Watching the Watchdog Stations
Jordan Wertlieb ,executive VP, Hearst Television
By Michael Malone -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/25/2012 12:01:00 AM
That’s how colleagues describe Jordan Wertlieb, who ascended to Hearst Television’s executive VP role early in 2011, with oversight of the group’s 29 stations.
It’s worth mentioning that several of those same phrases pop up when Hearst TV veterans describe David Barrett, the president and CEO.
Formerly the general manager of WBAL Baltimore (as was Barrett), Wertlieb has crisscrossed the country since shifting to corporate, seeing up close how the stations work. “It’s been reaffirming for me,” Wertlieb says, “to get around to the stations and see the important work that they do.”
More recently, Wertlieb, 47, assumed the chairmanship of the in! uential NBC affiliates board. In mid-June, he took over a director position on the National Association of Broadcasters’ television board. Taking on such leadership roles is a core value at Hearst TV. “It’s important for us to have a seat at the table,” says Wertlieb.
A University of Michigan grad, Wertlieb gleans management lessons from Wolverines football—what the storied program does right when it’s successful, and just as important, what goes wrong in the leaner years. He sees in Michigan many of the same principles that work for top-fiight media groups. “They’ve got a leading edge all the time,” he says. “They value their people and win the right way.”
With their dogged coverage of local politics, the Hearst TV newsrooms are in their element leading up to November’s elections. As part of the group’s Commitment 2012 initiative, each news station has pledged a minimum 12 minutes of daily political news and candidate discourse per weekday and, where possible, on weekends, in the month leading up to the primary and general elections. From the Hearst tower overlooking Central Park, Wertlieb, a New York native, will ensure the stations are on top of all local political stories, while pushing the group’s mobile DTV rollout as well.
Like legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembechler, Wertlieb sees himself as a player’s coach. “I like to think I fit the company profile—find real good people, set expectations and give them the opportunity to be creative and be thought leaders,” he says. “Empowering leaders is the benchmark of the company.”
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