By Sharon Donovan -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/20/2004 8:00:00 PM
Vice president, marketing & promotions
Small-town TV stations typically aren't usually as strong in marketing and branding as their counterparts in large urban markets. For stations under the Nexstar Broadcasting banner, though, help is on the way.
One of the industry's go-to guys, Paul Greeley is the company's first hire to focus specifically on the stations' individual marketing and promotion plans. In some cases, he creates the image from the ground up. In others, he provides a remedy. Greeley, vice president of marketing and promotions, brings 20 years of experience as a writer, producer, and marketer to the rescue of stations with nonexistent or inadequate brands.
Nexstar owns or manages more than 45 stations. Clustered primarily in small and midsize markets in the Northeast, Midwest, and Southwest, they cumulatively reach more than 8 million TV households, or approximately one of every 14 households in America.
Nexstar has a diversified mix of network affiliations and geographic locations, with no market accounting for more than 11% of its overall revenue. Considered one of the country's top operators in midsize markets, it has a range of major network affiliations, including NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, and UPN.
Nexstar also produces local-news programming in 22 of its 27 markets, with approximately one-third of advertising revenue earned from inventory sold during local-news broadcasts.
"Our local brand and identity are tied to news," says Nexstar President Perry Sook. "We produce more than 515 hours weekly in local news—a mission we find critical in an increasingly fragmented universe. The goal is to underscore our relevance to viewers and provide useful information."
In Sook's view, each station is fundamentally a local service business that happens to be a TV station. "If we are ask the community to invest their ad dollars with us," he says, "then we must invest in public affairs."
While each of the stations has its unique brand, they do share the fundamentals of Nexstar's branding message, Greeley says. The stations' local newscasts and involvement in the community are hallmarks that differentiate them from the competition. Greeley's branding and marketing initiatives are designed to update and upgrade the station's image and make those distinctions obvious.
The strategy to seed the small stations with branding and marketing campaigns pays off, Sook says. One of Nexstar's station acquisitions in the Northeast had no image and no connection with the community, and it aired the least amount of news. Today, it has a clear branding message for viewers: "There is a difference everyday." That about sums up Greeley's job.
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