Harvey Leonard, Ed Harding, Maria Stephanos and Mike Lynch.
When you want to know what someone’s really like, ask the people they work with.
Your co-workers probably know you better than your wife and kids. Because, after all, you probably spend more time at work than at home.
That’s the creative behind these new image spots for the main anchor team from WCVB, Hearst’s ABC affiliate in Boston.
And they work. No hollow claims, no research-driven buzz words, only the observations of co-workers in their own words makes these spots, and the people in them, believable, real, and genuine.
Russ Nelligan, WCVB’s creative services director, says when anchors have been on the job long enough, it’s easy to assume everyone knows who they are.
“WCVB is blessed with people who have been reporting in Boston many years. We decided to take a step back and ‘introduce’ our anchor team to the viewers. We thought that having their co-workers drive the narrative was effective, in part because they really appreciate each other’s strengths.”
I was able to talk to Nelligan on the phone at length about these spots and I was struck by how well he knew the members of his main anchor team, anchors Maria Stephanos and Ed Harding, Chief Meteorologist Harvey Leonard, and Mike Lynch, WCVB’s spots director and anchor.
There’s an old adage about sales — a good salesman know his product, and you can tell that Nelligan knows his front-line people well. The only way that happens is to be around them in the newsroom.
“They are smart people and they are very genuine,” says Nelligan.
“You don’t have to be around Maria too long before you realize what an exceptional human being she is. She is the kind of person who you meet and all she does is ask about you. As a result, she just has this way of drawing people out.”
When talking about co-anchor Ed Harding, Nelligan says he’s been in the market a long time and is hard working. “Ed is just like this Energizer Bunny.”
Chief Meteorologist Harvey Leonard has been forecasting the weather in Boston and New England for 40 years. Nelligan says Leonard still gets excited when it’s about to snow.
“He is just really into it, but is so worried that people are depending on my forecast and I have got to get it right. The other meteorologists in town have just the utmost respect.”
According to Nelligan, Mike Lynch is an institution in Boston when it comes to covering the major pro sports teams, but “has carved out a niche covering high school sports for more than 30 years.”
WCVB, Hearst’s Boston ABC affiliate, was named Station of the Year, for the fifth consecutive year, at the annual Sound Bites Awards presentation by the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association.
In addition, WCVB won seven first-place awards and three merit awards for its work in news, promotion and community service.
“There is certainly no greater honor than being recognized by your peers for excellence in the work we do,” said Bill Fine, WCVB’s general manaer, “and I am grateful to the MBA for their recognition of the dedication and hard work of the entire team here at Channel 5.”
WCVB anchor Maria Stephanos tackles how people cope with loss in its many forms in an upcoming one-hour special, NewsCenter 5 Primetime: Living with Loss, tonight from 10 to 11.
“After my mother died less than a year ago, the Channel 5 community was so generous with their condolences and advice. It inspired me to put together a one hour special on how to live after someone you loved passed away,” said Stephanos.
During the special, Stephanos explores the difficult concept of dealing with grief and living life after a loved one dies, whether a close relative or friend, or even a favorite pet.
Interviews with many people, from all walks of life, who share the common experience of trying to overcome loss are included.
TV stations all across the country, either in conjunction with their broadcast group owners, or on their own, are conducting fundraisers to help victims in Texas and Louisiana deal with devastating flooding due to Hurricane Harvey.
At many of the Scripps-owned TV stations, some of which have already been mentioned in earlier columns, Scripps employees assembled phone banks at many stations while waters were still rising.
“As journalists, we often tell the stories of people involved in tragic events like this,” said Sean McLaughlin, Scripps vice president of news.
“Today, we have the opportunity to lead an effort to help those who have lost everything. We can use our company’s reach, spanning from coast to coast, to raise money to ease the burden on the storm’s victims. It is who we are at Scripps.”
KNXV in Phoenix raised $185,000 during its phone bank over two days. That included a $50,000 donation from the Healthy Sprouts Community Foundation.
WXYZ and WMYD in Detroit coordinated a two-day telethon and raised more than $138,000.
At WPTV in West Palm Beach, Fla., the station raised more than $66,000 with its two-day phone bank.
