KTLA, Times Employees Acting More Like a Family

Media
by Claudia Peschiutta

The synergies that were supposed to appear after KTLA-TV (Channel 5) and the Los Angeles Times became part of the same family have been slow in coming but the two Tribune Co.-owned entities finally seem to be working together more closely.

KTLA's "Sneaks" special on May 4 was produced in conjunction with a Times' May 5 special section on summer movies by the same name. The television show featured KTLA entertainment reporters Mindy Burbano and Sam Rubin and Times film critic Kenneth Turan discussing the paper's Top 10 summer film picks.

"This is truly the first real collaboration where both entities had equal say in the content," said KTLA News Director Jeff Wald.

The first "Sneaks" special, which aired in November, was produced solely by KTLA because we "couldn't get the synergy to work as well as we wanted to," he added.

Despite being members of the same company, the relationship between KTLA and the Times hasn't always been a friendly one. Times writers have been openly critical of the "KTLA Morning News" and Channel 5 personalities have been known to take jabs at their print counterparts.

But there have been other examples of cooperation. The TV station has provided video for the LATimes.com Web site and added a feature on the coming day's headlines to its nightly newscast.

Times reporters recently began making regular appearances on KTLA newscasts via cameras installed in the paper's L.A. office and Washington bureau.

Wald conceded it's taking a while to build up trust between the two organizations. "We've been very respectful and understanding of the different cultures of print and broadcast," he said.

Get Your Paper

While former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan is working out many of the details for the launch of his newspaper, the LAExaminer.com Web site has begun offering subscriptions to the publication.

Riordan recently announced plans to put out a paper this summer with the help of LAExaminer co-founder Matt Welch. While Riordan has wavered on the question of how often the paper would publish, the Web site was touting it as "the new Los Angeles daily."

The first 1,000 people to subscribe to the paper through LAExaminer.com were promised a "special treat" and a "special super-cheap discount rate." Subscribers won't be billed until after they start getting the paper.

Try, Try Again

IHOP Corp. is having a hard time finding an advertising agency it can stick with.

The Glendale-based restaurant chain was looking for a new agency last week after taking its creative account from Heil-Brice Retail Advertising in Newport Beach. IHOP had worked with the firm for about two years following an even shorter stint with New York-based Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners.

"In the last 20 years, we've utilized three ad agencies," said IHOP spokesman Patrick Lenow. "As we look to elevate our brand-building efforts, we decided that we wanted to expand the resources that we have in an agency."

Joni Brice, chief executive officer at Heil-Brice, said the agency has been "unable to come to terms" with the new management at IHOP. She declined to say how much the IHOP creative account was worth.

Traffic Numbers

KFWB-AM (980) has for years been providing "Traffic On the Ones," or regular traffic reports at one minute past the hour, 11 minutes past the hour and so on. Now, KABC-TV (Channel 7) and KNBC-TV (Channel 4) have recently come up with their own versions of the well-known phrase. KABC launched "Traffic On the Sevens" while KNBC started doing "Traffic On the Fours."

Officials at both television stations declined to comment on who copied whom. But Roger Nadel, vice president and general manager of KFWB, was certain both KABC and KNBC got their ideas from his radio station (though other radio stations around the country and even the Weather Channel have similar tags).

"Tell them 'Congratulations on an original idea,'" Nadel quipped of the local TV stations.

Selling Sports

KFWB is putting together a sports sales department in the hopes of boosting ad revenues when it adds L.A. Dodger game broadcasts to its line-up.

Mark Warlaumont was scheduled to take the newly created post of director of sports sales on May 13. He plans to create a sports sales team of four to eight people for the all-news station before the Dodgers come onto KFWB next year.

The Dodger games could bring in $10 million or more in ad revenues to KFWB, he said.

The team announced late last year it would switch from Clear Channel Communications Inc.-owned KXTA to Infinity's KFWB at the end of the 2002 season.

In Other News

Aaron Walton Entertainment Inc. plans to expand its operations in the wake of its acquisition by ad giant Omnicom Group Inc.

The L.A. firm, which specializes in entertainment marketing and creating corporate sponsorships, plans to build up its New York office staff and open a third office in Chicago later this year. The L.A. office will keep its employees and founder Aaron Walton will stay on as president of AWE

Through a deal with Netherlands-based PEPC Worldwide, the L.A. Times will be offered in PRESSPOiNT kiosks around the world. By swiping a credit card and clicking on the Times' icon, readers will get a tabloid-style print-out of that day's paper for about $2. The Times will get 25 cents for every daily copy and 50 cents for every Sunday copy printed.



Staff reporter Claudia Peschiutta can be reached at (323) 549-5225 ext. 229, or at cpeschiutta@labusinessjournal.com.

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