Tag Archives: Lilly Broadcasting
Will Christmas-time be the “most wonderful time of the year” for Erie media?
I must say things seem to be looking that way. All indications show strength in advertising sales in all media, old and new. I am really enthusiastic at how the market has taken a huge leap forward with Lilly Broadcasting’s addition of news and first-run syndicated shows in HD, and it shows real commitment to the community with their November-long series of fundraisers for area charities.
You can even be positive that, although a headache for our friend Lou Baxter, the move of Nexstar’s Kim Thomas and Jill Perkins into politics makes more room for new talent and fresh ideas and enthusiasm.
Perhaps right now my greatest optimism is for what is coming out of the Erie Times-News newsroom. It seems that almost everyday were are getting a front page feature on the status of community assets that are critical for our region’s future. I couldn’t wait to read the pieces on the Warner Theater renovation and the Erie City Mission’s construction project, which were well written and comprehensive in their graphics and approach.
Solid, compelling content if promoted properly draws eyes and ears and translates to sales…always has, always will.
To the Grinches who think I sound like a naive cheerleader who shrills for the establishment; humbug. My heart aches every time a local cut-in is missed, or you go 10 hours listening to a station without hearing a jock, or the latest shipment from Butler is a few tons lighter than previously out of 12th Street. However, in a “its as good as it gets” reality, we celebrate when hard work, risk, and excellence are displayed.
And be nice…it’s Christmas!
Lilly Broadcasting has broken the High Definition barrier for daily local news in Erie.
WICU and WSEE are producing and broadcasting their news products in HD. In addition, on Monday WICU debuted their new 16:9 aspect ratio designed news set, complete with both a news desk and interview station. A brand new HD graphics package accompanied the transition, which looks big market.
Watching over a couple days you can really get the sense of what a huge undertaking this is. A month ago we began to see the beginnings of local HD origination with some syndicated programming broadcast in HD. All of the field cameras and editing equipment, studio cameras, new switchers, production suite, weather computers, and all the minutia has now been converted to the new system.
Much like that often-ignored “voice crying in the wilderness,” Brian Lilly is a prophet with a warning to media consumers in Erie and other mid-sized markets: the number of voices chronicling the events of the day will inevitably shrink.
In an hour-long, wide-ranging interview this weekend by Kim Young’s “Weekend All Things Erie” on WQLN Radio, Lilly, owner of two Erie TV stations, revealed his backstory, how he came to broadcasting and to Erie, the struggles and successes and his vision for the future of media in Erie and his other markets. Embedded in the talk is his forecast for what news looks like in the very foreseeable future:
You can survive if you are serving your local community because it’s all about doing the best job. And the local voices at the end of the day will be here, but it won’t be unfortunately five or six where it was historically in these cities, in mid-market cities, but it will be down to one or two. And I’m not just talking about television, I’m talking print, television, radio.
He admits that the hits he took during the consolidation of the WICU and WSEE newsrooms were painful and bothered him. He acknowledges the work that needs to be done with these stations, both in news product, production, and revenue, but is very complementary of his Erie staff. Lilly also talked about the challenge and expense of the digital transition, over-regulation and taxes, and his frustration with the decline of network content. He says that it will be another two to three years until the full effect of high-def TV will be realized in this market.
If you are a media watcher, the hour-long interview is a worthwhile download for your iPod. Find it at WQLN.org.
The new website for Lilly’s Broadcasting’s news products at WICU and WSEE is a huge improvement over what they had to date.
The design is clean, media-rich, and should be profitable. What’s interesting is that the on-air promos continue to push the individual domains for the TV stations, wsee.tv and wicu12.com, which then forward to erietvnews.com. I think that’s a good idea, since they have over a decade and a half of branding invested in those domains and rolling out a whole new brand is unnecessary and expensive. And it shows that in spite of much discussion in these parts, Lilly-Erie seems to be committed to keeping the individual news brands separate.
Features of the site are headlines up front, news articles with full-size video complete with ability to link and even embed video onto your own site, as well as share on Facebook or Twitter. There’s also satellite weather and only one ad “above the fold” so that your not wading through so many pop-ups to get to the top news. I like the bio page, with nice new pictures of the news staff and some witty personal stories, as well as the comprehensive directory of the entire company, complete with phone extensions and email links…I appreciate the willingness to be available to the viewers.
They’ve also included a mobile version of the site, which now joins YourErie.com in having separate mobile strategy for a mainstream Erie news outlet. We’ve yet to see any kind of mobile app to come out of GoErie.com/Erie Times-News.
There is still some cleanup to do at erietvnews.com, some design issues including random white space and lines that fall off, along with broken links. However, we are grateful for the investment made in this technology that really enhances viewer’s lives.
When we asked last month about your favorite cable news channel, over one-third of P&T respondents said that it was Fox News Channel, followed by CNN and MSNBC.
It seems these days that there is an app for just about everything, and now that includes local Erie news. Nexstar has added the YourErie.com 2Go app for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry. Meanwhile Lilly Broadcasting has contracted with a new web provider that will most definitely give them a mobile presence, and GoErie.com doesn’t look too shabby on my Android browser.
It does make me wonder if the mainstream news operations really embraced mobile, would their eyeballs on their content and advertising jump up considerably? Would that include you?
Would you read or watch more local Erie news if available on a mobile app on your smartphone or tablet/iPad?
- Yes, definately. (34%, 11 Votes)
- No, not at all. (25%, 8 Votes)
- I don't have a smartphone, tablet or even iPod Touch! (25%, 8 Votes)
- Maybe, it depends. (16%, 5 Votes)
Total Voters: 32
What glass ceiling?
The rise of market veteran Pam Forsyth to General Manager of Lilly Broadcasting’s WICU, WSEE, and WBEP is a significant milestone. Yet it is a natural outcome in a market that has long valued its female media professionals. Just last month, Lisa Adams was upped to News Director at the same cluster; who when joined by Program Director Paula Randolph creates a context where powerful female voices are heard from the entire spectrum of a station’s operation.
Meanwhile, downtown we find the Erie Times-News/GoErie.com and Connoisseur Media’s six radio stations with women in the CEO chair. And don’t forget that many ad deals are conducted by agencies led by women, including Ad Person of the Year, Pauline Gonda of Rambaldo Gonda Media.
Perhaps what makes the Forsyth promotion so exciting is that Pam came up through the ranks locally, starting in local radio sales at WSEG in the 1980′s, eventually hitting the streets for channel 12 where she has been most effective and empathetic for her clients and the viewers. I can’t think of a better person who can not only maximize revenues and market share while bringing continued healing and solidarity to the merged group.
The world of Mad Men seems a million years ago compared to this age of Erie media.
When we asked P&T readers about the most likely headlines they might see as the close of 2011, a plurality said that they didn’t think local news in high definition would be a reality this year. Almost one-fourth predicted a single-branded newscast coming out of 35th & State.
Well the big announcement for Verizon Wireless subscribers finally came last week: the new iPhone for Verizon will be released February 10th. My feeling is that with Verizon’s market share in this area, the iPhone will be a big winner in the Erie market. It might even turn the heads of local late adopters who have been holding out. How about you? Are you thinking about going smartphone in 2011?
Will you be buying a new smartphone in 2011?
- No...I already have a smartphone (44%, 16 Votes)
- No...I don't want a smartphone (42%, 15 Votes)
- Yes...I will be buying an Android OS phone (11%, 4 Votes)
- Yes...I will be buying an iPhone (3%, 1 Votes)
- Yes...I will be buying a BlackBerry (0%, 0 Votes)
- Yes...I will be buying a Windows Mobile phone (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 36