Now You Can Buy A Helicopter!

by

For those of you who thought that Brittney Gilbert was going to get a gold watch and a vegan cake in the WKRN breakroom sometime around March 2037, it is time to grow the fuck up.

For those of you who looked at Nashville is Talking as a major source of income, it is time to get a job.

For those of you who predicted the obvious a month or so ago, well done Nostradumbass. Your powers of clairvoyance are truly amazing. You should totally go find some more terminally ill or elderly people to put on the death watch. My advice is to add Tammy Faye Bakker, Roger Ebert, Beverly Sills and Billy Graham to your list ASAP.

As for WKRN, well, it’s not personal, it’s just business. If you are put in charge of a station that finishes consistently last in the ratings and the StormTracker 2000 forecast is predicting falling revenues, you better do something. When Brittney resigned, it gave WKRN’s new management the opportunity to stop the bleeding and reevaluate the economics of this New Media Experiment. That’s what I would have done.

Clearly, that is what they are doing. Whatever format NiT takes in the future, it will conform to a more traditional business model. One where either the expense will be minimal or the potential revenues will pay for itself.

That being said, there are some intangible gains that WKRN has made over the last couple of years by using the blogosphere. Foremost among them, is that the station raised its national profile by trying something different and going in another direction than the other local news lemmings. However, I would bet the farm that the majority of local news viewers could charitably be described as “ancient”. Like Methuselah. If he ever really existed. Which he didn’t.

An extension of the “MeeMaw and PawPaw” demo is the delivery of the content. Channels 4 and 5 do well because they talk to their audiences like they are retarded, or in this case, just really old. WKRN has done a good job in regard to not talking down to the viewer. The consequence of that is the people who watch the news don’t like new fangled things and need to be spoon-fed a daily digest of shootings (preferably involving minorities and convenience stores), fires, car wrecks (preferably involving rural teens) and missing persons (preferably involving hot young white girls).

When you adopt an anti-“If it Bleeds, it Leads” stance, you better be able to bring your A-game in this environment. You have to win with the personalities you have. WKRN hasn’t done that. Many of the current video journalists are, well, pathetic. Jennifer Moran’s stuff is barely news, but more info-mercial than anything else. As far as Andy Cordan is concerned, what is messed up is that anyone thought his shtick was a good idea. Jamey Tucker’s Judeo-Christianist (heavy on the Christ) contribution reminds me of the line from The Blues Brothers.

Oh, we got both kinds. We got country *and* western.

Fire all three and you might lose three viewers.

As for new morning anchor, Julie Kroenig, she is not liked. Mrs. Sarcastro loves Jesus, puppies, rainbows, children and doesn’t have a cross word about anyone.

She fucking hates Julie Kroenig.

Maybe the Mrs. feels her to be a usurper of the sainted Heather’s rightful place. I don’t know. But from the sound of her voice to the way she blinks her eyes, her every move she makes from 5 am til 6 am is critiqued and mocked in my house. This makes me want to flip it over to Channel 5 just so my wife will shut her yap about how much she hates Julie Kroenig.

Speaking of Channel 5, you should hire that Amy Watson as soon as you can. She may also be the mom of smoking hot Jolene from Nashville Dodge, but I’m not sure. You should also grab the underutilized Tom Randles from WSMV. He’s too good to be doing the weekend gig over there.

On the plus side, most of your on-air talent is loved by this city. The Ornes, Allison Hatcher, Joe Dubin, Jeff Ray, Bob Mueller, John Dwyer and the many others are embraced by the community. One of the reasons for that affection is the blogs that they have. It puts them a little closer into the lives of the audience. The blogs let them connect with the viewers in ways that aren’t possible with traditional media. It builds that viewer loyalty. The Orne’s daughter was born down the hall from my son this past March. Mrs. Dubin gave us a very nice baby shower gift. Needless to say, we are WKRN viewers because of those connections. We watched with much anticipation the arrival of the Carly Orne and were both happy and envious of Heather’s decision to stay at home. Kristin Priesol’s baby story, not so much.

Here’s the bottom line, the ultimate fate of Nashville is Talking isn’t the issue. The issue is how you view your audience. We can get the news from anywhere. You need us more than we need you. Your competitors have proven that.

Think about brand loyalty. What is that worth? What does alienating a vocal and somewhat influential segment of your viewership gain you?

There are no easy answers ahead. I would give you more advice, but I don’t Media Consult for free.

After all, it’s not personal, it’s just business.

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20 Responses to “Now You Can Buy A Helicopter!”

  1. ceeelcee Says:

    “it will conform to a more traditional business model. One where either the expense will be minimal or the potential revenues will pay for itself.”

    Other than knowing for certain that you can charge Karl Dean and Bob Clement whatever you want for their political infomercials, what part of TV news is measurable in this form. Everything you do is a gamble intended to watch your version of the same 10 events that happened between 10:30 last night and 5:59 this afternoon, plus your 5 minutes of human interest crap.

    TV stations sell airtime. “Air” and “time.” If anybody could make Web 2.0 work, it oughtta be them. They just need bigger cajones and more dedication to the process. It’s not gonna happen at WKRN.

  2. Sarcastro Says:

    The TV news isn’t measurable in this form. How does one measure brand loyalty? But by using the station blogs, NiT included, helps them as far as getting the public to watch their version of the convenience store hold-up.

    The blogs themselves aren’t the end-all but a tool for getting the audience to make that connection with the station. They are never going to make money off of the blogging. They might, however, engender some loyalty from the readers of the blogs.

  3. newscoma Says:

    Ironically, I don’t get WKRN.
    I was a Dan Miller girl back a million years ago when network news actually mattered and I lived in Nashville. Pre-Pat Sajak show when buffalo roamed free and Afternoon Delight was a big hit.
    Just saying.

  4. Nostradumbass Says:

    Predicting how WKRN would respond only took reading The City Paper the day after when no one from the station would comment on a story that involved them.

    When the management does not communicate, they are hiding something. It doesn’t take Nostradumbass to tell you that.

  5. Nashville is Talking » Blogging, Bloggers And Future Think Says:

    […] Sarcastro says this as only Sarcastro can over at Watching the Defectives: That being said, there are some intangible gains that WKRN has made over the last couple of years by using the blogosphere. Foremost among them, is that the station raised its national profile by trying something different and going in another direction than the other local news lemmings. However, I would bet the farm that the majority of local news viewers could charitably be described as “ancient”. Like Methuselah. If he ever really existed. Which he didn’t. […]

  6. brittney Says:

    I keep coming back to read this over and over again. Nostradumbass had me snorting.

  7. Christian Grantham Says:

    So much free advice. So little time. 😉

  8. Now You Can Buy A Helicopter! « Watching The Defectives « Dork Nation Says:

    […] Posted by Mark on July 6th, 2007 Now You Can Buy A Helicopter! « Watching The Defectives […]

  9. Nashville is Talking » Processing It All Says:

    […] gives her perception of the NiT issues that have been going on recently. And I agree, Sarcastro hit it out of the park today (that’s why I’m linking it again) and be sure to read the […]

  10. Katherine Coble Says:

    So much free advice. So little time.

    Because 3.5 weeks is not enough time. Especially in the world of television news where everything moves at glacial speed…

  11. Ron Says:

    Zing! Score one for Kat Coble.

  12. Nostradumbass Says:

    Yea. I’m funny that way.

  13. Connecting the Dots « Where’s the Mute Button? Says:

    […] can profit other than the mainstream media?   I’ve read some of the takes on it, but my favorite so far may be from Sarcastro who cracks me the hell up (someone give him a job in front of a camera, please oh […]

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