T.S. Eliot once said, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
This is a quote that I have continued to live my life by. It has also helped me write the personal statement I try to embody every day: “being a driven entrepreneur who thrives to enable others to act, make connections, and exceed expectations.”
As many of you know, I was born and raised by my amazing mother in Springfield, Missouri. Breaking news and storms have been in my blood since I first joined the KTTS family as a young boy. Somewhere buried in a closet my mom still has my “KTTS Storm Coverage” cassette tape that I recorded on my karaoke machine at age 7.
12 years later that coverage would come to life as I joined the KTTS newsroom as a reporter and on-air anchor. My love for digital quickly followed as I found new ways to connect the power of local radio with the possibilities of digital platforms. This led to a short stint in the consumer marketing sector, leading national social media efforts, before taking on a full-time position in digital with Journal Broadcast Group.
Developing a digital background, taking on leadership roles
I’ve had the opportunity to give back and work with upcoming journalists for the last several years at the NSPA/JEA National Convention. Last spring, I was also given the honor of participating in the SPJ Regional Keynote event, where I discussed our team’s coverage of the events in Ferguson, Missouri from a digital and ethical perspective.
During my time in digital content operations I was able to better understand the different formats, such as country music, that attracted our listeners and the local brands that kept them coming back.
I took the next step in my career by taking on a Digital Director role in Omaha, Neb., in 2015, working with a CBS television station as well as five market-leading radio stations.
That incredible opportunity exposed me to the daily challenges and opportunities that come with developing digital strategy and running operations for a network television station. Even more exciting, it allowed me to explore the collaborative approach of TV and Radio operating not just in the same market, but also in the same building. It goes beyond sharing promos, teases, or name mentions. Evidence of that can be seen through the industry-first OmahaSportsInsider.com project that will be launching in the weeks ahead.
Returning to radio, helping stations become ‘famous for localism’
My continued involvement in radio led to discussions of the opportunity to return to my radio roots in a larger role. In the coming days I will transition to the role of Central Digital Leader, Radio.
In my new role I will work hand-in-hand with our 34 radio stations to help develop their digital content strategy in order to grow and monetize their audience. This role will also assist the stations by using digital to go even deeper into local markets where our brands are “famous for localism”.
I will be heading back to my hometown of Springfield, Missouri where I will be based out of the home of the 2016 ACM Station of the Year, KTTS.
I’ll have a chance to visit our local teams throughout the year and will keep a special focus on increasing the relationships in our TV/Radio markets (using my background with the operation in Omaha), expanding the use of both local and centralized unique content and integrating some of the industry-leading Scripps brands like Newsy and Cracked to our local audiences
When the chance came not just to return to radio, but to do so in my hometown, I knew it was an opportunity to add value to the industry I admired.
Family has always been a top priority in my life and has led to more than 30,000 miles over the last seven months making the drive from Nebraska to Missouri. Through dozens of trips home I’ve learned that being based closer to the people who matter most will allow me to serve our markets even better.
My passion for both journalism and local media has expanded to digital. It’s not a shift in what we do — just the ways we inform, connect, and engage with our audiences.
I’m proud to be able to share that passion with stations that have such a rich and dedicated history to deliver life-impacting information in the communities we serve.
Together we can use all of our platforms to go even deeper into our markets and continue to be famous for localism.
Finally, with the professional side of things laid out, I would be amiss if I didn’t spend a few lines talking about the support team that got me here. Inspirational friends like Riley de Leon (and of course, by proxy Camden Eck) have pushed me to challenge not only those around me but to reach past my own limitations.
Kori Chrismer has found ways to make the distance seem shorter while my incredible parents have supported me emotionally, physically, and yes…financially.
Chase McIntosh has reminded me that life isn’t always about dollars and cents, sometimes you just need a cold Budweiser and some Randy Rodgers Band.
Nancy Simpson kept me sane when I couldn’t always see the finish line and helped put the moment in perspective.
As you can imagine, I could spend another few pages talking about friends like Amanda Potter, CJ Tice, Cody Stepp, Ashton Henslee, Zack Perry and so many others. Rather than continue to explain how blessed I am to be surrounded by the most fantastic people in the world I’ll just say this: Thank you.
Here’s to new adventures, the overwhelming support of friends and family, and the excitement of the unknown.