Monday, October 25, 2010

Michell Valles Departs

Michelle Valles is leaving KEYE TV (CBS).
She announced on Facebook Monday morning, October 25,"I have just announced to my beloved colleagues at KEYE-TV that I have decided to pursue other interests after my contract ends this year. It was a wonderful experience helping launch Austin Live, but I am ready to begin a new journey! Thank you KEYE-TV and Central Texas viewers, this has been a GREAT chapter in my life."

Her last day will be December 15th.
Valles says her plans are still up in the air.

"It's all in the works and too preliminary to give you a long-range plan. I have a lot of prospects and am considering which one I fit in best. Short term--time off and rejuvenating. This has been the most laborious role I've ever had in TV. It's extremely demanding and with that I need time to re-focus.

Would she return to local TV? She doesn't rule it out. "If it's the right company and philosophy. I have so many options! I'm thrilled, a little acting, writing (i have plans for a book) but most importantly time for me and my close ones. I am so excited!"

Valles came to Austin as the main 5, 6, and 10 anchor on KXAN TV (NBC) in 2003. While there, she won "Best Anchor" honors from the Texas Associated Press Broadcasters.

After a much-publicized DWI arrest, which was later reduced. She left KXAN when she and the station couldn't agree on a new contract.

KEYE TV hired Valles as a morning anchor with Fred Cantu in 2008.
When the station decided to abandon its traditional morning broadcast, Valles helped lauch a "live style" show at 4 p.m. with co-anchor Jason Wheeler. Much of the show was built around her personality.

"We are launching a nationwide search for her replacement," says Suzanne Black, KEYE TV news director. I wish her much luck and good fortune. I will miss her."

(C) Jim McNabb, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


KEYE TV’s Gregg Watson Gone

“I looked up and you were there. I looked up and thought you were there, but I was wrong. You were gone,” I told Gregg Watson formerly of KEYE-TV (CBS).

"After five years here at KEYE TV, I am leaving to start a new adventure,” Watson says on his blog, “I just wish I knew what that adventure is. The folks here at KEYE have been awesome, and I feel blessed to have worked here. The TV news business is brutal, and you can’t take management decisions personally.”

The UT-Austin graduate says that his contract was up, and “I’m too old to get tied into a situation that would make me unhappy in six months. No one wants to work with a negative Nellie,” he says on his blog entitled “Life After KEYE TV.”

Watson will turn 45 next month. He was the station’s most experienced and seasoned reporter. Watson moved on about a week ago.

Watson says he’s not through with TV news, if TV isn’t through with him. “I’m hoping to stay in TV news, although I have no offers. I turned down two jobs in the past month because they didn’t feel right.” He is exploring freelance offices in the Dallas area where his mother lives. Many stations are choosing to hire freelance reporters and avoid having to pay benefits. “I miss the folks in Austin, especially at my church, but I've moved on. Don't know if it's for the better yet because I still love TV News, he says.

Watson grew up in Denison, north of Dallas. Now, his mother requires 24-hour care for dementia costing some $6,000 a month. For now, he is taking on that responsibility, saving that money. “If I didn’t love this woman who gave me life, I would have walked out on her days ago. One doctor told Watson, “She doesn’t know how to do much, and [she] is depending on you for her care.”

Gregg Watson is a good guy, a talented guy. He’ll be missed.

© Jim McNabb, 2010

Trying to Out Groupon Groupon

When is a newspaper more than a newspaper?

Answer: Now.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010, the Austin American-Statesman announced another interesting possible revenue stream having absolutely nothing to do with journalism but everything to do with money.

“Dealswarm” is the newest product of the Statesman and Cox Media Group (CMG), the Statesman’s parent company. What’s Dealswarm? It’s “a new group-buying discount program,” according to their news release. It “will soon offer bargain hunters in Austin outrageous online discounts of 50 percent or more on local dining, entertainment and other services from some of the most popular local businesses. Customers can now simply and quickly register on to receive daily e-mail alerts about discount offers in their area. In the next few weeks, daily DealSwarm deals will be ready and available for purchase.”

Sounds familiar? Sounds like Groupon?

“Groupon started in November 2008 … to make it easier for people to enjoy the great things in their community. We do it by offering daily deals at unbeatable prices through the power of group buying,” according to the Groupon website.

Michael Vivio, Austin American-Statesman and publisher, thinks Dealswarm can out Groupon Groupon. “We believe we can be successful in the space because of our large database of readers (who have already signed up to receive deals) and existing local business relationships,” Vivio says. “Those two factors combined with the promotional power of the Statesman and our websites will give us a quick entry into the market.”

So, like Groupon, users will sign up for daily email notification of the specials for the day. “This new product will give customers unprecedented access to some of the hottest local retail discounts not found anywhere else, and will help local advertisers and businesses promote themselves effectively to existing and new customers,” according to the Statesman release. “The Statesman Co. is excited to be a player in the growing deal-of-the-day market,” Vivio says.

Cox media is also rolling out Dealswarm in Atlanta, Dayton, and Seattle, and more markets are coming in 2011.

“Different from others in the group-buying space, our local media properties in each DealSwarm market bring unprecedented marketing power with established readers, viewers and listeners,” said David Shipps, DealSwarm’s Vice President in the Cox news release. “For our business partners, there are no upfront costs. They simply benefit from new customers and a fantastic promotional opportunity for their business.”

Shipps added that the program will be promoted by CMG’s radio, TV and newspaper websites, Facebook applications and Twitter accounts in each market, and through their respective e-newsletters on the day deals are available. The program will also be advertised on air in certain markets with TV for additional exposure.

So, Dealswarm is the Statesman’s latest partnership following, a competitor to eBay.

“Our BooCoo partners said they are well above their growth projections. But, since it is a start-up effort, it is not producing much revenue,” Vivio says. “They are building traffic much faster than other auction start-ups thanks to the newspaper promotion, they say.” A quick check of the site does show that they have products for sale.

The Statesman also partners with Monster’s Hot Jobs and

© Jim McNabb, 2010