none of them need to be done.

Todd Ulrich

In Orlando, at WFTV, the Cox-owned ABC affiliate, Todd Ulrich has been the station’s consumer reporter for 25 years.

A couple months ago, Ulrich set up hidden cameras when some air conditioning companies came to do a routine tune-up.

A warning about repair companies that service your air conditioning at home. WFTV Action 9's Todd Ulrich puts three companies to the test in a hidden camera investigation:

Posted by WFTV Channel 9 on Monday, May 22, 2017

Exposing AC repair tricks that turn a $49 tune-up into $1000 hustle. An Action 9 hidden camera investigation that will help you save money and keep your cool ! Story:

Posted by WFTV Action 9 on Monday, May 22, 2017

The man told the homeowner that he found mold in the air conditioning system and to expect big trouble.

“He was really instilling fear that if I didn’t do something I was going to be sick,” said the homeowner.

This investigation really resonated with some viewers.

Patti Starkey: THANK YOU CHANNEL 9 for EXPOSING these THIEVES…that’s all they can be called!! Next…please SHOW ALL THE BIZ NAMES & FACES!!!

Sarge Kerr Keep it up, Todd. We NEED this kind of reporting …..

Click here to see how some image promos for Todd Ulrich are all about authenticity.

WFTV Wins PromaxBDA Gold For Weather Image

The annual PromaxBDA Station Summit was held in Las Vegas last week and the winners of the local awards — gold, silver and bronze — were announced and shown.

All this week, I’ll be posting the award winning spots.

WFTV, Cox’s ABC affiliate in Orlando, Fla., won the Gold award for weather images.

Sean Garcia, WFTV’s creative services director, took advantage of my offer to share his station’s work and to add some commentary.

The campaign focused on the moments when Hurricane Matthew threatened Central Florida and the days after the storm cleared.

Sean Garcia

“We are honored to be recognized for our creative work during Hurricane Matthew, ” said Garcia.

“During the storm, the entire station delivered unmatched coverage and our creative team was right there to capture every moment of it.”

If your station won an award and you’d like to share the spot along with some commentary about the marketing strategy, production, challenges, or any results that it might have achieved, just drop me a line.

Weather Program Image

WFTV Severe Weather, Post Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew Tom Terry FB Live from WFTV/WRDQ Creative on Vimeo.

Hurricane Matthew Voicemail A from WFTV/WRDQ Creative on Vimeo.

Hurricane Matthew “Thank You” from WFTV/WRDQ Creative on Vimeo.

Fox’s Dennis Swanson Honored For Leadership

Dennis Swanson (l) and Fox Television Stations CEO Jack Abernethy

This week, Dennis Swanson, Fox TV’s retired president of station operations, was honored as by the Emma Bowen Foundation as an influential leader, and inducted into the Emma Bowen Foundation Hall of Fame.

The Emma Bowen Foundation was founded in 1989 to diversify the media industry by giving talented students of color the opportunity to intern at some of the nation’s leading media companies.

During its history, it has provided internships for more than 1,000 students of color.

Today, EBF builds on its legacy by continuing to connect promising students of color to internships and advocating for best practices in hiring, retention and advancement in the media and technology industries.

Emma Bowen Foundation graduates

WDRB Wins Social By A Nose In Louisville

WDRB, Block Communications’ Fox affiliate in Louisville, Ky., comes out ahead of the market’s other TV stations in a competitive race in social media actions over the last six months according to data from audience insight firm Shareablee.

WDRB has just over 3 million actions on social, 26% of the market’s almost 12 million actions.

WAVE, the NBC affiliate owned by Raycom, is in second place behind WDRB by about a half million actions, followed closely by the market’s CBS and ABC affiliates, Hearst’s WLKY and Tegna’s WHAS, respectively.

WDRB had the most actions on Twitter with almost 52,000 actions.

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WFTV Gets ‘Authenticity’ In Consumer Promos

Todd Ulrich

When I saw some image promos for WFTV’s Todd Ulrich, it reminded me of an old axiom.

When you want to know how a job is done, talk to the guy who does it.

I have advice for young, upcoming, local TV news writer/producers out there tasked with coming up with ideas for their next promotion.

It’s OK to put your anchor, reporter or meteorologist on camera and just talk to them.

Too often — and I was guilty of this when I was a young writer/producer — young writer/producers tend to want to over-produce their spots.

Why? Because they can, and they’re young, with lots of tools at their fingertips thanks to nonlinear editing, to ratchet up the production.

Just putting a talent on camera and hitting record seems so, well, uncreative.

But sometimes, simple is better.

“It’s all about authenticity,” said Sean Garcia, WFTV’s creative services director when asked about the approach. “We just let Todd tell the story.”

Ulrich has been the consumer reporter at WFTV, the Cox-owned ABC affiliate in Orlando, Fla., for 25 years.

When you have a franchise reporter who’s been on the air that long, chances are viewers know who he is, so use that recognition as an advantage.

“We wanted to know why people call him for help,” said Garcia, “and we knew he could pull it off.”

Garcia says Ulrich typically gets 250 requests a week for help with viewers’ consumer problems, resulting in about 100 on-air stories a year.

Ulrich’s reports typically air in the station’s 5 o’clock newscast.

NOTE: I do have one minor observation about the shooting of Ulrich in these image promos.

In some cases, he looks off-camera as if he’s talking to someone off camera. At other times, he looks directly into the camera.

If you’re interviewing someone, and he’s looking at you,, off camera, as opposed to directly into the camera, it is important to maintain eye contact and really listen to what’s being said.

It helps relax the subject, and when you’re listening intently, you’ll ask better, more insightful questions.

If you the talent looks directly into the camera, sometimes it can come across as scripted,

I definitely didn’t get that feeling watching Ulrich in these promos. He looks natural and authentic when looking into the camera and I would have opted to maintain that perspective in all the spots.

Click here to read a recent story about Ulrich by the Orlando Sentinel.

Washington’s WJLA Top Rated News At 6 P.M.

WJLA, Sinclair’s ABC affiliate in Washington, came out on top at 6 p.m. in the recent May sweep ratings period, according to Stan Melton, WJLA’s creative service director. “But also the top-rated evening newscast in the market. Not bad for an anchor team that has been on the air together since early February!”

The mice type disclaimer at the bottom of this spot reads, Nielsen Program Average, Dates 4/27-5/24, Live+SD, A25-54.