Diary of the KPSP G.M.

Jul 22, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Bill Evans, general manager at KPSP-TV, Palm Springs, Calif., agreed to keep a short diary for Electronic Media detailing the process of turning a low-power station that broadcasts old movies into a CBS affiliate. KPSP launches as a CBS affiliate Sept. 2.
March 11: Unbelievable! Return to Palm Springs for new CBS affiliate. Have spent 18 years in Palm Springs, but the last 18 months in Baton Rouge, La. By end of the day, I was working for Desert Television.
March 18: Work out exit strategy from Baton Rouge to stay there for an extra month while making trips to Palm Springs. Was working for Communication Corp. of America and oversaw its four stations there-NBC (WBLA-TV), Fox (WGMB-TV), WB (WBBR-TV) and UPN (WZUP-TV). Palm Springs: Secure permits, buy/install equipment, hire 65 people, plan news, secure cable deal. Weyrcliffe-Century will oversee buildout. Integration companies interviewed. Every waking hour spent interviewing personnel. General sales manager hired.
March 21: Palm Springs: Chief engineer hired. DST in California will handle integration. Gordon/Williams is general contractor. Budgets, projections, timelines. Still running four stations in Baton Rouge-did I mention a wife and three kids?
April 1: Baton Rouge: Company announces my leaving. Resumes flood Palm Springs. One came with arm of a doll attached: “I would give my right arm for a job” with CBS.
April 8: National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas: Buy weather, traffic, news systems, two live trucks. Meet with Nielsen Media Research. Attend meetings with Weyrcliffe and DST. Back to Baton Rouge to work on transition.
April 15: Palm Springs: Interview controller. No accounting system in place. Focus on news. Current local stations have young, inexperienced staff. Do the opposite. Cable put us on Channel 2, replacing KCBS-TV, Los Angeles.
April 22: Wrapped up Baton Rouge. Focus on national rep. Maybe it’s time to take national inside?
April 29: Met with Hope Golf Tournament. First time CBS will televise event. Meetings with engineering, advertisers, talent, top sales candidates.
May 6: Review tapes. Meet with office furniture companies, the county; employee attorney hired.
May 13: Working on promotions, graphics, bids on office equipment, meetings with syndicators.
May 20: Controller starts. Delays threaten sign-on. Decision is made to do national sales in-house. Family arrives.
May 27: Las Vegas for CBS affiliate meetings. Meet network personnel.
June 3: Sales department, news director, senior technical director and promotion manager start.
June 10: Permits issued. Review budgets. First sale. Begin spots asking viewers for feedback.
June 24: Contacted music licensing companies BMI, ASCAP and SEASAC to license music for commercials, news, etc. Hiring continues. Great hire in David Garcia, former White House correspondent, winner of 13 Emmys, and 25 years in L.A. Football package sells out.
July 1: 80 percent of staff hired. Presentation to sales. Construction catches up.
July 8: Have received 1,676 resumes for 65 positions.