WRIC’s new general manager, Viki Regan Photo by Mike Freeman
In June, when Richmond-based Media General announced a pending merger with New Young Broadcasting (see below "Remote Control"), it promised more transformation for WRIC-TV8, which was already on a continuum of change.
Viki Regan took over as the station's new vice president and general manager in December 2012. Regan has worked for 17 years as a GM and in senior positions at stations nationwide. For the past two years she was a fellow of the National Association Broadcasters in a multimedia program specifically designed to train her for purchasing a media outlet or station.
"But I determined that I'm not an entrepreneur in that sense," she says. "I'd rather have that entrepreneurial spirit with someone else's money. I like being in a local station too much. That's what I'm wired for. I have a craving to know as much as I can immediately. I've got to tell you — that's what drives me."
The media is undergoing upheaval at all levels, yet Regan is comfortable in this ever-changing environment. The industry, she says, hadn't changed in a long while, and it's gotten a needed jolt with wide Internet access, user-generated content and social media. "The methods may evolve, but the bottom line is, we are providing news and information. That's our job. What's changing is how people get it. They can get news and information instantaneously. We have one newsroom and multi-screens."
Regan previously worked as a multimedia consultant, but it wasn't the same. She missed television too much. "Once you get a taste of it and you like it, you want to keep it going. It's habit-forming."
Taking the GM position at WRIC suits her because she doesn't see "anything broken" there. Regan views the historic three-way race of Richmond television as an opportunity. "Yes, it's a very competitive situation. And we're a significant contender, and I enjoy being at the helm." She does not foresee any changes with WRIC's anchor team and cites "dramatic" growth in the station's ratings book.
That's the real world. But she also, at times, has been able to enjoy the Aaron Sorkin-created HBO series Newsroom, about a fictional cable newscast. "I marvel at how they capture the uniqueness and drama in this work environment."
Editor's Note: WRIC-TV8 is Richmond magazine's television partner.
As the consolidation of U.S. broadcast media continues to snowball, a flurry of summertime mergers and acquisitions means that local television stations WTVR-CBS 6 and WRIC-TV8
will fly new corporate flags.
Media General, former owner of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, announced a pending merger in June with New Young Broadcasting, which owns 12 television stations in 10 different markets, including WRIC. With the new deal, Richmond-based Media General and New Young will control 30 stations, reaching 14 percent of the U.S. market, according to the companies' announcement.
Weeks later, Chicago-based Tribune Co. acquired Local TV, bringing WTVR under one of the largest multimedia companies in the United States.
Gannett Co., meanwhile, also scooped up more TV property with its purchase of Belo Corp., bringing its broadcast ownership on par with that of Tribune.
The run of deals among media companies with newspapers in their DNA ever proves multimedia is fast becoming the rule. —Jack Cooksey