Category Archives: people

WLS Celebrates 50 Years Of Frank Mathie Features

Imagine turning in a feature story every day for 50 years. By my math, that’s 12,500 stories. That’s a lifetime for Frank Mathie.

And remember, feature stories don’t just land on your desk like breaking news.

The assignment editor doesn’t assign them. You don’t hear about them on the police scanner.

That must have been nerve wracking for Mathie at times.

“Sometimes it was easy, sometimes it was very difficult.”

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WTAE’s Bakeries Special Delivers Sweet Ratings

Local programming is alive and well, and, some might say, sweet, in Pittsburgh.

Hearst ABC affiliate WTAE’s primetime special, Chronicle: Bakeries of the ‘Burgh, was the highest rated program in the market last Wednesday with women 25-54.

Chronicle: Bakeries of the ‘Burgh, scored a 5.6 w25-54 rating, which made it the highest-rated program in the demo among all programming, broadcast and cable, for the entire day of Dec. 21.

Rochester’s WHEC No. 1 In Morning News

Being the new news director at a TV station is not unlike being named a new coach on a football or baseball team.

You inherit the team as is; some of its members have been there a long time and seen other coaches come and go. Some of the team may be less experienced and are hungry for leadership.

You don’t play on the field, but you’re expected to improve the results right away.

Casey Clark

Casey Clark was named the news director at Hubbard’s NBC affil WHEC Rochester, N.Y., in August. In the just-completed November ratings period, WHEC’s 5-7 a.m. morning news block was No. 1 in adults 25-54 in both rating and share, moving up from third place in November 2015.

When viewership grows for a local news program, explaining why or how it grew remains elusive. Is it a measurement anomaly? A change in talent, news coverage content, attitude or promotion?

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Steve Kamer, Announcing Is His Calling

Steve Kamer in home studio

Steve Kamer in home studio

Not many kids in elementary school know what they want to do for the rest of their lives.

But Steve Kamer did.

“From the time I was in elementary school, I wanted to be on the radio. I loved radio, all I wanted to do was be a disc jockey.”

Unfortunately, dreams of working in front of a microphone don’t come true unless you are born with the right equipment.

You can’t be a voice on the radio if you don’t have the voice, the pipes, the sound, the physical tools to make the right vibrations, and the gift of gab.

“At my bar mitzvah, when I gave my speech, I got compliments from the congregants,” said Kamer.
“I was 13, and I had the voice. I thought there was something there. Now, I had the desire and I had the instrument.”

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At WTAE In Pittsburgh, It’s ‘Bundle-Up’ All Day

pittsburgh-dawn-jennifer-groverTomorrow morning at 5 o’clock, it will still be dark and a seasonal 34 degrees in Pittsburgh. Chilly, but not bad for December in Western Pennsylvania.

pbu-logoBut the temperature is just right for the all-day project at WTAE, now in its 31st year, The Bundle-Up Telethon. Over that course of time, it’s estimated that 270,000 needy children and senior citizens have received winter outerwear thanks to this effort.

“Year after year, our viewers answer the call to help their neighbors stay warm,” said Charles W. Wolfertz III, WTAE’s general manager.

“WTAE is proud to serve our local communities through this partnership with The Salvation Army Western Pennsylvania Division.”

WTAE is Pittsburgh’s ABC affiliate owned by Hearst.

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KDFW Dallas: A Facebook Selfie

facebook-vs-tvFive years ago, the job didn’t exist at most TV stations. Today, it’s one of their key positions.

Social media, especially Facebook, has become a fundamental platform for stations.

It has allowed viewers to participate in the electronic news gathering process.

It provides a real-time connection to viewers, giving them a voice in how their news is covered.

It has removed the curtain that existed between the anchors, reporters, producers, even the photographers, in the newsroom and the viewers, between the editorial process and the finished product.

Who are these people who handle the daily postings on social media?

What are their backgrounds? How is their success measured?

Recently, we profiled the Facebook practices of KARK, Nexstar’s NBC affiliate in Little Rock. Today, we head a little further south to Dallas and Fox O&O KDFW.

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10,000 Pounds Of Food Drives Up To WGN

image004Tribune’s WGN Chicago held its third annual WGN Morning News Drive-Thru Food Drive, with donated food going to the Greater Chicago Food Depository (and a portion going to Northern Illinois Food Bank), according to the station.

Over 10,000 pounds of food was donated, more than tripling last year’s total.

In addition, viewers donated more than $5,000 in cash and checks to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

The five-hour event took place at the WGN studios as viewers were invited to stop by to donate canned goods and other packaged foods.

Jacksonville’s WTLV-WJXX Needs A Marketing Director

jaxpanoacostanarrowFor snowbirds, those residents of the Northeast driving down America’s East Coast on I-95 to escape winter’s wrath, hitting Jacksonville, signals arrival.

cities-near-jacksonville-fl-2You’re in Florida, it’s sunny and warm, the beaches are broad, and the buildings are new, the Atlantic Ocean a bright blue.

For many, they go no further, and I understand why.

jacksonville-florida-skylineIt’s a big city on the beach. By population, it’s behind Miami, Tampa and Orlando, but it’s the largest city by area in the U.S., and did I mention there’s no state income tax in Florida?

If you’ve got the right background, and the right skills to lead a local news organization into the future, this could be your new home.

WTLV-WJXX, the Tegna-owned duopoly in Jacksonville has an opening for director of marketing. Given the location, the company and the opportunity, this opening won’t last long.

If you can picture yourself relaxing on the beach after a hard week of thinking big and taking risks, see the requirements and how to apply for this opening by going to the classified ad on TVNewsCheck, by clicking here.

And once you get settled in, I might just stop by some cold winter week.

WFMY Promo Gave Me Goosebumps

sandra-digital-bb-920x260I got a note from Bob Kim, marketing director at Tegna’s WFMY Greensboro, N.C., about a new campaign the CBS affiliate launched called Homecoming, and I took a quick look at the 30-second spot he attached.

It gave me goosebumps.

Bob Kim

Bob Kim

Kim was announced as the marketing director for WFMY in August and was the subject of a column I wrote about him a month later called First-Time Broadcaster Leads WFMY’s Marketing.

Homecoming is a multimedia campaign that welcomes back Sandra Hughes to the anchor desk at WFMY after she had retired in 2010 to be an adjunct professor of Journalism at North Carolina A&T University.

“It isn’t often,” wrote Kim, “that a news station has the opportunity to welcome back a living legend — a person who is synonymous with our station’s heritage and is loved by our community. Sandra Hughes is that person.”

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KTRK’s Dave Ward: A World Record Anchor

Dave Ward

Dave Ward

In any business, it’s exceedingly rare for an employee to work at the same place for 50 years. In the world of local television news anchors, it’s almost unheard of.

In fact, it’s happened only once, just this week, and it’s a world record.

Dave Ward, news anchor at KTRK, ABC’s Houston O&O, holds the world record as the longest-running local TV news anchor in the world at the same station, in the same market, according to the folks at Guinness World Records.

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