Tag Archives: Dallas

What’s New? The Latest Local TV News Promos

The holidays are behind us, a New Year is in front of us, and it’s time to get down to business. So I went searching to find the latest promos from TV stations across the country.

Let’s start with this very timely weather spot from WBZ, the CBS O&O in Boston, about how savage winter can be in New England. Keep in mind that Mt. Washington, N.H., the highest point east of the Mississippi, is one of the coldest spots on earth and recorded a wind chill of -97F the other day.

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Nexstar, NBC’s KXAS To Ring In 2018 In 20 Markets

Nexstar Broadcasting is teaming up with NBC in Dallas to broadcast a live New Year’s Eve special across 20 markets throughout Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri.

Lone Star NYE: Countdown to 2018, an hour-long special, airs on Sunday night starting on 11:30, and is expected to reach 8 million households.

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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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KDFW’s Heartwarming Story Catches Christmas Spirit

On Tuesday nights during the summer, for the past 40 years, I get together with some old  friends to play softball. No uniforms, no umpire, no teams, really; we pick different teams each night.

Just the game. And the friendships. OK, and a few beers.

So this story from Fox Dallas O&O KDFW has special meaning for me.

A grieving husband who lost his wife found solace playing softball. He was going to skip Christmas this year, until his softball team showed up to show him the meaning of the holiday season, and sportsmanship.

Tributes Pour In Honoring Lee Minard

Lee Minard

Lee Minard, former creative services director at KLAS in Las Vegas, died last week at his home in Fountain Hills, Arizonia.

The local TV marketing community is a tight-knit group, especially among long-time veterans.

Many of us are thankful to the mentorship of others in the business who helped us along the way, and so it is for many who crossed paths with Lee Minard.

Lee had an especially long and varied career in television, starting as an art director in 1962 at KEPR Pasco, Wash. Over the years he worked at WREX Rockford, Ill.; KIMA Yakima, Wash.; WFAA Dallas; KCNC and KUSA in Denver; WDIV Detroit; WCBS New York; and WMAR Baltimore. In addition to his work in local TV, Lee also had top marketing roles at PAX-TV and the Food Network.

Last week, I wrote a short piece announcing Lee’s death and asked for anyone to write a comment. Family and friends sent me emails while others posted their comments at the end of that column.

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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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KDFW Commands Dallas Social Scene By 7 Million

KDFW, the Fox O&O in Dallas, dominated social media actions in the market over the last six months according to data from audience insight firm Shareablee.

KDFW has just over 13.5 million actions on social, 36% of the total engagement generated by the DMA, with more than 37 million social actions.

KDFW was also first in actions per post on Facebook with 1,571, and leads the market on Twitter with more than 300,000 actions.

KKDA-FM, (K-104), an urban contemporary station owned by Service Broadcasting, leads the market in Instagram with over 550,000 actions.

How is KDFW able to dominate the market on Facebook so completely, literally doubling what its nearest competitor gets?

Bruce Smith

It starts with having a legitimate history of listening to its viewers, says Bruce Smith, KDFW’s assistant news director.

“We have been a very interactive station with our viewers for a long time that far proceeded social media. We have a franchise called Viewers Voice which has been around for 18 years, which got its start from people calling into the newsroom commenting about a story. Now, Facebook is just simply another platform where we can interact with our viewers.”

Mark Norris

Mark Norris, KDFW’s senior web producer, says one reason the station is so successful on Facebook is because they know what people want. And what they want are local stories about people

“It’s people at their best or people at their worst,” says Norris.

“Crime stories, we do those. They can be horrifying, but it’s following up and figuring out what’s the human element of this” that is key.

“The other side of it is finding the people who are doing exceptional things. We want to showcase people doing good in the community, positive stories. But, bottom line, it’s people either way.”

Norris says that the amount of posts KDFW generates is only half what the other stations do, yet what they post scores high engagement. “We know what works and we know what connects, and we know how to ride it.

“I would say the biggest example of that would be the July 7th anniversary of the shooting of the police officers here in downtown Dallas. That was a really horrible time here.”

Norris says KDFW’s approach was not to relive those moments, but to honor “the memories of people who lost their lives.”

Sometimes, a story that shows high interest and engagement on Facebook, will prompt KDFW to give it added coverage in its newscasts.

Smith says the story of a missing 3-year-old girl is an example.

“Obviously, there’s great interest in that story. She has still not been found. So each day, that story continues to be one of the top posts. Based on that information, we have continued to put a reporter on that story every day.”

Unlike many  TV stations, KDFW uses Facebook Live sparingly, says Norris.

“We are not afraid to use Facebook Live, but we do not use it nearly as much as a lot of people do. A lot of stations use Facebook Live, it’s a way of life for them. They will Facebook Live anything and everything. To us it is a tool. If there is a situation that deems us using it, then we will go for it.”

Norris points to an example, the controversy over the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

“Instances like that when there is a major story that’s been playing out, we will go live. It has to be a good and special reason for us to go live on Facebook.”

KDFW does, however, use Facebook Live regularly featuring the station’s main anchor and meteorologist.

During severe weather, there are times that the severe weather doesn’t warn us cutting into programming,” says Smith, “but it’s severe enough our meteorologist will frequently be doing Facebook Live.”

Ultimately, Norris says the station’s success is based on its presentation.

“The way we do it is very concise, very clear, letting people know what’s going on.”