TV Managers of the Year: WSB, Atlanta

Apr 13, 2008  •  Post A Comment

WSB-TV, winner of TelevisionWeek’s TV Managers of the Year award for the Southeast region, is the sister station of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a flagship station of Cox Enterprises.
“We win all newscasts in head-to-head competition,” said General Manager Bill Hoffman. “There’s a Fox station [WAGA-TV] we battle demographically, but we don’t go head-to-head with them.”
WSB focuses mainly on local news. “It’s all about serving the community,” Mr. Hoffman said.
Art Rogers, a Georgia native and WSB’s director of programming and news production, said the station’s goals tie in smoothly to the area’s needs and history.
“It starts with trust,” he said. “We’ve been serving this area since 1948.”
Some of the station’s reporters and anchors have been in place for decades. “We’ve got John Pruitt, who started here as a young reporter over 40 years ago,” Mr. Rogers said. “And Monica Pearson [the station’s top anchorwoman, known as Monica Kaufman until 2005] has been here 33 years.
“Viewers know these are people with personal credibility,” he said.
News Director Marian Pittman said she thinks “all of the Cox-owned stations, including WSB, know how to recruit good people and keep good people,” but she added the station tries to add new blood to the mix to maintain the vitality of the station.
“We’ve infused some energy to the staff while preserving the fabric of WSB,” she said. “The newer folks we’ve hired are learning from the veterans, and there’s a lot of new technology everyone’s learning.”
That new technology certainly seems to be coming in handy in the region, where inclement weather has kept the news crews jumping in recent times. The station is looking to provide HD cameras for all of its photographers in the field, in part to keep up with the region’s steady influx of storms.
“Atlanta seems to be in a vortex location,” said Mr. Hoffman, “where warm air and cold air are constantly colliding. It’s an active weather region. We can feel the aftermath of hurricanes that come up from the Gulf, and we get massive winds.
“We have four meteorologists at our beck and call,” he said, “and they know to be available when lives are at stake.”
“We have the biggest number of trucks and people and cameras on the street [in the region],” Mr. Rogers said, “and also the biggest investment in equipment and resources. Our helicopter is equipped with an HD camera, and our local news is all hi-def.
“We weren’t the first to do that,” he admitted, “so since we weren’t the first, we try to be better.”
“[The newscasts] could involve protecting people and cars and homes,” Mr. Hoffman said. “When tornadoes hit the Atlanta area on March 15, we provided 18 hours of news coverage in a 24-hour period. We got a 21 household rating; our nearest competitor was doing a 5. People want to get the news, and we want to be the dominant station when it comes to severe weather coverage.
“Even during the recent hailstorms,” he added, “we notified our viewers that hail was on the way, and we got hundreds of calls letting us know that viewers had been able to get their cars in place to protect them from the hail.”
WSB serves 54 counties—essentially all of North Georgia—encompassing 2.35 million Nielsen households. In addition to strong local news coverage, the station focuses on what Mr. Hoffman believes is “the oldest public service in the South, called ‘Family 2 Family.’” The program addresses a wide range of family issues, he said, “identifying and proposing solutions” for topics including education, safety and health, concerns for the elderly, pet issues and other concerns affecting the lives of viewers.
Mr. Rogers also is proud of WSB’s commitment to public service through local programming.
“Local programming isn’t as popular for stations anymore,” he said, “but thanks to Cox, we’ve been able to produce a lot of it since 1982.”
The station aired 22 hours of prime-time specials last year, Mr. Rogers said, including six long-form documentaries. “We did a show called ‘Georgia’s Hidden Treasures’” that showcased places to visit around the state,” he said. “We aired two of those, and both times it outdrew all the competition in its timeframe when it aired.”
Under its Family 2 Family banner, the station brought in a financial expert “to help families in Georgia work through the mortgage crisis,” he said, and gathered a number of local authorities for a forum to try to prevent the closure of Grady Hospital, Atlanta’s only Level I trauma center.
WSB was instrumental in bringing “The King Papers” home to Atlanta “where they belong.”
Sharing rights to the story only with CNN, WSB aired a special about the journals kept by Martin Luther King Jr. as a young politician, interspersed with commentary by human rights activists such as former Atlanta Mayor and UN Ambassador Andrew Young.
“Coretta Scott King had kept the papers in the basement of their home,” said Mr. Rogers, “and the family was going to auction them at Sotheby’s to prevent a financial crisis. After we aired the special, the community—along with station owner Cox Enterprises—raised $32 million to keep the papers here.
“We get calls and emails for weeks afterward when we air something like that,” Mr. Rogers said.
“A lot of them are from teachers wanting a copy to show in their classrooms, and we always provide that. That’s something that helps teach a whole new generation.”
“We got a pretty good game plan,” Mr. Hoffman said. “We want to super-serve our viewers day in and day out. We have depth and detail in breaking news. We have strong enterprise reporting, strong investigative reporting and great storytelling on the things that are happening.”
The station is ready for the digital conversion, Mr. Hoffman said, adding that one of the challenges in the near future will be to continue to provide its standard of coverage in a changing market.
“Atlanta’s a good TV market,” Mr. Hoffman said. “People enjoy watching television, and they watch a lot of local news. We have a lot of platforms: mobile, over-the-air and Internet. The mobile platform is growing very strong; the Internet platform is very strong. We want to be able to maintain our abilities to communicate in all those markets.”


