Tag Archives: Gray

KWCH Leads Facebook With Digital-First Approach

KWCH newsroom

In this week’s edition of Social Scorecard, KWCH reveals how its focus to be digitally first with news is why it’s on top of Facebook in Wichita, Kan.

KWCH, Gray’s CBS affiliate, is the leader in social media actions in the market over the last six months according to data from audience insight firm Shareablee.

KWCH has nearly 1.7 million actions on social, 33% of the total engagement generated by the DMA (No. 67), with more than 5.1 million social actions.

KWCH also led in actions per post with 180.

KZCH-FM, (branded as Channel 963), a Top 40 station owned by iHeartMedia, led the market on Twitter with 32,542 actions.

KAKE, the market’s ABC affiliate owned by Lockwood Broadcast Group, led on Instagram with just over 6,000 actions.

Shawn Hilferty

Shawn Hilferty, KWCH’s digital director, says one reason his station is ahead on Facebook is its digital-first approach when it comes to local news.

“That’s our main goal. We break things on social media and make constant decisions on what we are posting on social media, looking for the interaction from the end user. It’s to either solicit a comment, a share, something to get a conversation going — and that’s our main focus when using social media.”

Kim Wilhelm, KWCH’s news director, and Angela Smith, the station’s digital content manager, point to three recent news stories that were first reported on Facebook as examples that got high engagement.

One story was about a worker killed when a trench caved in and another was a grain elevator accident in which two men died.

Angela Smith

“We were able to go live with our reporters out in the field,” says Smith, “and have them pop up a live stream and then people just clicked on that video to see what was going on.”

A third story, the hunt for a murder suspect, happened between the station’s newscasts, but it was a frightening situation to people who lived  in Western Kansas, says Wilhelm.

“They told the residents out there to lock their door.”

The station did a four-hour Facebook Live that eventually led to crossover viewership into the station’s newscast.

Kim Wilhelm

“We had 4,500 shares just on that Facebook Live alone and a lot of the comments that we were getting in that Facebook Live were from people saying thank you, you are the only ones providing this information,” says Wilhelm.

Wilhelm adds that those people watching the Facebook Live stream posted comments telling the station to not stop the feed, as they wanted the newest information. And in those comments, Wilhelm says people talked about crossing over to watch KWCH’s newscast.

“It was really interesting. We could actually see the Facebook viewers moving over to the on-air platform just because they were so hungry for this safety and security information.”

Dominic Gauna

Those people watching the Facebook Live stream about the hunt for the murder suspect also added comments that helped the station focus its resources better to cover that story as it unfolded, according to Dominic Gauna, KWCH’s creative services director.

“It gave us leads to go on as the story was unfolding and where to put reporters,” Guana says.

“We were getting that information fairly quickly and putting bodies in spots a little bit ahead of our competition.”

Reporters who do a Facebook Live from the scene of breaking news do very well for KWCH, says Hilferty. One reporter’s Facebook Live about bees had a large reach, even though it affected a small number of people.

“Bees took over and it was quite the talker from people viewing it as constant entertainment. It did very well for us.”

Facebook is often the place where tips and story ideas start. At Christmas, the station asked what people wanted as presents. A woman showed up at the station and looked through the responses.

“She decided to be a little secret Santa,” says Wilhelm, “and grant wishes for some of the people. It truly is the way that people reach out to us now to give us story ideas.”

It’s that interaction between users and the newsroom that Gauna feels has made Facebook such an important tool for KWCH.

“We understand it’s a great avenue for us to touch our viewers in a way that we have never had before. We want to utilize that because we are serving our viewers more than anything.”

WSAW-WZAW Sets New Holiday Sharing Record

WSAW and WZAW, the Gray-owned CBS and Fox affiliates, respectively, in Wausau, Wis., set a new record for their annual Share Your Holidays campaign.

Between donations from viewers and matching grants, $95,811.49 was raised to benefit the food pantries at The Salvation Army of Wausau and The Neighbors’ Place. The previous record of $90,942.72 was set in 2016.

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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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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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‘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.”

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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.

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