Monday, April 25, 2011

Mailbag: Do News Directors talk to one another?

Grape,

I recently had a News Director call me and say he really liked me, but that I did not get the job. He added that he would call other stations on my behalf, and if I understand right, he will call any ND, not necessarily one he knows. How do I take advantage of this, without abusing this privilege and also, making sure I don't do enough that he forgets about me.


Well, this is a good sign. First, send the handwritten thank you note thanking him for the positive feedback and letting him know you appreciate his help. Then drop a tape in the mail every two months or so with some new stuff so it will jog his memory.

News Directors who are part of a group of stations usually have conference calls every few weeks or so. One of the things they talk about is the openings they have. So one might say, "I need a weekend anchor...anyone got any good tapes lately?" And that's when your name would come up.

You guys should all have a rolodex and keep the names of NDs who are nice to you and like you. You never know when your paths will cross in the future.


Grapevine,

I'm worried that if I send a tape to a station and I'm not ready for that market, the News Director will think badly of me and never look at another tape again. Is it worth the risk?


Trust me, NDs don't remember the tapes they don't like, usually because they eject them so quickly. They don't log names of applicants who don't have what they're looking for. Just send it and fuhgeddaboudit.

Out of all the tapes I've seen over the years, I can only remember one that I didn't like because it was so incredibly bizarre. In a really bad way.


Hey Grape,

Where you been? No posts for several days! I'm going through withdrawal.


Sorry, I was in airport hell. It's sort of like purgatory. Someone has to pray you outta there.


Dear Grape,

Can you explain why News Directors only watch ten or fifteen seconds of a tape before deciding to watch more? What can you possibly learn in that short period of time?


Very good question. It's a first impression sort of thing. Since the montage opens the tape, it gives you a quick glance at the person's look, personality, voice, energy, and the ability to show and tell. If a person doesn't have the particular combination of things you're looking for, you move on.

Lots of little things can cue the eject button. The ND might not like any one of the above traits. But remember, every single News Director has different tastes. That's why you can send the same tape to two people, and one will love you while the other can't hit the eject button fast enough.

But this does illustrate why you should put your absolute best clip on the front of your tape.

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