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Scripps - General Discussion

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Mario Gabelli had a large stake in Media General prior to the Young merger. He even mediated between Media General and hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners (siding with them) who was trying to buy 3 seats on the board of directors, prior to the economic collapse of 2008. Harbinger wanted to divest the newly purchased NBC O&Os in Columbus and Providence and other "non-core" internet assets. By the time Harbinger sold their shares less than a year later, the economy and Media General itself was in peril.

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I still wonder about Scripps' TV game show, Let's Ask America. How's it doing?

Not very well... WXYZ dropped it in the fall and put it on WMYD in favor of The List. I don't know about other markets.

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Well here's more on the latest layoffs to "get more news-gatherers in the field gathering actual news" with a focus on Investigative:

 

http://www.adweek.com/tvspy/after-layoffs-scripps-says-it-wants-more-people-doing-actual-newsgathering/142922

 

Just to summarize from the article which cites the layoffs rumored to have happened at 3 stations:

WFTS:

Manager of The Investigative Unit (well that makes no sense given their stated focus)

Promotions Manager

Special Projects Producer (Investigative is under special projects at some stations at least)

 

WEWS:

8 people including a Creative Services Writer / Producer

 

KGTV:

Investigative EP (again a conflicting layoff)

Lead Assignment Editor (this is really a necessity to manage "gathering news")

GM's Executive Assistant

 

Their CEO said "“We are focused on digital video..." in touting the growth of Newsy and their intention to focus on growing that. Apparently that focus comes at the expense of their TV properties including in the areas they are focusing on... Something has to be up with them.

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I saw that yesterday. I really hope Scripps doesn't mess KMGH up too much.

 

Unlikely. They've wrecked KSHB. The only two Scripps stations I'm aware of that actually do well in their market are WCPO and definitely WPTV. WKBW is on the up-and-up, but when you were in as poor shape as they were before Scripps took over, you have nowhere to go BUT up.

 

Either way, I do believe that Scripps is slowly destroying itself from the inside out. They're going to learn this the hard way, yet will still look up when it all falls through and ask "what did we do wrong?"

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Unlikely. They've wrecked KSHB. The only two Scripps stations I'm aware of that actually do well in their market are WCPO and definitely WPTV. WKBW is on the up-and-up, but when you were in as poor shape as they were before Scripps took over, you have nowhere to go BUT up.

 

Either way, I do believe that Scripps is slowly destroying itself from the inside out. They're going to learn this the hard way, yet will still look up when it all falls through and ask "what did we do wrong?"

WXYZ is also doing relatively well if you measure by total viewers (not many Scripps stations get 2nd in the ratings in every slot with news except The Now and top rated Noon).... But advertisers of course don't exactly do that and they lack demos... I agree it's rotting from the inside out. There is usually a point of no return with these things where the damage is too great to fix.

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Well here's more on the latest layoffs to "get more news-gatherers in the field gathering actual news" with a focus on Investigative:

 

http://www.adweek.com/tvspy/after-layoffs-scripps-says-it-wants-more-people-doing-actual-newsgathering/142922

 

Just to summarize from the article which cites the layoffs rumored to have happened at 3 stations:

WFTS:

Manager of The Investigative Unit (well that makes no sense given their stated focus)

Promotions Manager

Special Projects Producer (Investigative is under special projects at some stations at least)

 

WEWS:

8 people including a Creative Services Writer / Producer

 

KGTV:

Investigative EP (again a conflicting layoff)

Lead Assignment Editor (this is really a necessity to manage "gathering news")

GM's Executive Assistant

 

Their CEO said "“We are focused on digital video..." in touting the growth of Newsy and their intention to focus on growing that. Apparently that focus comes at the expense of their TV properties including in the areas they are focusing on... Something has to be up with them.

 

Whether Journal is getting cold feet about the upcoming merger, sheer incompetence of Scripps' management, or some other bombshell, I have a feeling that Scripps' days in TV are numbered. Something is VERY wrong here. Even at the Journal stations, the people are running towards the exits it seems. Inbred content is going to be this company's downfall, ESPECIALLY after casting off top-tier syndication to their competitors on a silver platter.

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Scripps has its first rudder for KMGH: Brad Remington, whose last job in television was at KTVK, has been tapped as VP-GM. Apparently not only did he work at KDVR in 2006, he moved to Denver after leaving KTVK to become a "business entrepreneur".

 

Someone from Denver can probably say how KDVR was in the mid-late 2000s, but I know KTVK was kinda unremarkable and turned a real corner after he left and Cameryn Beck (now also in Scripps as a "senior director of news strategy" based out of Phoenix) was brought in.

 

KMGH still needs a news director.

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Whether Journal is getting cold feet about the upcoming merger, sheer incompetence of Scripps' management, or some other bombshell, I have a feeling that Scripps' days in TV are numbered. Something is VERY wrong here. Even at the Journal stations, the people are running towards the exits it seems. Inbred content is going to be this company's downfall, ESPECIALLY after casting off top-tier syndication to their competitors on a silver platter.

