Friday, March 30, 2012

Where Did Everyone Go?

Currently, there are job postings for writer/producer positions in the following markets(to the best of my knowledge):

WCBS New York, NY
WPIX New York, NY
KABC Los Angeles
WBZ Boston
KING Seattle
KDVR Denver
KOVR, KCRA, KTXL Sacramento
WPXI Pittsburgh(2 positions)
WRIC Richmond, VA
WZZM Grand Rapids, MI
KCBD Lubbock
WLFL Raleigh
WRIE Evansville
WTOL Toledo
KCRG Cedar Rapids
WDJT Milwaukee
KKTV Colorado Springs
KXAN Austin
WMAR Baltimore
KABB San Antonio
WKME Portland, ME
KVTN Little Rock
WKEF Dayton
WTVX West Palm Beach
KJCT Grand Junction
WHNS Greenville, SC
WEHT Evansville
KLAS Las Vegas
WPBS Waterton, NY
WOOD Grand Rapids
WRAL Raleigh (senior producer)
WMX Memphis
WGNO New Orleans
WESH Orlando
WTTA Tampa
WKRG Mobile
WRC Washington, DC
KY3 Springfield
KVOA Tucson
WTLV Jacksonville
KHSB Ft. Smith
WCAU Philly

I've never seen it like this in my 20+ years.

What the hell is going on? Where did all the producers go?

I'd like to hear from all the producers/managers out there(the ones that are left apparently) -- why are so many jobs going unfilled?

Leave an anonymous post if you'd like. I'm curious -- is it money? not wanting to move? getting tired of the promo game?

I'd love an honest discussion on what's happening out there in promo land.


Anonymous said...

It was only a couple years ago that I wrote an article (Be Indispensable) about how the economy caused many local TV marketers to lose their jobs. So I think the reboudning economy may be one reason for so many openings. Keep in mind that there is no pipeline for new local TV news writer/producers and editors. No one graduates from college with a degree in local TV news promotion. I think smaller markets probably have the hardest time recuiting for these positions as the more experienced and talented writer/producers and editors seek the most money which is typically gotten in the larger markets. I think being a writer/producer/editor is often more fun that being a manager.
Paul Greeley

Anonymous said...

From the perspective of someone who is running training workshops at stations across the country, here is what I see anecdotally.

1) For those of us who got into the business before 2000, TV was cool. Not so much for many in the new generation. Social media, or working for an internet-based business are far more attractive, exciting, and seen as the place you want to be.

2) New producers can spend a very short amount of time in a middle sized market, then move to top 10 very quickly. Gone are the days when you honed your chops for a few years in market 100, jumped to a middle market for a stint, then on to top 10 or 15. That "pay your dues" path is toast. They've bypassed it.

3) Skill sets. Managers are often looking for employees who can write, edit, produce, manage SM, do logs, understand strategy and implement it on a tactical level, work Photoshop, AE, then man the booth at the outreach event. Those people exist, but they're harder to find and even harder to hang on to.

I was talking to a creative director recently who had a writer/producer/social media position open -- in a very attractive market and strong station cluster -- for 6 months. Not one serious candidate.

If you can't recruit talent from the outside, then you're probably best served by finding them from within and growing their skill sets.

My $.02.

Greg Derkowski
602 Communications

Anonymous said...

As a creative producer with 5-7 years experience in medium to top market stations, I can tell you that a lot of these stations are using better titles for less money. As someone who can write, edit, shoot, and produce on every platform I know I can be viable in any market for any position, I just want to get paid sufficiently as a producer without being thrown cool titles to compensate for lower salaries. If you are searching for a talented producer with years of promotions and creative experience who is willing to relocate, I can find you the perfect fit.I have been offered some of the positions listed on this post and turned them down hoping for a better position. Just email me please:



Anonymous said...

As a producer currently working in one of markets mentioned, I can say that the business is not the same. Producers are being asked to do so much more now with less pay and resources. Raises are few and far between leaving producers looking for greener pastures. Also some news stations care less and less about promotions and more about social media thinking that that's all the promotion they'll need. Plus, I agree that producers are no longer working up from smaller markers and it feels like anyone can be replaced by a kid straight out of college.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Gen Y, post-2000 producer with almost 10 years experience in multiple markets and I'm looking to leave the industry this year.