WCPO in Cincinnati raised $100,000 over two days of afternoon-into-evening phone banks.
And in Tulsa, Okla., KJRH raised $16,000 with its Monday phone bank.
In Baltimore at Hearst’s NBC affiliate, WBAL, American Red Cross volunteers have been staffing the phone banks since Monday evening. Donations have eclipsed $260,000, as the phones continue to ring.
“There’s no shortage of adjectives to describe the pictures we’re seeing out of Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey,” said Dan Joerres, WBAL’s general manager.
“As powerful as they are, those images don’t even begin to tell the story of the heartache felt by the tens of thousands of people who now have nowhere to live. The phones have been ringing off the hook, as the response from people throughout Maryland has been incredible.”
In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, KCRG, Gray’s ABC affiliate, held a two-hour telethon with the Greater Iowa chapter of the American Red Cross, collecting $46,015. The total includes a $10,000 match from University of Iowa Community Credit Union.
“We went through our own devastating flood here in Eastern Iowa back in 2008,” said Thom Spritz, KCRG’s general manager. “Harvey hits home for so many people in our area.”
Another Gray station, NBC affiliate WEAU Eau Claire, Wis., created a PSA Toolkit that was sent to all the Gray stations so they can quickly get localized announcements on air.
In Boston, WCVB, Hearst’s ABC affiliate, raised more than $500,000, and counting with its RELIEF FUND 5: Help for Houston telethon during yesterday’s day-long fundraising event.
“When our community rallies to support a worthy cause, the results are always amazing,” said Bill Fine, WCVB’s general manager.
“And this time to raise more than a half million dollars in just hours to provide help for Houston is simply awe inspiring.”
In Corpus Christi, Texas, where Hurricane Harvey made landfall, Cordillera Communications’ KRIS, the NBC affiliate, announced a fundraising with the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group to leverage all donor contributions to benefit residents in the seven Texas counties surrounding Corpus Christi.
To speed donations and relief efforts, KRIS and Cordillera will match the first $50,000 donated.
Other Cordillera TV stations nationwide will assist in communicating and promoting this relief fund effort.
TV stations and their owners are at the forefront of helping raise funds for organizations aiding victims of the flooding due to Harvey.
In its first 24 hours, Texas Cares, an initiative started by Tegna, raised more than $1.15 million.
The Tegna Foundation matched the first $100,000 in donations. All money raised will be donated to the Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
“This is just the beginning. We will use this momentum to continue to serve our communities and help improve the lives of those in need,” said Dave Lougee, Tegna’s president.
All 46 Tegna stations in 38 markets are helping raise money and encourage donations for Texas Cares. Stations are running stories on-air and across social media, hosting telethons, telling stories of impact and informing viewers how they can help.
Here is an example from one Tegna station.
WPTV, the NBC affiliate in West Palm Beach owned by Scripps, raised more than $30,000 in just three hours during a phone bank manned by Red Cross volunteers.
Tomorrow in Philadelphia, WCAU and WWSI, Philadelphia’s NBC O&O and Telemundo outlet, respectively, both owned by Comcast NBCUniversal, will host a hurricane relief phone bank from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. to raise funds for people impacted by Harvey.
Volunteers from the American Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania will accept donations over the telephone to help support hurricane relief efforts.
In Hoosier country, WISH, Nexstar’s CW affiliate in Indianapolis, announced a 24-hour broadcast special, Hoosiers Helping Houston, all day today to benefit hurricane relief efforts in the Houston, Texas area.
“While the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey continue to grow, it’s important for us to extend our Hoosier Hospitality to those in need,” said Randy Ingram, WISH’s general manager.
“Our goal at WISH-TV is to make it as easy as possible for those wanting to help those affected in Texas.”
Today, WCVB, the Hearst-owned ABC affiliate in Boston, is teaming up with the Red Cross for
Relief Fund 5: Help for Houston, a telethon to benefit Harvey victims. WCVB’s live phone bank will be staffed by local Red Cross volunteers taking pledges from area viewers.
During cut-ins throughout newscasts and afternoon programming, you’ll hear what local Red Cross volunteers are doing in Texas, how the Red Cross mission will change in the weeks ahead, and learn how you can provide help for Houston.