It goes way way back. WMAR started going down hill was 20 odd years ago when they dropped Oprah. In the last few years they've made good strides.

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It goes way way back. WMAR started going down hill was 20 odd years ago when they dropped Oprah. In the last few years they've made good strides.

Ideally it doesn't take 20 odd years to make strides... That shows poor management. And since Scripps is apparently run in a top down style and they are having many stations with serious issues right now it would suggest that upper management is very poor and has been for a while. WEWS's decline began a while ago too.

 

Apparently WPTV is indeed still #1 so Scripps has one feather under their cap, I can't think of another though. Scripps is hiring a bunch of senior directors of all kinds too to fill positions that should be filled to begin with... It makes me think some folks jumped ship recently.... In many of their markets stations need evening anchors... Weekend anchors... Morning anchors..... And lots of MMJ's so maybe that's some evidence of this new "more news gatherers" strategy...

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I agree, this company is destroying itself slowly. There's a reason I said Sinclair is a far better broadcaster than Scripps. Yes they have their stupid must-runs but for the most part they are hands off, and they give their people the resources to do their job adequately.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if another media group like COX Media Group buys Scripps within two years and rights the ship at these stations. Yes they would suck the personality out of most of their talent but in this instance they need it. Cox will cut the crap like "trending internet topics" and get back to real news.

 

We can only hope, right?

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I agree, this company is destroying itself slowly. There's a reason I said Sinclair is a far better broadcaster than Scripps. Yes they have their stupid must-runs but for the most part they are hands off, and they give their people the resources to do their job adequately.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if another media group like COX Media Group buys Scripps within two years and rights the ship at these stations. Yes they would suck the personality out of most of their talent but in this instance they need it. Cox will cut the crap like "trending internet topics" and get back to real news.

 

We can only hope, right?

One can hope... Is Cox a big standardizer or do they let their stations breathe a little and be individual?

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Cox isn't really big on standards- the closest stuff they have is the blue-and-gold color scheme used at several stations (though variants of one graphics package were used in the mid-to-late 90s by WSOC, WFTV, WHIO and KIRO).

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Back to the layoffs...

 

At our station, the Assistant News Director is in charge of the investigative pieces. We just have one reporter and a part-time producer for investigations, so it's not a priority any way you slice it. But I can see the logic behind laying off a special projects manager and giving the responsibility to another manager. I think at KSHB, they moved their special projects manager to their open nightside E.P. position.

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I agree, this company is destroying itself slowly. There's a reason I said Sinclair is a far better broadcaster than Scripps. Yes they have their stupid must-runs but for the most part they are hands off, and they give their people the resources to do their job adequately.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if another media group like COX Media Group buys Scripps within two years and rights the ship at these stations. Yes they would suck the personality out of most of their talent but in this instance they need it. Cox will cut the crap like "trending internet topics" and get back to real news.

 

We can only hope, right?

Cox would need to rid itself of their newspaper division in order for that to make sense.

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One can hope... Is Cox a big standardizer or do they let their stations breathe a little and be individual?

AFAIK, Cox is similar to post-LIN Media General in that it's pretty hands-off in standardizing.

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Scripps has its first rudder for KMGH: Brad Remington, whose last job in television was at KTVK, has been tapped as VP-GM. Apparently not only did he work at KDVR in 2006, he moved to Denver after leaving KTVK to become a "business entrepreneur".

 

Someone from Denver can probably say how KDVR was in the mid-late 2000s, but I know KTVK was kinda unremarkable and turned a real corner after he left and Cameryn Beck (now also in Scripps as a "senior director of news strategy" based out of Phoenix) was brought in.

 

KMGH still needs a news director.

 

Hm, so he was news director at KDVR in 2006. KDVR was actually fine until 2008/2009 when Dennis Leonard took over the news director position, which was when they were also merging with KWGN. That was a truly awful era. But before that, KDVR was very watchable and a decent product aside from the Tom Martino reports occasionally popping up and all the American Idol hype at the time, but that was just Fox anyway. I guess I'm glad they at least found someone local.

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Scripps has two classes of stock. The Scripps family controls the more powerful class. They'd have to consciously decide they wanted to throw in the towel before Scripps were to be sold. I'd increasingly like for that to happen, and it might happen sooner than some Big Media monolith buying their other company Scripps Networks Interactive (which also has a dual-class stock structure, and has been the subject of buyout speculation for years).

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KNXV has its news director; they're promoting Chris Kline, their director of new media, to the spot.

This will be an interesting test of their theory that a website guy can run an entire news department...

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It actually closes April 1. March 25 is the date by which Scripps shareholders of record can be paid a special one-time dividend.

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Michigans roads are awful. So WXYZ's solution is to get a Hummer H1 and bring you free tires to get you back on the road...

 

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