The Evangelists: Deb McDermott

Apr 23, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Title: Executive vice president of operations, Young Broadcasting.
TV stations owned: 12, which cover 11.5 percent of the country.
Hometown: Brookings, S.D.
Education: Journalism degree from South Dakota State University.
First job: Director of promotions and public relations at CBS affiliate KOLN-TV, Lincoln, Neb.
Background: Ms. McDermott is the only woman currently overseeing a television station group. In addition to day-to-day operations, she is in charge of acquisitions and was instrumental in acquiring longtime NBC affiliate KRON-TV, San Francisco, last year. KRON will turn independent at 3 a.m. Jan. 1.
After spending seven years at KOLN, Ms. McDermott became program director and oversaw operations at ABC affiliate KMBC-TV, Kansas City, Mo. She left to become station manager at WKRN-TV, Nashville, Tenn., and was the station’s general manager when Young bought it a few years later. “I love news. I love localism. I love the impact that a television station can make in this community-it can make a difference,” she said. “ If you’ve got to work for a living, you might as well do something you really enjoy.”
One of Ms. McDermott’s first major acquisitions in her role as Young’s executive vice president of operations was KCAL-TV, Los Angeles, which Young bought in 1996. With KCAL and KRON, Young has become one of the last top station groups with strong independent stations. “Each one of those [stations] added incredible value to our company and really enhanced our value,” Ms. McDermott said. “Even though our business is going through a transition, this is a great time for our business. The economy will get better and will improve. TV is still a mass medium and makes a huge impact on the local community.”
Key to local stations’ future: “Localism is going to become more important. The more local stations are, the more successful they will be.”