I’m a product of Texas; a graduate of the Radio, Television, Video, and Film program at the University of North Texas. But while my peers were walking the across the stage, I was already driving a U-Haul down the Interstate to begin my career in broadcasting.
Fourteen years in, I now oversee news operations at Nexstar Broadcasting’s NBC and FOX affiliates in the capital city of Little Rock, Arkansas. Our team has been able to create an environment that fosters growth, encourages innovation, and produces exceptional journalism. But the road wasn’t always easy. In 2013, KARK and Fox16 merged operations. The transition proved difficult, but rewarding. Over the last few years, we’ve experienced ratings growth, seen social engagement skyrocket, and recently had to expand our trophy case.
This role also affords me to opportunity to fulfill another passion of mine: training. I’ve organized and led webinars for thousands of participants across Nexstar focusing on subjects like severe weather, elections, newscast producing, storytelling, and memorable morning shows. I’ve also created an annual training program in Little Rock for journalists handpicked by news directors across our region. Over the last three years, we’ve had more than 60 participants – many of whom have grown inside our company.
My goal had always been to become a news director, and it was Nexstar that first gave me that opportunity in 2008. At 27 years old, I walked into a duopoly in Abilene, Texas as the new boss — who wasn’t entirely sure what he was doing. I tried new things, made plenty of mistakes, and learned more about myself than I ever expected. During that period of time, we improved market share of the NBC product, continued the dominance of our CBS, and dramatically increased our digital footprint.
Prior to that first newsroom management position, I was in the fortunate role of producing newscasts for my home market of Dallas. I was initially hired by the CBS O&O to help launch a prime-time newscast on its independent sister station. Once that show founds its legs and I had proven to be an innovator, I earned a spot on the CBS morning show where I finessed my producing style. That style was — and still is — what some would describe as a jolt of caffeine.
That market 5 position was my second career stop. Remember that U-Haul I was driving on graduation day? It was carrying me to my first job in Shreveport, Louisiana, where I produced just about every newscast before landing a role as the evening executive producer. In addition to sweeps planning and managing coverage of elections, I helped plan and oversee coverage during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita as thousands of evacuees flooded our viewing area. While I managed the evening and weekend newscasts, my wife oversaw the morning content. More than a decade later, she and I are still bouncing ideas off each other and collaborating on creative projects.
My philosophy has always been: let’s have fun, but let’s do the work. I’m a competitive person and refuse to be outworked. I expect the same from the people around me. We should be the best at everything we do. Since being the best is a steep mountain to climb, we need to work each day to get there. The chase for greatness never ends.