Tag Archives: WDBJ

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

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.

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

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.

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.

Picture Yourself In Virginia In TV Marketing

WDBJ, the CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Va., owned by Gray, has an opening for a promotions producer.

You know the drill. You’ll need to know videography, and editing while you juggle a variety of projects and deal with the newsroom and clients.

Before we get to why you should consider Roanoke as a place to live, here’s what you should know about WDBJ, according to an article in Media Life.

WDBJ is known for its strong evening news ratings and intimate ties with the local community.

WDBJ practices community journalism of the best sort.

Almost from the beginning, WDBJ has been the local news ratings leader.

WDBJ is the leader in social media in Roanoke and is known for its innovative and ground-breaking practices.

Roanoke is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains in southwest Virginia, earning itself the nickname “Star City of the South” by being the recreational, cultural and business hub of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

It’s a gorgeous area and the people are friendly. It’s the sort of place big-city folks would wax on about and idealize, before realizing it has problems just like everywhere else.

USA Travel named Roanoke as one of the 10 Best Bike-Friendly Cities in the U.S. and Parenting Magazine said it’s one of the 10 best places to raise a family.

The median home value in Roanoke is $143,000 and the average monthly rent for apartments in the city is $700-$800.

Watch Tonight At 10, On Facebook

Television is appointment watching. Programs change every 30 minutes on the half hour or hour.

Facebook, on the other hand, typically has no schedule and changes constantly. You scroll through posts that have just been added or were written hours or even days ago.

But with Facebook Live, you can schedule a regular time every day if you want.

Brent Watts

Like WDBJ’s Weather Talk Live, which pops up every weeknight at 10 on WDBJ’s Facebook feed, like clockwork.

Weather Talk Live is a chance for Facebook users to interact, ask questions and talk about the weather with WDBJ’s chief meteorologist, Brent Watts.

And so the station has created a promo that airs on WDBJ television essentially asking viewers to turn into Facebook users at 10.

I’m not aware of any television station promoting its Facebook page at the expense of its television programming.

I think it’s groundbreaking.

Read On