Tim Penning from GVSU, who I saw recently at the Neighborhood News Bureau kick-off meeting, send me this link from this morning’s Wall Street Journal.

I just read it.  The reporters pretty much nailed how bad TV station economics are these days and how stations are responding by cancelling newscasts and laying off staff.

BUT, I think that’s just half the picture.  And, while the article does include this quote:

“….Stations are scrambling to find new revenue streams. Some are testing out technology that will send their signals to cellphones and mobile devices, and beefing up their Web sites to boost online advertising…”

I think they could have done more with the positives we do have.  So, I’ll share some, from just West Michigan – I know every market can share other stories:

  • Community shows.  WZZM 13, the station I work at as News Director, has run Take Five and Company for almost 5 years.  As a community show, it gives viewers an hour-long look at our community.  For local advertisers, it’s a way to advertise at a rate they can afford.  I know WOOD and WOTV run various programs on our community including  Eva Aguirre-Cooper and Maranda’s ‘Where You Live’.
  • Community projects.  This, to me, is another win-win-win for everyone.  The community wins in the form of more coats, food, toys – whatever the cause is.  Businesses are able to associate with a positive, local effort.  Stations are able to help customers and make some money along the way.  ABC on cable won’t care too much about that.
  • Digital TV channels.  Every TV station in the market runs at least digital channel available for free to those people who watch us on antennas/rabbit ears and are on local cable.  For example, we run the On Target Weather Network.  One of WWMT’s digital channels is the CW7.
  • Web sites.  This could be another article topic all by itself!  WZZM 13 has our main site, plus sites for moms and shoppers.  At woodtv.com, you can connect to marandatv.com.
  • Mobile.  Besides our local site, many stations are part of the Open Mobile Video Coalition, or OMVC.

I am not saying the Journal article is off the mark.  We are in the toughest economic climate I have seen in my 21 years in television, as well as the biggest transformation in decades.  I just wanted to share that the fight is far from over.

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