Friday, November 2, 2007

Spot Placement

Where you place the spots on your air is critical. I’m always surprised at how many stations still just throw promos on the log without much thought.

But even the ones who do it right(first position is king) probably are missing one key exception to that rule.

In maximizing the effectiveness of your log – have you taken into account where you spots ACTUALLY fall during network and syndicated shows?

Many times, we place our spots in first position. BUT – if you are in prime, chances are the network will take a commercial break before your local break rolls. That, in effect, puts your promo in the MIDDLE of one long commercial/bathroom break.

It is my belief that the promo should actually be LAST in that break.
People switch during commercials then come back. Viewers are so skilled at multi-tasking. By putting your spot closest to the content – then better off you will be. Not to mention our friends with DVRs, who will fast forward to the program and will now have the chance to catch at least part of your promo.

The same goes for syndicated programs as well.
It makes sense and I hope most of you have already figured this out – but I’ve never talked with a station that had.

Does anyone else have any great advice on promo placement?

It’s not sexy – but it’s critical to our success.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

An Oldie but Goodie Investigative Spot

I've been talking so much and not sharing spots - so here is a promo I did back in 2000 or so. This is actually a revised version of the spot - removing one of the investigators... so it seems a little odd to me now.

This was to debut KENS 5 Investigates. This was a lot of fun to shoot (we shot 16MM - one of my first film shoots ever)... I found this art museum that used to be a milk processing plant - which looked old and cool in the spot. I set off the smoke alarms in our building doing one shot...And I even make a couple of Hitchcock-like appearances in this spot.

This was when TV was really fun! Let me know what you think...

Made to Stick

I originally promised great sweeps ideas today. Well, I struggled with that and decided to give you something you could actually use.

Today’s blog is on a book that every promo person should own.

This book will inspire you. This book will make you a better writer/producer. This book will make you waffles on a Saturday morning when you and the book decide to just stay in and make love all day.

The book? Made to Stick. (

Here’s an excerpt from their webpage:

Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that “stick” and explain sure-fire methods for making ideas stickier, such as violating schemas, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating “curiosity gaps.”

There are stories in here that just make you think. Why do we continue to do the same, lame promos that we’ve seen everywhere a million times?

My favorite is how the Jared/Subway spots came about. It may not surprise you that Subway was working on a rather bland campaign to tell us how good their sandwiches were… how healthy… less fat, blah, blah, blah.

Then someone chanced upon Jared and had to convince the agency that selling the idea of quality, low-fat foods with this “character” would help people make a connection.


It was memorable. Facts and figures do not make a connection. A loveable fatso that lost a ton of weight does. (Subway’s sales were up 18% in a year thanks to Jared)

They break it down into 6 principles: Simplicity. Unexpectedness. Concreteness. Credibility. Emotions. Stories.

It spells SUCCESs… which even they admit is corny… but it works.

How can you make your spots stand out? How can you get your ideas to resonate?

Read this book. And let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Well, first off – if you haven’t subscribed to Graeme Newell’s free newsletter, do it now! Fantastic newsletter and weekly job email. This is THE list. Go to

Other favorite sites:
I’ve always wanted to work at 30 Rock on SNL or something cool. This site has all the NBC jobs, including promo jobs at the O&Os (Sorry... no SNL jobs just yet) My former company’s website that has every station they own listed right there. However, of note, the WFAA site does not work and you must go to WFAA.COM to find out what’s up there.
The Emmy website - searchable by state, city and job categories
Great website that is updated often. Broken out into market sizes and on/off air positions.
I hate pay sites but I’ve heard this is a good one. $60/year apparently gets you tons of job information.
Jobs at CBS, NBC, Pixar and oh yea baby... Playboy, all on this site.
Corporate site for Media General
Corporate site for ABC and Walt Disney

Share your favorite websites by clicking on comment below!

Monday, October 29, 2007


I like to see good work from all across the country. I’ve always used it as a learning tool. Good writing, great visuals, interesting concepts… I’m always on the lookout for great promotion.

The following list is the sad result of countless hours of mindless web surfing. I am not proud.
I search for news promos here all the time.
Here are some of my favorite searches:
- station call letters
- news promo
- stealthjeff (San Antonio promos)
- newsbyte2 (WCBS promos)
- WNBCHD4 (WNBC promos)
This guy gave me inspiration to do my own blog. Unfortunately, he hasn’t updated in awhile – but it’s a great promo blog with lots of topical examples. This guy has real passion for what he does.
In my opinion, the best design house out there. Their site has examples of promos and news opens.
Unfortunately, no longer updated - but some great work.
This is the website of the promotion manager for WFTV, my biggest competitor in Orlando. Great site with examples from his days at KING in Seattle.
This guy is a very talented art director for KGW in Portland. He’s done some great work on many different promos and his site has tons of examples.
Not news promos but some great creative. Haven’t delved much into this one – but you can see some great creative here.
Ok, a bit of a stretch – but this Florida-focused website has video examples of stations across the state
They’ve done great work for KING, WFAA & WLWT
They do a lot of work for WNBC
They have worked with Belo
I’m not sure who runs this – but they have promos up all the time from KABC. Some good work to check out.

Another good place to find spots is voice talent websites. The main VO guy for KNBC in Los Angeles has this site:

Also, right now – KHOU & WFAA are posting daily topical promotion on their websites… I’m sure there are more stations doing this.

Got some secret sites to share? Where do you go to find good spots?Just place a comment below.