Local TV News: Can You Put Me Through to Jeff Glor?

Local television affiliates’ regional and national relationships
March 14, 2019

This is part five of a series on local television news. Previous topics were who’s who in newsrooms, a day in the life of a newsroom, morning shows, and how you pitch.

Ask any local television newsroom staffer, and they will probably tell you stories about viewers who ask to have their comments shared with everyone from Oprah to Savannah Guthrie.

While local television affiliates have a direct connection with a national broadcaster (i.e., CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, or The CW), it typically doesn’t work the way many people think. Most of the time, there is no direct line to "Nightly News" or to syndicated shows like "Ellen."

Along with broadcasting shows like "The Bachelor" or "Madam Secretary," affiliates receive editorial assistance for their newsrooms from the national broadcaster. Primarily, this comes in two forms: coverage of national or international news (ranging from reporters who work for the national broadcaster to livestreams of press conferences) and access to a vast network of affiliates across the country.

That connection to a broad affiliate network is key.

Considering that nearly every major market in the country has an ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX affiliate, your cool/visual/interesting story has the potential to be shared with all of their affiliates.

While it is unlikely a station in Rhode Island will cover that story, it is possible that other regional affiliates will pick it up.

In fact, your local affiliate has a morning call with not only someone from their network, but most of their regional counterparts as well. This may mean the story that aired in the Twin Cities could end up on Rochester, Duluth or Eau Claire television stations … especially if you can highlight a connection to their area.

Keep this in mind as you develop any media outreach plans, as it could help you spread your story and message farther. If you are curious about other television news-related topics, reach out to Caitlin Hurley with University Public Relations at hurleyc@umn.edu.