Tag Archives: Gray

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.

Read On

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.

Read On

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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‘Feel Good’ Car Ad Corners The Buy For WKYT

As I’ve said often, advertising on local TV means business.

Local businesses looking to advertise on TV stations, and their various platforms, don’t usually have ad agencies to handle their marketing, advertising, commercial production and media buying.

Some businesses might have a budget just big enough to buy some TV time, so most stations, regardless of the market size, offer low-cost or no cost creative and video production to get their clients’ commercials made.

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WRDW Promo Producer Recognized By Georgia Broadcasters

Their work is seen by thousands, sometimes by millions, yet they get little recognition. But without them, most TV stations’ marketing and branding efforts would not be possible.

They are left brains/right brain thinkers, masters of technology and wildly creative.

They are highly skilled in videography, shooting and production, non-linear editing, motion graphics, and compositing. Many are idea makers, concept generators and copy writers.

They know how to use Facebook to drive engagement and tune-in.

They are in high demand in virtually every TV market all the time.

Dylan Smith

They are marketing and promotion writer/producers/editors.

Like Dylan Smith from WRDW, Gray’s CBS affiliate in Augusta, Ga.

Scrolling through LinkedIn, I saw Dylan’s post about his winning a Merit Award for Best Station-Produced Commercial from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.

It included a picture of his family and his comment: “It was an even greater honor having my family with me at the GABBY awards ceremony as I accepted the award. I would not be where I am today without them.”

If you’re a writer/producer/editor and have some work you want to share, shoot me a link and a little explanation about the work to [email protected]

And feel free to call me any time for any reason at 817-578-6324.

Congrats, Dylan. Here are some other examples of his work:

Couple Says KALB Meteorologist Saved Their Lives

Last week’s column’s about marketing meteorologists prompted a note from Mark Klein, KALB’s creative services director, about his station’s chief meteorologist, Tom Konvicka. KALB is Gray’s NBC affiliate in Alexandria, La.

But before I share his note and promo, I Googled Konvicka and found a story from this April about how a couple in Alexandria credited him with saving their lives.

Tom Konvicka

Now here’s Klein’s note about Konvicka:

KALB-TV in Alexandria, LA is one of those small town legacy stations that relies on the relationships between its on-air talent and the community to do our jobs each day.

At market 179, we can’t boast about our ground-breaking technology, or how we constantly beat the competition — there is no other locally produced broadcast news in our market.

So, instead, we rely on our number one commodity when we plan image promotions — our staff.

Six months ago, we launched our latest image campaign — “Your Local People” with no fancy graphics or quick editing tricks. Just a one-on-one conversation with our on-air talent in front of a simple backdrop for our viewers to learn more about the people they invite into their homes each night.

It’s odd that in a small market like ours where young people constantly put in their two years before making a market jump that you can have a ‘long-timer’ like Tom Konvicka.

In the midst of his 33rd year at KALB, Tom’s been through countless named hurricanes, tracked his fair share of tornados, was the first meteorologist to debut chroma-key technology in our market and was just recently given the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters in 2016.

Here’s his chance to say ‘thank you’ to our loyal viewers.

WSAW-WZAW Take Action After Murder Spree

The murder rate in Wausau, Wis., has averaged just over one per year over the past 15 years. So when four people were murdered on the same day, WSAW-WZAW felt compelled to act.

WSAW and WZAW, Gray’s CBS and Fox affiliates, respectively, in the market, helped raise more than $330,000 to benefit the families of the victims of a shooting in the Wausau community.

“This tragic event brought out an unprecedented amount of support from the community,” said Al Lancaster, WSAW-WZAW’s general manager.

“We live in a very special place.”

Read On

A Shining Example Of Local TV At WEAU

Andrew Felix’s account of how his station performed during and after a tornado is a testament to what local broadcasters do best, often routinely.

They provide live warnings about severe weather, continue with non-stop coverage and then follow up by organizing, spearheading and promoting a fundraiser for victims.

Felix is director of promotions and creative services at WEAU, Gray’s NBC affiliate serving La Crosse-Eau Claire, Wis., about 100 miles east of Minneapolis.


Felix sent me his clear account along with photos and videos. Here it is, almost word-for-word:

Andrew Felix

On May 16th, a tornado ripped through Northwestern Wisconsin killing one person, injuring others and causing millions in damage.

One of the biggest casualties was a trailer park that was completely destroyed leaving dozens without a place to live.

WEAU 13 News and our SkyWarn 13 Weather team provided more than 3-hours of non-stop weather coverage.

Read On

For WDBJ Reporter, No Cell Phone For A Week

Not many of us could function on a high level professionally without our cell phone.

And I would imagine it would be especially difficult for a local TV reporter.

No calls from the assignment desk or news director, no GPS to find your way to the story, no Google search, no texts, no Facebook Lives to record and post, no cell phone calls as you’re covering a story.

So what do you do if your news director challenges you to unplug, to go without your cell phone for a week?

You go old school.

Paper maps, a pager, a Go Pro camera, a pocket full of change in case you can find a pay phone, and ask to use land lines (or as the kids call them, old people’s phones).

“We got to thinking that people are literally LOST without cell phones these days” said Joany D’Agostino, creative services director at WDBJ, Gray’s CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Va.


Logan Sherrill holding his pager

“So, in addition to having the consumer angle from experts, we’ll get to witness anchor Logan Sherrill take one for the team! We’ll follow his every move. Half social experiment, half consumer report.”

So how’s Sherrill doing? I paged him to ask.

He called me back from a land line at a hair salon.

“This week, it’s five full days of being an anchor and reporter with no cell phone,” said Sherrill.

And what function of his cell phone does Sherrill miss the most?

“GPS, without a doubt.”

Click here to see how Sherrill is doing without his phone.

Green Bay’s WBAY Earns 3 Regional Murrow Awards

WBAY, Gray’s ABC affiliate in Green Bay, Wis., received three regional Edward R. Murrow Awards in the small television market category for its region.

Other states in WBAY’s region include North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

The Radio Television Digital News Association has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Murrow Awards since 1971.

Regional award winners advance to the national Murrow Awards, which will be handed out in June.

WBAY, Continuing Coverage
Dassey Conviction Overturned

WBAY, Investigative Reporting
Disappearing OWI

WBAY, Overall Excellence