Here are my reasons:

1) TV is NOT cool anymore. The web, technology, and ad agency culture is way more appealing than local news or the broadcast nets will ever be. I grew up with the web and TV feels like a dinosaur on so many levels. The once validating feeling of your friends seeing your spots is gone when everyone can be a TV star these days.

2) Promotions is next to go if another recession hits. Remember program directors and community service departments? We'll join that graveyard.

3) Even without a recession, Promotions is next up for outsourcing or central hubbing. And I guarantee it won't be topicals they outsource, it will be image and the creative spots. In five years, transfer speeds will increase enough that even the topicals could probably be outsourced too and still make tight deadlines.

4) Creativity is dying on the job. The priority today is on quantity and assembling as many spots as possible for as many mediums as possible in addition to plenty of new responsibilities. As a Gen Y producer, I didn't come into the industry because I loved local news. I grew up laughing at local news. I entered local news for the potential it had in the early 2000s to evolve it into the digital world as well as the creativity in the promotions side. Post 2008 recession, it's changed significantly in a negative way.

5) The entire TV industry is unstable long term with local news being one of the worst because they have a product with zero shelf life. Produce at the store stays fresher than what we have. Also, the debt held by most station groups is crippling and certainly not reassuring for people thinking about the next 40-50 years of their careers.

6) While the skills in promotions / creative services are transferrable, many of the positions and titles aren't. If I can't maneuver to another industry (Should TV continue to decline), why would I come to / continue in TV?

7) Wages aren't competitive. I can make more money as a freelance producer and editor in mid to large markets... If healthcare laws change, I know many who will exit.

8) At my past two jobs, the amount of "volunteering" I've been asked to do on the station's behalf is ridiculous. I don't mind working late and coming in for breaking news, it's always been that way, but in the past four years, it's turned from helping the company out to a near level of abuse.

I remember discussing these issues with a previous manager and instead of addressing the concerns, my loyalty as well as my "appreciation for employment" was called into question.

So yea, can you blame people?

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with many of the comments in this thread. I work at a sister station of one of the above mentioned stations and our station is one, if not the only, that does promotion in house. Many of our sister stations out source the production for promotion. I'm a hands on producer who loves to do everything, from writing, shooting, editing and graphics. If all I did was conceptualize and write, I would go crazy. I need to get my hands dirty. If my station started out sourcing, I would leave too.

Also, creativity is dying. News managers don't want cool promotion spots that take time to produce, they want topical spots yesterday and could care less of what camera you use or how the footage you shot tells a story. I too don't come from a news background. I wanted to get into TV to create cool things. But who wants to create cool, unique spots for a dying medium, especially since companies like Google and Apple are producing their videos from within the company? I know if I was offered a position for one of those companies, I would leave my station in a heartbeat.

Anonymous said...

The Gen Y'er above couldn't have said it better.

I'm also one for quality of life (location). It'll often trump everything else for me. Working in crappy markets to climb the latter or recieve a pay increase isn't worth it in my book. Hoping to find that perfect place.

Signed...a patiently waiting CSD who's considering a career change.

Brian said...

I'm in a small market and after having spent 4 years here in promotions, I've found that I'm not getting any bites in larger markets despite all these openings. I've had folks look at my resume and reel, both of which have been called "great". From my perspective, the jobs are out there to keep up appearances, but in my situation it seems like nobody's in any rush to take a chance on me and hire for them.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with all of the above posters. I made the jump to a government position a few years ago and haven't looked back.
Yes, tv was cool. I had a great gig in a Top 15 market, good pay and benefits but it was slowly killing me.
It was mentally and physically draining to get a spot on the air 5 minutes ago because the newsroom 'needed to promote something', instead of taking some time to craft a promo that would A)get people to care/watch, B)strengthen/reinforce the brand, and C)I could feel good about.
I jumped at the chance to get out after about 20 years in television for a job that paid less but was 5 minutes from my home and where my talents and skills could be used to their fullest and appreciated.
I had fun for most of my time in tv promoland and miss some aspects of it but my wife and kids are glad to have me back.

