Take time to appreciate broadcasting’s strength

In the News
Steve Lavin

I was in a training session with some of the station staff in mid-August. I reviewed my notes this week to try to spark an idea for this column. I have to admit, I have a ton of ideas of topics to write, but I often struggle as to whether the readers would care.

One sentence that caught my attention was,”Do we fully appreciate what we are today versus remembering what we were yesterday?”  I thought back to some of the audience numbers I could quote to prospective media buyers when I broke into the TV sales business back in 1996. They were huge. TV stations had one channel with a variety of network, syndicated, and news programs that in one program could deliver an audience that exceeded the capacity of Lambeau Field. I’m sure there were radio groups that could find audiences that dwarfed the capacity of the large stadiums in their local market.

I quickly thought back to where I started my career. I started in the local newspaper business. The day I started there were 400 employees and our Sunday circulation was darn near six figures.

Do I ever appreciate what we are today! There is no doubt, as local broadcast radio and television broadcasters, our business model is changing, but it is far from broken. Had we not changed we would become increasingly irrelevant. Innovation and technology have allowed us to more efficiently and effectively run our operations. We are able to monetize our valuable digital and social media content that wasn’t even invented back in the mid-90s. Our local broadcast radio and TV creative advertising messages delivered to the right audiences still puts butts in seats, creates website visits, and makes the phones ring. Our news departments still hold public officials accountable and when severe weather is approaching the market still trusts local broadcasters to keep them out of harm’s way.

And, I appreciate I can do this in the great state of Wisconsin that provides our employees with exceptional quality of life and a taste of all four seasons. Your business interests are supported by one of the best, if not the best, state broadcasters associations in the country.