The KRON Newsroom – more like a newsroom, less like The Office.

There is no question that Young Broadcasting has had its share of woes.

After paying far too much for KRON, and then suffering a war with GE (never a good idea), Young has found itself stretched to the limit and perhaps beyond.

But that has not prevented them from continuing to build a great VJ-driven station in San Francisco.

And after a year, it not only works, it works well.

In the January Ratings, KRON4 was never out of the top 3 stations in the all important ratings period between 4 Am and 10AM. In fact, it was #1 or #2 most of the time.

This is an astonishing accomplishment for a station that has had a hard time of it financially, to say the least.

Due to budget cuts by the parent company, KRON has had to lay off an almost unthinkable half of its staff.

Yet the station has continued to fill its air time, and achieve great ratings, despite the cuts.

The reason: They still field more cameras on the streets of San Francisco than their competitors, despite the staffing cuts.

The VJ model would be easy to prove with a rich station.

Its a lot harder, and a lot more impressive with KRON.

Congratulations to all the staff for a job better than well done.


20 responses to “THE TRUTH ABOUT KRON

  1. Crowing about 4am to 10am ratings makes you look foolish.

    But that’s never stopped you before so I’m not surprised at you now.

    Maybe we should rename you KING OF THE DAWN!

    Now I’m sure you’ll try and draw parallels to NBC Today Show or some other analogy which truly doesn’t match up with your failing VJs at KRON.

    Let’s see where those “winners” are in another year. So far they are trending down no matter how you look at it.

  2. I think that there is little wrong with ‘crowing’ so to speak, about #1 slots between 4am and 10am in the #5 market in the US. I don’t think the VJs are ‘failing’. If they were, they would not be #1 in any timeslot. Boy, their success really annoys you. Why don’t you give em a little credit and a round of applause. I am sure your GM would do the same were you in the same position.

  3. Yet the station has continued to fill its air time, and achieve great ratings, despite the cuts.

    The reason: They still field more cameras on the streets of San Francisco than their competitors, despite the staffing cuts.

    The VJ model would be easy to prove with a rich station.

    Its a lot harder, and a lot more impressive with KRON.

    Cutting half the staff, yet able to be at the top of viewership ratings. Sounds to me like the Solo VJ paradigm works. Detractors say all they want about how it doesn’t work. This is clear evidence it does work – especially when budgetary constraints are clearly at work.

    I think Alex Lucas stated it quite plainly in your blog post that there is room for many types of VJ’ism. Problem I have is with detractors who claim to know it all, when in reality, they appear to know very little – except what they already know. No willingness to see things from the other side.

    When the postings of the nay-sayers become like a stuck needle on a vinyl record, I say enough is enough.

    We all know you don’t approve of the new VJ-ism – who said we needed your approval???.

    Nino represents the traditional photographer, diligent, hardworking, and classically trained. Well paid. Chiaroscuro.

    And there is nothing wrong with that. If that’s your style – great. But deriding those who see things differently, that’s egocentric elitism at its very core – something that tends to have the rug pulled out from underneath it at an inopportune time.

    I really do believe that both are right.
    The market is layering. Heavily.

    Alex is right. Both are neither correct or incorrect in their positions – they are only different viewpoints.

    Once one of the positions boldly claims that they are the all knowing, all seeing – well, it’s deluded elitism.

  4. errr, broadcasting and cable’s new issue is CROWING about the value of the early morning time slot.

    $ is, again, an issue late and a $ short.

  5. Michael you are full of it and you try to make these other fools believe that this VJ miracle of your is working. No matter how much whipped cream you pour on as you’ve been doing to cover a pile of s**t, the truth remains that it’s still a pile of s**t.

