WKRN’s GM announces his departure via his blog

Mike Sechrist, general manager of Nashville’s ABC-affiliate and champion of the station’s aggressive adaptation of blogging, outreach to bloggers, and approaches to news-gathering that put video camcorders in the hands of reporters, has announced he is departing the station on Friday. On NashvilleIsTalking.com, the station’s local blog aggregator and the touchstone of the local blogging community, host-blogger Brittney comments about needing to “work on her resumé” and the Nashville blogosphere lights up the comments thread with some say-it-ain’t-sos. Developing.

  • Rex, maybe you can point out a flaw in my logic. I am truly concerned about Brittney and Carter. If the Station is losing money, wouldn’t the logical thing to do is bring in a cost-cutting type of GM? If NiT generates no revenue…well, you can see why I’d be concerned. I also wonder about some of the newest reporter hires. I think everyone that is a part of NiT hopes that the new person will have the vision to allow NiT and VV develop, at least long enough to become revenue neutral. What I’m wondering, ultimately, is this the beginning of some Station wide purge, ala “Broadcast News”, only on a local level?

  • How’s this: I read the post on NiT a few minutes after it was posted and called my husband (a WKRN employee who was out shooting a story) and told HIM the news about his boss…

  • Rex Hammock

    Mack, do we know the station is losing money? I know they are usually in the ratings cellar of local news, but I don’t recall reading where they are “losing money.” If they are, I don’t think I would start blaming Brittney and Carter. Having just returned from LA where I attended a day-long conference on the economics of “social media” that included the top executives of Fox, CBS, NBC, I can say with some certainty that “TV” companies are turning on a firehose of investment in attempting to find ways of engaging an audience online.

  • No, Rex, I in no way meant to imply that Brittney and carter are in any way at fault. What i said is that I have been told that the Station is losing money, so naturally the inclination of the owners is usually to sell, or bring in a bean counting type of GM. If I were there to strictly get the operation back in the black, I would look hard at eliminating departments that bring in no quantifiable revenue. I don’t wish this on anyone, I really like carter and brittney. I asked you because I thought someone told me you had good connections in local media. I would have settled for an informed opinion.

  • Mack, the station has never lost money and is in no danger of losing money. Broadcasting is a very profitable business. It’s just not as profitable as it once was. Please keep in mind that when people talk about ratings they are generally referring to what Nielsen calls household ratings. No one sells household ratings. We sell demographics. Those are the ratings collected in November, February, May and July, commonly referred to as sweeps months. A station can be last in household ratings but be number two or even one in demo’s. Rex is right when he says TV companies, the smart ones, are looking for ways of increasing their involvement in new media. No one should be concerned about their jobs. This move was initiated on my part. Had nothing to do with revenue or ratings, just my desire to concentrate in the world of new media.