Anonymous said...

^ the post above nailed it on the head. News departments don't care anymore. They want quantity over quality. And it's killing all of us. I know my wife hates it when I call and say "breaking news just happened and they need me to stay another hour to make a promo" or I have to go in on a sunday afternoon because the rain storm just stopped and they want to be first with a POP. I know she would much rather me have a normal 9-5 job and when I'm off the clock, I'm REALLY off the clock. And so would I!

Anonymous said...

Let's face it - nobody is MANAGING the news departments anymore. Weak, sales-oriented GM's don't have an overview of the business and, for reasons that escape me, seem to let the News divisions do whatever they want, which includes marketing. Marketing a station does not mean being at the beck and call of News Directors, who many times have pictures of Elvis on velvet hanging on their walls. Just because you know how to write a story doesn't mean you know a thing about marketing that story. Someone has to step in and manage, but why bother since many ownership groups feel that it's a dying business and the best way to handle that is to wring the money out of the operations and don't invest in the future, thus creating a self fulfilling event. It's very sad to see this happen and it means a lot of creative people are frustrated. There's no future in TV promotions, so is there any real surprise finding a producer is difficult?

Anonymous said...

Well I didn't know a lot of these jobs were open. Other than 602 and here where are you finding all of these job openings???


I found them via and Kate Bacon's site,

Anonymous said...

Man, this is depressing. I think the explosion of social media has created all sorts of creative challenges. It's an exciting time in marketing - you don't just produce spots, you produce marketing plans with each project.

I guess it helps working for a decent station.

TV MOM said...

I did the market 200 to market 95 to 37 to 7 hopscotch.
Then after 12 years of working up the ladder, was laid off by CBS.
A few months later I was picked up by a TV ministry. Now doing promos, music videos, movie junkets. Making more $ and given nearly unlimited freedom to be creative. Plus promoting something a lot more uplifting that news. ;-)
I'll never go back.

Chris said...

I want to work at WTF.

Anonymous said...

Let's see. Meeting, writing, shooting, editing, creating graphics, ingesting the spot into master, creating logs, auditing the spots, making commercials for sales with clients who drop $2500 and have never done TV before, social media updates, PR events, filling in on camera and prompter. All with just the one person. Changes in management every 2 years. All for $29k at most all to get laid off in the end. No thanks. I agree TV was cool 10 years ago when I started. With most newsrooms at 1/3rd of the staff they used to be its not fun anymore.

Shelly Leslie/WRAL-TV said...

I'm the Creative Director at WRAL in Raleigh. Thank you, Don, for this post. It's an eye opening vision into the morale of our side of the TV business. The big crash took a heavy toll on promotion departments across the country. I'm here to say not every station is experiencing what I'm seeing described here. Our promotion dept is not run by the news department. We aren't a big corporation wallowing in debt that has to lay off people at the first sign of trouble. We are a stable, locally owned company where people come and stay. We are a do the right thing, work hard, have a great time doing it place. One of the strongest stations in the country. I'm looking for a Sr. Producer to lead the day to day news promotion operation. A hands on, standout producer who can, yes, write, shoot, edit and produce. I applaud and reward fearless creativity. I welcome your passion for promotion, great attitude and initiative to use all the tools I can give you. Interested? Email your resume to Give me an online demo to your work. Mention you saw this post. Who knows? Maybe we've been looking for each other all this time.

Anonymous said...

Great post, great comments... as a producer in a top 50 market, I agree with much that was said above.

In the past getting to a bigger market meant less multi-tasking. Now it seems everyone wants a shooter/editor/writer/after effects guru/director, and oh, no personal life whatsoever. And thepay for these jobs no longer match the skill level.

And if you do work hard, and raise the bar and self train yourself, don't expect any a raise or any thank yous... just be prepared for the expectations to stay at that level until you are dumb enough to raise the bar again.

And as we look to move into management, the mid-level positions seem to be evaporating in the business. This makes it hard to reach your final career goal, support a family and have a sense of some accomplishment.

No wonder people don't want to do this job.