Tag Archives: WFTV

WFTV’s Major Donation To 1,000 Anonymous People

TV stations routinely contribute to their communities in a myriad of ways. Food drives, grants to nonprofits, telethons to help disaster victims, clothing drives for the poor, pet adoption campaigns, and so many other programs that help either individuals or large segments of people in their markets.

But recently, a new idea used by some stations is being adopted; paying off medical bills for people in their markets.

I first heard about this when KIRO, the CBS affiliate in Seattle owned by Cox, relieved the burden of more than $1 million in medical debt owed by 1,000 people in Western Washington.

A few months later, the NBC/Telemundo stations announced their goal to abolish $1 billion of medical debt in 2018 for people in their markets.

The efforts all seem to work the same way. The stations purchase $1 million worth of medical debt from RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit tackling the medical debt crisis in the country, for about $12,000.

Todd Ulrich

WFTV, Orlando’s ABC affiliate, and like KIRO in Seattle, owned by Cox, is paying off $1 million of medical debt for 1,000 people.

Those individuals, whose identity remains anonymous to WFTV, will receive a letter in the mail informing them that their debt has been paid.

Todd Ulrich, WFTV’s consumer investigator, has been uncovering the complicated system under which medical debt can be sold to collection agencies.

“The debt is often sold multiple times and for pennies on the dollar,” said Ulrich.

“But the balance owed can grow at 12% interest. Under that scenario the debt almost doubles in just six years, which forces some of our most vulnerable neighbors into extreme hardship.”

Matt Parcell

“Todd Ulrich has been making a difference in the lives of Central Floridians for decades,” said Matt Parcell, WFTV’s news director.

“This is some of the most impactful reporting he and Channel 9 have ever done.”

Since the story aired and was posted online, there has been an extraordinary response by viewers wanting to assist neighbors in need.

As a result, WFTV has created a donation page on wftv.com that allows members of the community to make donations toward paying off medical debt for individuals across Central Florida.

What’s New In Local TV Promos This Month

WSOC Charlotte, N.C.

In this tightly edited spot from Cox’s ABC affiliate WSOC, still black and white images are combined with color graphics over a rich soundtrack filled with sound bites and select audio clips from the station’s coverage to highlight WSOC’s investigative work in the 5 and 6 o’clock newscasts.

Read On

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

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.

Read On

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.”

Read On

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.