    KRON move to implement VJ was never intended by Young to improve the station’s performance, it was intended to make the balance sheet look better in preparation for the sale of the company. You might have been a victim of circumstances and be led to believe that your VJ were there to rescue the station, or you could have been part of the plot all along, we’ll never know for sure because you have an extra large supply of whipped cream. This is exactly what they teach you in business school. Such sizable sale is not an overnight decision and changes must be planned long in advance in order to show a track record. Labor is a major liability in any company and directly affects the bottom line. Showing on the books that you can run the company for less and still stay in business is what auditors look for when investigating a potential purchase. In order to be viable the labor cost reductions has to be over a period of time in order to show that the company can remain operational with less. Ideally it would be over a 5 years cycle but 3 years is plenty to show that it can be done for less. One of the many formulas to calculate the value of a company is to take the last 3 years performance and costs and project those numbers (either in an upward or downward scale how they might be) in the next two year thus resulting in a five year cycle. Hence “KRON 3 years VJ implementation”. The fact that KRON was in last place and is still in last place but with lower operating costs gets the attention of investors and might add value to the company.

    If this sale happens don’t be surprised if we’ll see more of the same type action from other financially under-performing stations. If I was an employee of any station I would keep a close eye on the company financial performance, if I see an evident sliding scale I would start sending out resumes.

  6. Sorry kids, puffed up chests over an early AM time period in a market like San Fran, then claiming some great victory?

    Even Cliffs own words prove how little he knows. “It’s working” because they laid off a bunch of people and can still put some kind of image on the air. That’s not “working”. It’s barely surviving at best.

    If it was “working” it would show some kind of positive movement in the ratings.

    Not dog paddling in the ratings waiting for the predictable failure and change of ownership.

    Four AM? That’s prime time for paid programing selling cooking gadgets and health club memberships to a low I.Q. audience!

    Just your speed Cliff!

  7. $ – it’s a shame feel the need to act like a child in your remarks – shows a lack of professionalism on your part.

  8. Michael, I could waste some of my time and find a conversation we had a while back on B-Roll about ratings, that’s when you said that ratings was unimportant. What changed? Convenience?

    I’m sure you know (or you should know) how the rating game works. It’s all based on the demographics composition of that specific market as set by the US Census. I remember 15 years ago an article on the NY Times about 9 NY radio stations all claiming to be number one, and they were all right. Stations can manipulate those numbers to show that indeed they are number one. One can show that between 8 and 10 am they were number one because most of the demographic of viewer over 65 were listening to that station. Another might be first on the same time period but with a different demographic. These selective information are only intended to fool the public, advertisers will look at ratings in minute details. The fact that the KRON rating period starts at 4am it pretty much eliminate the most sought after demographics, the 18 to 45, I doubt that many of those are up watching TV at 4am. If indeed KRON was number one with all the demographics it would not be up for sale as advertisers would fight their way to be on their programs. If KRON wants to make a positive point then they should compare their revenue on that period that they claim to be number versus the revenue when they were not number one, or before they switched to VJs.

  9. never give an inch, do you.
    give them a little credit, they deserve it. they work hard.

  10. Maybe the future new owners of KRON, whomever they might be, will share your thoughts about the VJ efforts.

    Or maybe they won’t.

    That will be a nice reality check over this issue.

    Continued employment or continued use of the VJ system will be a good indicator of things to come.

    Cliff, to be a professional, one needs to be paid for their work with a camera on a regular basis without having to hold a second job elsewhere.

    So far, you don’t qualify.

    Maybe some day.

  11. Not being from San Francisco I can’t really tell of how good the VJ work is in comparison to other stations, but I’ve seen the KRON web site and the videos of those latest fires in Southern California, that according to you and KRON managers those were supposed to be KRON’s shining moments, well, they were awful. They had several reports clearly showing the number of cameras in the field, unfortunately they were all the same, and with the added number of cameras I was expecting some sort of diversified coverage, but id didn’t happen. That’s wasn’t only poor work but also poor management, so it can’t all be blamed on VJs. All those clips had repetitive footage within the same clips, footage that had nothing to do with the narration; you could see that there was no footage to go with what the reporter had to say. The photography was bad and the shortcoming of cheap video cameras was evident with crashed black, poor and off colors and lost details in the highlights. Why would anyone watch those reports? There were giving no information just showing what had happened.

