The soon to conclude year has been one of the most challenging in local television history. Sure, there are the issues everyone running a TV operation today faces: How to make social media work for your content; how to keep your programming in front of users on the go; and how to monetize it all amidst an economy that hardly inspires confidence in consumers to cough up their cash.
But local TV outlets around the country also contended with an extraordinary number of natural disasters in their own backyards- dire situations where station personnel were first informers, providing what was at times life and death information for the community.
Tornadoes devastated Tuscaloosa, Ala., in April, and Joplin, Mo., in May, forcing local TV reporters to put aside personal loss to focus on delivering timely and accurate information to the local citizenry on TV, on the Web, and on mobile.
There was Hurricane Irene, which many in the media reported as a close call for the U.S. as the storm was downgraded to tropical storm. But it was every bit a large, slow-moving and lethal hurricane-a Category 1 one at that-when it made landfall Aug. 27 in North Carolina and forced general managers to enact the emergency plans they had crafted, drilled-and hoped to never deploy.
From floods to wildfires, and even that once-in-a-century earthquake that rocked the East Coast, local stations were at times forced to report under the most trying circumstances. Because that is what their FCC license mandates, and that is what their DNA tells them to do.
And while 2012 will be particularly lucrative for TV stations amidst the November election, 2011 was a year when those in local TV did a lot more with less. This year, they turned over every rock to grab revenue from an array of competitors that expands each day.
From managing through these crises to aiding and improving a beleaguered city to providing difference-making news on a range of multimedia platforms, none did it better than B&C's 2011 General Managers, News Director, and Multiplatform Broadcaster of the Year. Profiles of these exceptional professionals are featured on the following pages.
GM of the Year, Markets 1-25
GM of the Year, Markets 26-50
GM of the Year, Markets 51+
Multiplatform Broadcaster of the Year
News Director of the Year