Voter turnout in 2014 in key state elections in Michigan was less than 50% in many counties around Detroit.
“As a region, we can do better and should do better,” said Marla Drutz, general manager of WDIV, Graham Media’s NBC affiliate in Detroit.
To that end, WDIV/ClickOn Detroit launched Your Soapbox, a citizen engagement project, part of the station’s Decision 2018 coverage leading up to the midterm elections.
Through conversations with the people of metro Detroit, Your Soapbox will identify local issues of priority for voters and work to inform and engage diverse viewpoints.
Through the Your Soapbox roadshow, WDIV/ClickOnDetroit will travel across the region to connect with voters and citizens of all ages to encourage voter participation and hear what is important to their lives.
WISH, the CW affiliate in Indianapolis owned by Nexstar, just completed a major overhaul of its studios. I got a note from Scott Hainey, WISH’s creative services director, detailing the process along with some pictures of the finished product.
WISH does nearly 70 hours of local news and programming in the market. Almost half of its broadcast day, 11.5 hours, is produced in its studios. So Hainey says the station needed a set “which could provide the versatility and space to support our current news production, as well as future growth opportunities.
“In designing the new studio space, we utilized technology to create that functionality and flexibility,” says Hainey.
“From color-changing walls, and monitor arrays, to the nearly 100 LED micro-tiles used in our desks and background scenery; the entire set can change with the push of a button. Rehearsal feedback, from talent and production, has been very positive. We hosted a set preview party a couple weeks ago with partners, clients and community leaders. Of course, it was nice to hear all the ‘oohs and aahs,’ and comments that ‘it looks like a network set,’ but the best compliment, by far, was ‘this set looks like you’.”
“When someone basically says, your set is an extension of your brand as the local news source, you know you’ve accomplish your goal.”
Hainey says when WISH became a Nexstar station last year, the station told Nexstar corporate that they needed a new set to “give us more versatility for presentation and storytelling.”
“They not only said yes, but encouraged us to evolve what was a simple set plan, into what we have today — an entire floor to lighting grid studio remodel. This includes new cameras, robotic pedestals, LED lighting and a list of other technology upgrades, including a new graphics system.”
“We’re lucky to have a great internal design team here at WISH, and at our Nexstar Nashville Design Center. We worked together on this project.”
The 2018 PromaxBDA Station Summit in Las Vegas June 25-26 is just weeks away. TV station marketing director and creative services directors are anxiously awaiting the annual conference to hear and see industry speakers, attend educational sessions and meet with their respective networks and syndicators to learn the latest trends that affect marketing local television and local news.
To make sure the content presented at the summit is relevant and timely, PromaxBDA solicits input from a variety of sources including the top VPs of marketing from the networks and broadcast groups, PromaxBDA members who have attended previous summits, and other stakeholders from the program distributors, ownership groups and of course, creative services directors.
“Because of the shift in audience behavior,” said Swanson, “we no longer live in a world where the news room does the news stories and the promo department does the promos.”
And while there are sessions designed to prepare local TV stations for the future, Swanson said there is also a track of sessions that will tackle the basics.
“One of the themes that came up this year that was reinforced over and over again was the idea of a track of content we call Essentials,” Swanson said.
He estimates that anywhere from 20% up to 40% of the summit attendees are there for the first time.
“Essentials is designed for a person who might be new to the job of marketing director or creative services director. Maybe they moved over from news or sales within the television station or maybe they came from outside of the industry or maybe they are a recent college graduate. There is any number of different scenarios that might bring somebody to a marketing job at a local television station. So we have a track of content really designed for those people that really goes back to basics and it gives them sort of a Marketing 101 view.”
Spending smarter is always an essential to make sure you’re getting a return on your marketing investment.
Ashley Colette Gonzalez
Spending Smarter: Get More ROI from Your Marketing Dollar, presented by Ashley Colette Gonzalez and Emerson Spartz from Dose Media, is focused on new media.
Swanson says this is the session that will show you “how to use social media and the money you spend in social media, how to spend it wisely, how to make it work harder for you. When do you need to spend money, when do you not spend money, the difference between earned media and paid media. All of these questions around a media plan if you will, this is going to be the session that balances all of that out.”
Another session in the Essentials track is called Topical Promos That Kick Butt, presented by Greg Derkowski, 602 Communications’ audience retention specialist.
And while you might be thinking that the emergence of social media and digital advertising has made promoting the news topically on TV passé, we still live in a world where a lot of viewers are watching television in real-time.
“The pendulum has swung so far in the other direction now where people just think topicals are irrelevant. How many rating points are you willing to leave on the cutting room floor because the PR of a topical promo can’t compare to the PR of a Facebook post. You know what, they are both important,” said Swanson.
Co-op advertising is another essential tool in the TV station marketing plan, but it doesn’t get a lot of attention these days. For many stations, this is their only opportunity to buy outside media.
“There are still a large number of stations that do co-op,” said Swanson. “They buy radio, they buy outdoor, and they buy cable. The money still gets spent. So how do you spend that money wisely?”
Check out an essential session, Making Old Media New Again, moderated by Merry Aronson of Merry Media, to discover how to make the most out of your coop dollars.
Mayhem could be just around the corner, according to those Allstate commercials.
And that’s true at a TV station. Towers fall. Lightning strikes. Studios flood. Mass murders occur. “It’s like, hey, here is a disaster and it’s at your doorstep,” said Swanson.
So PromaxBDA is addressing that possibility to help stations have a plan with an essential session titled, When Disaster Strikes: A Survival Guide, presented by Larry Shenosky, of Cutting Edge.
“If marketing directors are going to be leaders in these television stations, here is an area where they can lead. They can lead a concerted effort to create a plan in the event of a disaster. It goes in everybody’s desk drawer and when it happens, it allows you to execute a plan.”
Mike McCormick and Aaron Smeltzer, a news anchor and photojournalist for Hearst’s WYFF Greenville, S.C., respectively, died on Monday when a tree fell on their SUV as they were out covering severe weather. When fire personnel arrived, they found the SUV in drive with the engine running.
McCormick joined WYFF in 2007 before becoming an anchor in 2014.