The most interesting experience I had during my last two weeks with WAVY-TV was shadowing the sales department for a morning. It showed me a side of a news organization that I’m not used to seeing, and I learned about the symbiotic relationship the sales team has with the news teams. Though news and sales are very different disciplines, a successful TV station cannot function without both of them working in tandem. They are two equally important parts of whole – if one half struggles, the other will follow.
Sales are vital to a TV station because they generate the majority of the revenue. At WAVY, there seems to be a real emphasis on giving local businesses a chance to associate themselves with the station’s brand. Everything is driven by ratings, so sales must work closely with news and digital departments. Programming that generates high ratings can sell advertising spots at a higher price. I thought the analytics behind figuring out how to best reach a target audience were fascinating, such as knowing consumption habits for each demographic. Data is clearly very important in sales.
I also learned that televised sports are relevant to salespeople because they offer some of the most desirable advertising spots for customers. Sporting events generate huge numbers of viewers and for the most part, people watch them live and therefore are not skipping through the ads.
Back with the sports department, I gained more experience working in the field and in the office. I shadowed Nathan Epstein as he filmed two unique packages. The first was a story about a local youth baseball coach who won a Subway-sponsored contest after being nominated by his team for his outstanding work. I took photos and video at the presentation of the award. We almost got rained on, but finished shooting just before the storm hit.
The second was a story about throwback night at a Norfolk Tides game, which drew a big crowd with an offer of 50 cents each for a hot dog, popcorn and soda. It was helpful to watch the way Nathan approached potential interviewees in a professional way.
Over the next few weeks, I hope to get more practice outside of the office and continue writing articles about the FIFA World Cup for the WAVY website. After my morning with the sales department, I’m also looking forward to my next shadow day with the digital team.