Tag Archives: WFTV

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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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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Brand New Local TV News Promos

When I was a beginning writer/producer at WDSU in New Orleans in 1988, I would try to look at as many promos from around the country as I could.

That was the only way I could improve, to see what other stations were doing.

A line of copy, a concept, an editing technique, distort the video, whatever it was, I would file it away for use later, to incorporate and customize into some project I might be working on.

It’s a lot easier to see the work from other stations today than it was then. All of the following promos were uploaded within the last month.

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WESH’s 2017 News Ratings: ‘Impressive’

There aren’t many TV markets left where the local newspaper has a TV critic who writes about the local TV news ratings.

Hal Boedeker

The Orlando Sentinel is one of them. Its critic, Hal Boedeker, The TV Guy, has been writing regularly and often about television for the Sentinel for 20 years.

For example, so far this year, Boedeker’s reported on the news ratings race among the Orlando TV stations in January, February, April, May, June and July.

So all you have to do to get a sense of what is going on in the Orlando TV news race is to read some of his headlines and copy.

In July, Boedeker’s headline said: ‘July ratings: WESH is tops at 11 p.m.’

WESH is the NBC affiliate there owned by Hearst.

He went on: “WESH had the most reasons to crow about the July ratings. With the 25-to-54 age group so dear to news advertisers, WESH came in first at 6 a.m. as well as 4, 5 and 11 p.m. WESH’s victory in late news was clear-cut and the NBC affiliate benefited from offering the most-watched primetime for the month.”

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WFTV Hidden Cameras Catch ‘Upselling’ Cons

They call it ‘upselling’.

Here’s how it works.

Your wife takes her car to get a quick, low-priced oil change. The low price is just to get you in the door, and your car on the rack.

While her car is on the rack, the mechanic says he found some other repairs that need to be done. He even takes pictures of it.

You take the car to a trusted mechanic and show him the pictures and the list of repairs, and, you guessed it, none of them need to be done.

Todd Ulrich

In Orlando, at WFTV, the Cox-owned ABC affiliate, Todd Ulrich has been the station’s consumer reporter for 25 years.

A couple months ago, Ulrich set up hidden cameras when some air conditioning companies came to do a routine tune-up.

A warning about repair companies that service your air conditioning at home. WFTV Action 9's Todd Ulrich puts three companies to the test in a hidden camera investigation: http://at.wftv.com/2q4T5qr

Posted by WFTV Channel 9 on Monday, May 22, 2017

Exposing AC repair tricks that turn a $49 tune-up into $1000 hustle. An Action 9 hidden camera investigation that will help you save money and keep your cool ! Story: http://at.wftv.com/2qLfMTS

Posted by WFTV Action 9 on Monday, May 22, 2017

The man told the homeowner that he found mold in the air conditioning system and to expect big trouble.

“He was really instilling fear that if I didn’t do something I was going to be sick,” said the homeowner.

This investigation really resonated with some viewers.

Patti Starkey: THANK YOU CHANNEL 9 for EXPOSING these THIEVES…that’s all they can be called!! Next…please SHOW ALL THE BIZ NAMES & FACES!!!

Sarge Kerr Keep it up, Todd. We NEED this kind of reporting …..

Click here to see how some image promos for Todd Ulrich are all about authenticity.

WFTV Wins PromaxBDA Gold For Weather Image

The annual PromaxBDA Station Summit was held in Las Vegas last week and the winners of the local awards — gold, silver and bronze — were announced and shown.

All this week, I’ll be posting the award winning spots.

WFTV, Cox’s ABC affiliate in Orlando, Fla., won the Gold award for weather images.

Sean Garcia, WFTV’s creative services director, took advantage of my offer to share his station’s work and to add some commentary.

The campaign focused on the moments when Hurricane Matthew threatened Central Florida and the days after the storm cleared.

Sean Garcia

“We are honored to be recognized for our creative work during Hurricane Matthew, ” said Garcia.

“During the storm, the entire station delivered unmatched coverage and our creative team was right there to capture every moment of it.”

If your station won an award and you’d like to share the spot along with some commentary about the marketing strategy, production, challenges, or any results that it might have achieved, just drop me a line.

Weather Program Image

WFTV Severe Weather, Post Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew Tom Terry FB Live from WFTV/WRDQ Creative on Vimeo.

Hurricane Matthew Voicemail A from WFTV/WRDQ Creative on Vimeo.

Hurricane Matthew “Thank You” from WFTV/WRDQ Creative on Vimeo.

WFTV Gets ‘Authenticity’ In Consumer Promos

Todd Ulrich

When I saw some image promos for WFTV’s Todd Ulrich, it reminded me of an old axiom.

When you want to know how a job is done, talk to the guy who does it.

I have advice for young, upcoming, local TV news writer/producers out there tasked with coming up with ideas for their next promotion.

It’s OK to put your anchor, reporter or meteorologist on camera and just talk to them.

Too often — and I was guilty of this when I was a young writer/producer — young writer/producers tend to want to over-produce their spots.

Why? Because they can, and they’re young, with lots of tools at their fingertips thanks to nonlinear editing, to ratchet up the production.

Just putting a talent on camera and hitting record seems so, well, uncreative.

But sometimes, simple is better.

“It’s all about authenticity,” said Sean Garcia, WFTV’s creative services director when asked about the approach. “We just let Todd tell the story.”

Ulrich has been the consumer reporter at WFTV, the Cox-owned ABC affiliate in Orlando, Fla., for 25 years.

When you have a franchise reporter who’s been on the air that long, chances are viewers know who he is, so use that recognition as an advantage.

“We wanted to know why people call him for help,” said Garcia, “and we knew he could pull it off.”

Garcia says Ulrich typically gets 250 requests a week for help with viewers’ consumer problems, resulting in about 100 on-air stories a year.

Ulrich’s reports typically air in the station’s 5 o’clock newscast.

NOTE: I do have one minor observation about the shooting of Ulrich in these image promos.

In some cases, he looks off-camera as if he’s talking to someone off camera. At other times, he looks directly into the camera.

If you’re interviewing someone, and he’s looking at you,, off camera, as opposed to directly into the camera, it is important to maintain eye contact and really listen to what’s being said.

It helps relax the subject, and when you’re listening intently, you’ll ask better, more insightful questions.

If you the talent looks directly into the camera, sometimes it can come across as scripted,

I definitely didn’t get that feeling watching Ulrich in these promos. He looks natural and authentic when looking into the camera and I would have opted to maintain that perspective in all the spots.

Click here to read a recent story about Ulrich by the Orlando Sentinel.

WFTV’s New Set Wins Regional Emmy

WFTV, the Cox-owned ABC affiliate in Orlando, Fla., won a Regional Emmy Award for set design last month.

The visionary design was created by the Z Space team in collaboration with the WFTV station staff.

“Everything we did with the design was wrapped around the concept of making it easier for us to tell the stories and for viewers to better understand the stories we were telling,” said Matt Parcell, WFTV’s news director.

“Our expansive studio set offers almost endless versatility for our newscasts and incredible interactivity.”

Z Space’s designers created a layout that utilizes the entire perimeter of the 80×50-foot studio space, and locates each of the presentation venues as far in front of the outer set walls as possible.

“We accomplished our mission to add depth and detail to all the stories,” said Parcell.

“The set design has made our newscasts better — not just because they look better — but the set has enhanced the quality of the journalism.”