UPN became the fourth network this year to cancel or restructure its annual affiliate meeting. It will conduct a week-long series of regional meetings in New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco, starting June 5.
Also, the network will hold quarterly teleconferences with affiliates and will continue its series of regional sales meetings, to be held in early summer.
UPN President Adam Ware says the annual meeting was becoming less well attended, less compelling and an easy target for cost-conscious stations in a soft advertising economy. And it wasn't providing much in the way of meaningful communication, he says.
The new set-up should help that, he says. UPN is inviting owners and general managers to the regional meetings, and all the key UPN executives who attended the annual meeting will attend all the regional meetings. "Instead of having eight to 10 of us talking to maybe 200 affiliates, we'll have the same people talking to 20 or 30 affiliates at a time. They will have already seen our new programming. It will give us a better regional perspective."
Dave Hanna, president and general manager of Lockwood Broadcast Group and chairman of the UPN affiliates board of governors, agrees the new approach should improve communications. "I endorse UPN's efforts to go regional."