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Visiting Professorship - Day 3 - Be Lovable

“If you are lovable, they will like you the best.” Today, I met Lloyd Bucher, the General Manager of WPTV-TV. He is a very energetic and positive leader. He believes that the best sales person is the one that is the most lovable, one step above likeable. A client will come back to you if he/she finds that you are comforting, a good friend. The client will always want to work with the one sales person they trust.

Lloyd believes it is important to put potential sales people through the “Orlando Test”. The test requires you to imagine spending two hours in a car with a person, would you be better or lesser for riding with that person at the end of the trip? Lloyd wants to be motivated at the end of the car ride. If you can't keep Lloyd interested for those two hours, you might as well park the car.

Mr. Bucher started as a lawyer in Philadelphia but he soon discovered that being a lawyer wasn’t his calling. He joined the sales staff of the CBS affiliate in Philly and fell in love with the television broadcasting business. As he moved up the management ladder he learned as much as he could about all the different jobs at the television station. Bucher says he’s “bilingual”, referring to his ability to talk shop with engineers, journalists and sales people. He can go into a newsroom and tell the news director that the “OTS needs better titling” or “the lead-in needs to be a little sharper”. At the same time, he can go into his sales meeting and talk about CPMs and OTTs. He knows that being a good leader requires knowing how to communicate with everyone.

“Students will be required to do more work when they start their careers than I did. I stumbled upon it,” Bucher said with a smile. Bucher believes that despite the challenges for today's sales person Bucher is very positive about the future. Everyday someone tells him that TV is dying and he responds, “It’s not dying, it’s evolving.” Bucher sees opportunity for any student who is willing to work hard. Students need to be motivated by the future and know they are at the start of something bigger and better than the past. The new employees will be the ones molding the industry into what it will be.

WPTV-TV's Digital Sales staff is at the forefront of changes to TV advertising. I’m learning quickly that there is more to selling TV ads today than selling commercial spots. I sat in on the Digital Sales meeting today with John Gibson, Eric Weiss and T.A. Walker. The subject of the meeting was OTT sales. “Over the Top” ads. When you watch a movie on Hulu, Sony Crackle, or whatever mobile platform, the ads that pop up don’t just happen. The ads are part of sales packages the TV sales reps sell. I learned today that Facebook or other sites charge $25 for the placement of an ad or video on their page. In a bundled package, the sale will charge a customer for administering the ad at a cost between $45 and $65. The benefit of OTT over broadcast is the targeting. The digital sales department can target their spots to be seen by a particular gender, age group, income bracket or behaviorism (such as shopaholic). The client (the buyer) can also pick a zip code. In West Palm Beach, a zip code is crucial to reaching particular customers. One side of the street is extremely different than the other.

My previous research examines the desired 30% profit margins most television stations try to maintain. That hasn’t changed. Digital sales is one way to keep a station’s profits from slagging.

Lloyd Bucher, as a general manager, understands that television viewing is a two screen event. He requires his reporters to write in radio style because people don’t watch TV as much as listen to it. He also showed me the location graphics he demands for each story. People need to know the location of the video they watch, so a reporter must mention it and the video needs a graphic to tell me if I miss what is said. Our discussion made me rethink how I teach converged journalism. Our students need to write more like radio so that our audience can understand the information while they look at their phones or work on a computer. Locators will be a must for all of our stories!

Bucher is very proud of his baseball card collection and the number of rare cards he’s collected. He passes the “Orlando Test” with stories of baseball history, his personal stories and the mantras he espouses to his staff. “It’s not about the money. You shouldn’t be motivated by the money, you should be career motivated.”

I will take Bucher’s mantra into the classroom. All students must find the career that motivates them, not be motivated by money. As many successful businessmen will say, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” Passion in one’s work is a catalyst for happiness and success.

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