Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Black Friday package I'd love to see

ANCHOR INTRO: Well, it's Black Friday, and that means all of you were up before the crack of dawn looking for Christmas bargains. Reporter Joe Goodhair set his alarm clock to see what all the fuss was about.


Nat sound: Door sliding open at store

Voiceover: And they're off! Shoppers kicked off the holiday season at four this morning, hoping to save big bucks while getting away from their relatives.

Sound Bite Shopper: Microwaves are 110 percent off! They'll actually pay me to take them away!

Voicover: But giveaways like that aren't the only attraction. The season's hottest toy was out there, the elusive Tickle-Me-Cabbage-Patch-Barbie-That-Hooks-Up-To-Guitar-Hero-And-Has-An-iPhone-Ap.

Nat sound: Parents wrestling on ground for toys

Sound bite Parent: I took two cheap shots to the ribs and broke a tooth, but I got one.

Standup bridge: Despite the fact that my News Director made me get up in the middle of the night, it wasn't a total loss. I scored these blank DVDs for two bucks, which should save me a ton of money during resume tape season.

Voiceover: Store owners say the madness is worth it, but the starting times are getting earlier each year as each store tries to outdo the other.

Sound bite Manager: I was sad to see that the store across the street opened at two a-m. So next year we're going to open on Wednesday.

Voiceover: So Black Friday did what it was supposed to do... put stores in the black... while filling two minutes on an otherwise dead news day. Now for more of our time-killing team coverage, let's throw it to Susie Fembot who can tell us about the economic impact.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hometown applicants have an advantage

Ever notice how so many stations tend to promote the people who actually grew up in that market? There's a reason for that.

They're not going anywhere.

Awhile back we ran a poll on dream jobs, and "getting a job in my hometown" was the winner. More so than cracking the network, more people want to work in their hometowns; they already have roots, and getting a job back home would put the seemingly endless task of job hunting to rest.

News Directors know this, and that's why it is always more appealing to hire people who grew up in the market. If there are two people applying for a job and they're dead even in talent, the one who is from that market will more than likely get the job.

News Directors, for the most part, hate the job hunting process. The huge boxes of tapes, the endless interviews, countless phone calls to check references, and the crapshoot of actually hiring someone. By hiring someone who wants to come home, a ND knows he won't have to worry about that person leaving in two years.

It's one less person to hire.

Several years ago a friend of mine got a job in his hometown and told me, "I'll never have to job hunt again." That was ten years ago, and he's still there.

Recently one of my clients got a job in her hometown, and I'm sure she won't be making any resume tapes either. How did she do it? She laid the groundwork for the past year, visiting stations on her trips home, keeping in touch with News Directors, sending tapes every few months. NDs got to know her face to face, knew she wanted to come home, and saw her talent grow each time she sent a tape.

That's why I always tell you guys not to waste those trips home for the holidays. Visit your hometown stations, let them know that coming home is your ultimate goal. You may not find an opening right away, but you'll be in the back of the mind of a ND when the time is right.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Another myth exploded: people are getting hired during sweeps

Well, I'd never seen this before, but apparently the time honored rules of television news job hunting are totally out the window.

Two of my clients got jobs during sweeps.

In the past (the very recent past) you'd never see this. You wouldn't dare bother a News Director during sweeps, just as you'd never call a News Director at 4:30 in the afternoon.

But now the rules have changed, as some NDs are spending time during sweeps interviewing and hiring.

What's changed all of a sudden? Not sure, but considering the knee-jerk tendencies of owners and GMs, it's possible that a few NDs are trying to get the jump on their counterparts by snatching up the good people.

Or, what might have happened is that stations are so short staffed that people who gave their notice in October will be leaving their stations stretched even thinner for the holidays, and the NDs want to fill those openings quickly.

Doesn't matter. It's a good thing.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Don't look for ratings to validate your efforts

Very often sweeps will end and be followed by up to three weeks of tortuous waiting. You'll see your ND get even twitchier during this period, and that often trickles down to the staff. You start to second guess yourself. "Did I do enough? Was my work good enough?"

And if the ratings that come in aren't good, you sometimes blame yourself.

Ratings are often not a validation of quality.

Sure, it is nice to be number one, but there is plenty of quality work being knocked out by people working for last place stations. And lots of garbage being produced by people at first place stations.

Even if you're under a new regime and have made wonderful improvements, it often takes a year or two to reflect that in the ratings.

And sometimes it never makes a dent.

Ratings, like everything else in this business, are subjective. And viewers are slow to change, doing so at a glacial pace.

The only thing you can do is continue to put forth your best efforts every day, not just during sweeps. As long as you do that, you won't have any regrets if the ratings aren't good.