Real-World View from the TV Executive’s Chair

(NAMPA) If you had the opportunity to sit around a table with four television station executives, what would you ask? Students in the Consumer Behavior class, which is part of the business program at Broadview University, recently had a front row seat to ask anything they wanted to about KIVI-TV in Nampa. By the end of their two-hour discussion, they ended up with a real-world view of what can happen on any given day in the broadcast industry.

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Four executives from KIVI-TV in Nampa spent two hours telling students about their jobs, consumer behaviors, and the importance of learning how to write.

KIVI-TV—also known as Idaho On Your Side—is somewhat unique by broadcasting standards. The multi-media conglomerate, which is owned by the Milwaukee-based Journal Broadcast Group, manages two network television affiliates (ABC and FOX), four FM radio stations, and an internet news website—all under one roof. No two ways about it, there is a lot going on in the building that is a stone’s throw from Interstate 84.

“You start every day never knowing what’s going to happen,” Josh Schlaich, the station’s promotion manager, said.

“It’s like changing a fan belt on a moving car,” Justin Beller, the station’s web coordinator, said.

On this day, Schlaich and Beller—along with Vice President & General Manger Marie McGlynn and Marketing Manager Dan McColly—generously accepted the request to tell students the ins and outs of their business from a consumer standpoint. Each talked about the different aspects of their jobs, but one message here was always the same.

“Twenty years ago, there were only three stations—ABC, NBC, and CBS. And we didn’t even use computers,” McGlynn said. “Today we are being dragged along by technology. Keeping up with it is the one thing that keeps me awake at night. But there is one thing that is constant. Here, it’s all about relationship building. It is important for us to connect with and reflect our community.”

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KIVI-TV is a multi-media conglomerate comprised of two network television affiliates, four radio stations, and an internet news website.

The executives say everything they do—and all decisions they make—is done with consumers in mind. Advertising, programming, news content, Facebook interactions—the goal for all of it is to create a sense of community.

“I learned a lot about the power of the consumer,” Victoria Davis, a student in the business program, said. “One of the things that surprised me is that advertisers have actually pulled their commercials because they did not agree with a story that aired in a newscast.”

LeeAnna Bramblett, also a business program student, was fascinated by technology. “I thought it was interesting how people can still get news without watching television,” she said. “These days, we can get information immediately through our phones—thanks to the power of social media. But years ago, that wasn’t the case.”

But perhaps the most important thing the students learned from the visit reflected what they have already learned as students. One must be able to do three things well in business: write, communicate, and present.

“You would be surprised at how many people cannot write,” McColly said.

“It is so important to be able to write,” McGlynn said. “If you know how to write, you will always have a job.”

“I was happy when they said if you can write you will always have a job,” Victoria said. “My first thought was ‘Yes! I will always have a job!’”

The entire experience created a lot of smiles.

“Never in 30 years have I had such an amazing management team give their time to a group of my students,” Debra Schmidt, the business program chair at Broadview University, said. “It was so insightful for these students to learn this real-world experience. In the future, I will use this experience for other business leaders to live up to.”

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