WOTV in Kalamazoo with Kevin Ferrara, Operations Manager

At this Intercom event, Kevin Ferrara, Operations Manager for WOTV discussed why they have opened a working downtown news studio in Kalamazoo. Kevin explained that the media market has changed, and WOTV wants to “break the mold”.

He discussed “call letter confusion”, meaning over time the different stations with names that we are familiar with like WKZO, WOODTV, WZZM, WXMI evolved due to competition, changing audiences & viewing areas, consolidation, regionalism and nationalism.

WOTV is now owned by Nexstar, who also owns WOOD and WXSP. The changing media landscape presented opportunities for WOTV, and they were urged to have a “storefront” in Kalamazoo.

Why would WOTV have a Grand Rapids AND Kalamazoo storefront? There are a few reasons:

  1. To leverage market leadership. Everyone turns to them for severe weather and breaking news.
  2. Be localized. Instead of sending Grand Rapids staff to cover Kalamazoo, WOTV wanted local investment. They want their employees to live here and care about the Kalamazoo community.
  3. Expand community service by partnering with Kalamazoo Public Schools and community events like Art Hop.
  4. Reach both Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo audiences.

kalamazoo-downtown-studio1WOTV’s Ryan Sterling said, “This is a start, not a stunt”. Their main focus is news, investigation, and severe weather. This is what people rely on them for and what they are known for. The prediction is that southwest Michigan can no longer support 4 stations in this market. WOTV hopes that with their new changes, they will the one that survives.

Thanks, Kevin!