Dale Woods: Managing the Underdog That’s Barking at the Door
WHO Des Moines GM Dale Woods uses unrivaled commitment to weather, politics to chip away at longtime market leader
By Tim Baysinger -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/24/2012 12:01:00 AM
Agriculture is a major industry in the state, and Woods tapped into that by putting a big emphasis on the NBC af! liate’s weather coverage. “[That’s] one of the things we’ve done a great job of capitalizing on,” he says. WHO is the only station with a 24-hour weather channel. And while KCCI was cutting back on meteorologists, Woods says, he added to his weather staff. WHO is also building new S-Band radar and will be one of the first stations in the country to have it.
Woods says it’s all about making sure his station gives Iowans the news that matters most to them. “We focus so much of the news and the content on keeping it local,” he says. WHO was also the first station in the No. 72 DMA to go fully high-definition. Woods also oversaw what he calls a “Brokaw to Williams” transition on the anchor desk, as 25-year veteran John Bachman retired in November, with Dan Winters replacing him.
As for the year’s political coverage, Woods says he knew early on that Iowa would keep to its tradition of being a swing state. While Woods says KCCI cut back on its political coverage, he decided to turn up the heat. “Early on we made a commitment to cover the campaign, the candidates and the issues every day,” he says. “We already were a leader in the political arena.”
Woods also notes that WHO anchor Erin Kiernan earned the station a national Edward R. Murrow Award for Journalism Excellence in 2012, its third in the last four years.
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