  1. Please advise what cable channel in Atlanta will carry the TOUR DE FRANCE? R. Schwind

  2. Hello
    I wanted to share with you a wonderful site I just came across teaching Krav Maga Online If you guys have seen the Discovery Channel TV Show called Fight Quest you would have seen their chief instructor Ran Nakash there featured on their Krav Maga episode. Anyways, let me know what you think. Is training via the internet something you would do?

  3. hi guys,new UK bodybuilder here, looks like a decent forum with lots of good info – hopefully i can contribute & learn.
    penny stock pick

  4. Folks,
    I’m Looking to purchase Entertainment Centers or TV Wall Units For a new boutique hotel I’m working at in.
    Can anyone give me a good recommendation of where is the best place to buy these? I live in Kansas and I heard that the big thing about these units is the cost of shipping and installation.

  5. Someone Leaked the movie from the studios and its great! The Sceanrio and the plot was extreamly well played out. i loved every minute of it!
    Watch The New Twilight Movie Online Now

  6. very nice and informative…

  7. Great post!

  8. New York Jets jerseys is very beautiful.

  9. Very handy place of duty. Bookmarked. Credit on behalf of it!

  10. Ice hockey is an interesting exercise, I like it.

  11. I cant believe the NHL is going to risk losing one of the best players in his prime to the nHL

  12. Thanks for your insight for the great written piece. I am glad I have taken the time to read this.

  13. Interesting layout on your blog. I really enjoyed reading it and also I will be back to read more in the future.

  14. This is the best blog I’ve ever seen in my life! I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to share your this with everyone.

  15. Hey how are you doing? I just wanted to stop by and say that it’s been a pleasure reading your blog. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back & read more in the future as well. plz do keep up the quality writing

  16. Can I quote you in my report for school?

  17. I love the expression. Everyone needs to express there own opinion and feel free to hear others. Keep it up 🙂

  18. I really like the colors here on your blog. did you design this yourself or did you outsource it to a professional?

  19. Way to focus and straight to your point, i love it. Keep up the work people. Dont let anyone stop us bloggers.

  20. You made some nice points there. I did a search on the theme and found a good number of folks will go along with with your blog.

  21. I agree with your thoughts here and I really love your blog! I’ve bookmarked it so that I can come back & read more in the future.

  22. I would like to start my own blog one day. This was a really nice blog that you made here. Keep up the success 😛

  23. I love the expression. Everyone needs to express there own opinion and feel free to hear others. Keep it up 🙂

  24. Amazing freakin blog here. I almost cried while reading it!

  25. Nice blog subject. thanks for letting me add something!

  26. Thank you for the great content. I am glad I have taken the time to see this.

  27. News Headlines And Well-liked Topics In New York

  28. This is good info! Where else can if ind out more?? Who runs this joint too? Keep up the good work 🙂

  29. Interesting layout on your blog. I really enjoyed reading it and also I will be back to read more in the future.

  30. The way to get a composition is critical for carrying out top superior attaining and composing outcome. 5 elements of paragraphs represent design arrangement. They comprise Introduction with Summary, 3 paragraphs of the Principal System and Thesis Declaration. write my english paper

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)