WSAW - Blogs - Jeff Thelen

My move back to the mornings...

OK, so there's been a lot of talk about my move back to the morning show. So, here's the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about how it happened and how I feel about it.

Here's how it happened

A couple weeks ago, the news director came to me at about 11:30am one morning and said the GM wanted to take us to lunch. In my gut, I knew something was up, but usually people don't get fired while the boss is taking them out to lunch, so I didn't think it could be too bad.

During the meeting over salads and BLT's he got right to the point.

It's no secret, the ratings of our morning show have not been great lately. It's not the fault of the people who are on it. They followed the advice of a consultant about what to put on a morning show to a T. Unfortunately that advice wasn't very good, so the numbers have fallen. After looking at all the options, the boss said he and the News Director came to the conclusion that the best thing to get the show's ratings back up was to put me back on it. It would bring back some badly needed name recognition to the show and prove to the public just how important we think the show is.

Now, most TV news contracts have a clause in them that management can move you to any shift they want. But to my bosses' credit, they didn't do that. They were very fair and gave me control of the show as morning news director.

I knew I would take their offer by the end of the lunch, but I didn't want to seem overly eager, so I told them I'd let them know by the next day. I came in the next morning and said they had a deal. After that we were making announcements about the move to the staff and shooting the promos that got on the air later that day.

Here's how I feel about it

Positive...

A few weeks ago, I was talking to my Mom about my career. I said I felt like I was in a funk and needed something to give me a jolt back into excitement about work again. This move certainly fits that bill.

I love the challenge of taking a show that's been struggling and trying to get it back where it belongs again. I'm also looking forward to working with a bunch of young people who may not have been given proper direction in the past and trying to teach them some tricks of putting together a good morning show. I must say, so far the morning crew has been great! They listen well and have worked hard on the changes I wanted to make.

A buddy of mine from Waupaca, who is my best, most honest critic says if I'm honest about it, my personality is probably best suited for a morning show. He's right. So, my on air work will probably be better once I get used to the shift again.

Negative...

Now on the other hand, I'll miss co-anchoring with Sue Ramsett. We had been working together since 2001 and had gotten to the point where we sort of knew what the other was thinking. That makes co-anchoring with someone very easy. It'll take a while to get to the point with my new co-anchor, Bao Vang. Although I think we're off to a pretty good start and I have no doubt we'll get there.

The biggest negative is hands down the shift. While the morning show is fun to anchor, it would be more fun if it aired at 10am to noon instead of 5am to 7am. My start time is now 1am. People are always surprised by that, but the show has to be written before it goes on. That alarm is unbelievably rude when it goes off at midnight. But, I did it once and I'll get used to it again.

So, there you have it, warts and all. The story behind my move back to my roots, the morning show.

J

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