Interesting race going on in Salt Lake City, subject of our new Market Eye profile. KSL, which is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, has been the market leader forever. But there was a management change at the NBC affiliate, as Bob Johnson moved over to a different division of the company (he’s overseeing employee benefits for the church), and Jeff Simpson shifted to head up KSL after serving as EVP at the Mormon church’s Deseret Book Company.
Simpson and I kept missing each other on the phone, but connected after the issue went to print. He acknowledged a lack of local TV-specific experience, but he’s no stranger to the media, after an exec stint at Disney and founding Excel Entertainment Group.
“Sure, there’s a big learning curve,” he said.
Only a month into the job, Simpson didn’t let on much about his plans to keep KSL on top. But he said he’ll keep staffers on their toes.
“We’re trying to be aggressive during the change,” he said. “We want to make sure the quality stays high and we can grow audience amidst all the changes.”
There are indeed lots of changes, besides the management at KSL, in Salt Lake. High Plains’ KTVX recently turned on the high def, KSTU has weekend morning news, and KUTV and KJZZ have scrapped the latter’s nightly news.
And new people–loads of them–keep arriving in DMA No. 31.