NBC 24 debuts ‘Better Living,’ plans 11:30 a.m. news show to start Dec. 1Written by Tom Konecny | | firstname.lastname@example.org
“Better Living,” a new feature show on NBC 24 hosted by Charity Freeman, has quietly debuted as the only locally produced non-news program airing every weekday in the Toledo market.
NBC 24 plans to follow it with the introduction of an 11:30 a.m. news, aimed at being the first midday news in the Toledo market, beginning Dec. 1. An official anchor is yet to be named for the 11:30 a.m. news show, but NBC 24 General Manager John Nizamis expects the person to come from the station’s current pool of news talent.
“Basically, we’re going to be ‘NBC 24 at Midday,’” Nizamis said. “Our selling proposition is to be first at mid-day, and on days that it really matters we’re first with the news. We’re trying to be different, and we think this competitively puts us in a better position. You’ll have one network lifestyle show leading into a local lifestyle show.”
While competing stations offer consistent once-a-week programs, “Better Living” is the lone show that airs Monday through Friday.
“I did this exact same idea in the market that I came from and it was met with overwhelming positive response from both the community and advertisers that were on it,” said Freeman, who also serves as NBC 24’s general sales manager. Freeman and four other top level management came to NBC 24 in the spring via Fort Wayne’s Granite Broadcasting Corporation.
Nizamis appears to be making good on the pledge he made when he also arrived in the spring with Freeman, to enhance the on-air product and increase community involvement.
“We have to expand our coverage of news to become relevant, and the only way to do that is to bring more news to viewers,” he said.
Nizamis said he is happy to have NBC 24 expand its offerings. At one time, local stations were content offering much syndicated programming, but Nizamis said he knows today’s viewers demand local news throughout the day more than ever.
“I think no matter what market you’re in, you have to be hyperlocal,” he said. “When you have 200 choices now of programs, you’re only as good as what you’re airing. The one thing the local stations will always have is that we have the local news.”
Nizamis says the new lifestyle show is a win-win by increasing the station’s ad revenue, and also helping clients grow.
Nizamis said there is a fee to appear on the show, and he’s proud of the quality of presentation.
“We have to strive to become more credible, and in this situation, if someone else started doing it, I’m not sure anyone could do it better,” he said. “The show looks as possibly as good as you can expect it to be.”
“Better Living” has a predominant sales focus and invites both current and non-regular NBC 24 advertisers to showcase their products, services and events. Freeman also intends to highlight area events and allow groups to get their message out.
“['Better Living'] is everything that I wanted it to be,” Nizamis said. “It’s a vehicle that allows advertisers and not-for-profits an outlet that’s not normally available through other channels. The show is more advertorial, and at the end of the day, you kind of pay to get your message across. You can’t always do that with a 30 second commercial, and hopefully along the way it’s also entertaining.”
Freeman started her career in TV news reporting and is comfortable as a show host, too. Having switched to the sales side, she feels the program is a perfect fit.
“This keeps me in the studio just enough to scratch that itch,” Freeman said. “It makes perfect sense for me because I’m from the sales side, and you want someone sensitive to that.”
Nizamis believes that Freeman is the perfect fit for the show.
“She has a natural rapport and looks very comfortable doing it,” he said. “Because this is a sales driven program and she has the talent to do it, she brings a very unique perspective. She gets it and she’s not afraid.”
There are three guests on each show, and Freeman said she has no trouble filling the air time.
“We all like to talk what we are passionate about,” Freeman said. “That’s really the key. It’s not hard to fill five or six minutes.”
The show debuted in late October, and will permanently introduce live shows beginning Dec. 1. Freeman also expects to do an occasional show on location.
NBC 24 will move “The Doctors” to run at noon as an alternative to the other channels’ local news offerings.