Channel 6 General Manager On Ratings, Ken Bell Fate & Changes
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Chris Tzianabos is Vice President & General Manager over at Channel 6.
He is fairly new to the job. Not new to broadcasting though.
In fact, he admitted it.
“We Are Not Going To Be Number 1 Overnight”
While there have been some articles here critical of Channel 6 and specifically the new owners that took over – Tzianabos is a guy who tells it like it is and didn’t try to haze over some of the challenges Channel 6 faces. In a recent interview, he was refreshingly blunt and did not try to spin what has dogged the station for years---long before he came along.
The station has and continues to struggle with an identity problem and is not always taken seriously. Not because of the people who work there – but the commitment to news that has not been there in years.
“It’s undisputed that Channel 10 is dominant in the market – Channel 12 does a great job – and we are not going to be number one overnight..we’ll need to peck away at it –slowly but surely” Tzianabos said. This is a change from some of the past recent news directors who actually held staff meetings to tell people that they would be beating Channel 10 in the next one or two ratings books. Nothing could be more foolish and for the staff they knew it was bogus as well to talk like that.
Tzianabos says the first step is to focus on content above all else. To that end, he has made some significant changes.
First off, morning anchor Mark Curtis is off the early news broadcast and will primarily report for the 6pm news. He’ll focus on politics, the State House and Investigative reporting. That means Doreen Scanlon and Meteorologist Steve Cascione will be the main talent in the morning. Cascione – according to Tzianabos, will “play a much more active role in the show – we want to showcase his talents and his years on TV”.
Cascione sure does have years on TV around here and it’s a good move to get him out in front more – he knows RI. He’s logged at least 32-years in TV and has spent about 25-years at Cascione will be more of a personality during the morning show—doing interviews and interacting with the audience more. In other words, he’ll have more face and since he and Ken Bell are the most recognizable people on the station it should have been
The station is also promising more public appearances. And for a market like Providence that is key. People like to see news personalities in person. It’s a big deal and smart for Tzianabos to push his staff to do more of.
“Morning Reporter In May”
Another change in the morning is that starting in May – full time reporter will be assigned to the show. For years, Channel’s 10 and 12 have had a morning reporter but Channel 6 will now devote resources as well which had to be done. With just a little movement and lead in help from Good Morning America which has been doing better as of late – the payoff for Channel 6 in terms of advertising revenue would be well worth the hire.
When asked if ABC6 was planning to start their early news show at 4:30am like 10 &12 – Tzianabos said flat out there are other priorities right now. “We have to fix what we have…be relevant to people…we have a lot of work to do”.
When the new management took over – we saw some dramatic changes. A new 6pm female anchor was named. Long-time Sports Anchor Don Coyne parted ways with the station.
And then there was the Ken Bell talk.
For those of you who have never met Ken Bell- he is by far one of the most well-liked and most respectful person you will ever meet in TV. Bell has been with Channel 6 for more than 25-years now and for the new owners to have replaced him with some “25-year old sports caster from Buffalo” would have been perhaps the worst thing to do. So according to Tzianabos, Bell is here to stay and any rumors to the contrary are just that—rumors. “I am a huge Ken Bell fan – one guy I would always watch when I was in Boston was Ken Bell – you will not meet a more positive person than Ken Bell”.
The other changes at 6 also include some new hires and new faces. Alexandra Cowley joins the reporting ranks. Before coming to WLNE, Alexandra worked at WCJB-TV in Gainesville, Florida where she reported and anchored. In addition, Abbey Niezgoda comes on board as a ‘Multi-media Journalist” which means she has the ability to both shoot and edit her own stories. And James Swierzbin comes to the station from a TV job in Iowa.
The station has beefed up its reporting staff. Tzianabos was asked if there are any plans to bring back the successful “You Paid For It” Investigative franchise. He said the station had decided to do away with it and there are no plans to bring it back in that same form. That news franchise, in its prime, was the most talked about Investigative unit in town and it seems it would be smart to capitalize on that branding – but apparently that’s not what the new management has in mind.
For the owners of Channel 6- Providence is the biggest market they have owned a TV station in. And so they could learn a thing or two about how big stations and big markets cover the news from Tzianabos – but he’ll need the tools.
Money and People.
Seems like they’re letting him hire some people – let’s hope there’s money there too
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