Readers wanted to know where she went and now we can report that WSVN reporter Alexa Helms is changing stations and heading north to Chicago for what rumor has it is an anchoring job. Helms joined 7News in October 2012 from El Paso duopoly KTSM/KDBC.
As the news business goes, her new job has a South Florida connection. According to Chicago media columnist Rober Feder, Alexa Helms will anchor the 9pm Saturday and Sunday newscasts on WFLD FOX32, which haven’t had a permanent anchor since Amara Walker (Sohn) left for CNN. Walker of course used to report for WTVJ until 2012 when she moved to Chicago.
WPTV’s golden boy and investigative reporter Dan Krauth has found his way down south and joined WTVJ with the same job title. Krauth spent the last three years at the Palm Beach affiliate as an investigative reporter winning several awards for his work, most recently a Murrow award for an investigative piece about 911 operators.
Today WTVJ became the second Miami TV station to reach 100,000 likes on their Facebook page, third when you include WPEC in Palm Beach.
Like TV ratings, collecting Facebook likes has become a competition between the stations as they try not just to connect with viewers who spend a lot of time on the social network, but also with those who do not watch as much local news anymore. Using giveaways is the most popular way of attracting likes, a couple of years ago Channel 6 went full-bore and gave away iPads almost every day of the week, while encouraging people to tune the station’s morning newscast to see if they had won. That tactic along with more engaging posts that nudge readers to tap the share button seems to be paying off as so called engagement rates are up.
Though whether these tactics would work long-term is still not known, especially now that page posts reach only about 1-5% of their audience, and Facebook steering bigger brands into spending money to have their posts seen by more people.
Open government advocacy groups The Campaign Legal Center, and the Sunlight Foundation have filed complaints with the FCC against several broadcast TV stations for failing to properly and completely disclose information about political ads paid for by Democrat and Republican groups.
One of the stations targeted is WTVJ for failing to disclose information in its online public file about a political ad it aired in January of this year as required by FCC regulations and the Communications Act.
The ad paid for by LIBRE, a grassroots organization with headquarters in Mission, TX targeted a local congressman for his support of the Affordable Care Act and paid WTVJ $21,075 (including commissions) to air the commercial. In its public file Channel 6 disclosed the contract, rates, dates and times the ad ran but failed to disclose the candidate targeted by the ad and the issue.
NAB form PB-18 asks whether the ad communicates a “message relating to any political matter of national importance” and uses the Affordable Care Act as an example of such issue, WTVJ left that area of the form blank.
The Sunlight Foundation filed similar complaint against ten other broadcast television stations for similar violations.
[WTVJ Complaint] [PDF]
Just a few short years ago WTVJ had ratings so low on some days it was hard to tell whether anyone was watching. The lack of investment by NBC, a myriad of layoffs, and departures of talent before and after the failed takeover by WPLG, and later Comcast, left NBC 6 with a skeleton crew and a lot of broken equipment and a suffering news product.
We heard stories of broken live trucks, we were told they were down to two working live trucks, and had such an inability to generate content our insiders told us that staffers watched the other stations in town were doing and would copy and rewrite the rundowns and VOs.
In an interview with industry site TVNewscheck NBC Owned Stations president Valari Staab says WTVJ was “was the one on the shakiest ground”. She credits the renewal of the station to former GM Manny Martinez who ran NBC 6 for more than a year before Staab transferred him to Telemundo at the end of 2013. She also thinks WTVJ has “one of the prettiest sets in the country.”
Staab says putting back the creative departments, instead of the centralized approach NBC employed before is another reason for the success of WTVJ and the rest of the station group. Along with heavy investment in resources like equipment, facilities, and talent.
Another interesting bit from the interview is that TV Everywhere will launch around June, allowing cable customers to stream the full schedule of NBC-owned stations live on their PCs or mobile devices.