    At the same time I was watching ABC News. I was interested of knowing more about it because my oldest son got a few job offers in San Diego and he recently moved there, so my wife an I are planning many trips there. The Nightly News informed and educated me; this is what news is supposed to do, not just illustrate what has happened already. Not only ABC showed fires, they also had aerial shots detailing the directions of the fires and how they were affecting populated areas. They had experts explaining the Santa Ana winds phenomenon responsible for the fires as well as fire fighting experts, the photography of course was excellent. Now why on earth would anyone watch stuff like KRON when there’s something else infinitely better? It doesn’t costs viewers any more to watch good programs as it cost them to watch poorly made programs, particularly when they are of the same subject. Being local KROM should have the advantage but they wasted a lot of manpower with poor journalism and poor video. You can find all the convenient excuses you want to justify KRON demise but video is all a TV station has to offer, once you screw that up you have nothing. Poor work is an open invitation to competitors to take away those few paying advertisers left.

  12. If your son is going to San Diego perhaps he should take a look at KGTV’s all VJ newsroom.

    As far as bad video and bad storytelling is concerned, all I have to do is tune in WABC her ein NY. The worst. Half the time they don’t white balance. I see the same police tape shot 4 times in the same story. And the writing by Tim Fleischer! Sheehs… the man could be working for the Museum of Broadcasting. A BORE! And the shooting? It ain’t the NPPA showcase, that’s for sure.

  13. So what you want to do Michael is take a bunch of guys who can’t even shoot now and tell them “OK you are a reporter too.”???
    If they can’t even do one job right why would they be able to do two… or three?
    You never try to fix the problem Michael you just try to sell more stuff they don’t need.

  14. “sell more stuff they don’t need”

    you guys on the other side of the coin sure seem worried about other people’s money and how they decide to spend it.

  15. you guys on the other side of the coin sure seem worried about other people’s money and how they decide to spend it.

    That’s because viewership for TV stations is dropping off and what little viewership that remains translates into less ad revenue.

  16. Your right why should I worry that they blow their budget on consultants chasing white rabbits up blind alleys for no reason other than making themselves feel like they are doing something?
    Why should I care they spend money re-inventing wheel? “This time well make it square!!!”
    Could be there is less money to hire freelancers if they spent it all on Michael yacht.

  17. The blog’s official moron, better known as Cliff wrote:
    “And there is nothing wrong with that. If that’s your style”
    Cliff, did you eve heard of the phrase:
    “Is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubts”?

    You have been removing any possible doubts that you have any traces of intelligence. There are no styles in this business, we are not designers we are technicians, we don’t work by styles, we have techniques, hundreds of them, I could explain to you what they are but it would go right over your head. You have barely ONE technique and you can even buy candy bars with it. Get it thru your moronic brain once and for all, the reason that we don’t take this VJ crap seriously is because there’s no money in it and you are the prefect demonstration of one technique technician good only for unemployment. I’ve been asking you and Michael for months and either one of you have yet to come up with any answer:

    Can any of you show me any of your videos or any video produced by an independent VJ that took Michael VJ class that was purchased by any web site?

    Can you show me any web site that is purchasing videos from independent VJs?

    Can you show me any cable program produced by VJs?

    Can you show me any commercial job produced by VJs?”

    So before you open your mouth again answer this or shut up and respect those who have the balls to make a living and support families by doing something totally foreign to you: and that’s WORK.

  18. “As far as bad video and bad storytelling is concerned, all I have to do is tune in WABC her ein NY. The worst.”

    Michael, I really have no clue of what’s going on with ABC in NY, but you just spelled out the philosophical difference between us. You always look for what worse and use that as an excuse to justify your low standards. I always look what’s best and set my goals to be better.

  19. You kids still in high school will get your reality check soon enough the moment your first electric bill arrives that mommy and daddy don’t pay for you.

  20. “what little viewership that remains”
    Right Cliff, youtube and CitizeNews are getting them all.

    Cliff, remember the golden rule (your golden rule).
    “Is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubts”?

    You’re getting deeper and deeper in your own manure and you are making Micheal look real bad. Actually you are becoming very amusing, I’m really looking forward to see what the next lunacy you’ll come up with, man you got an endless repertoire.

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