Bluff City’s Biggest Get

I was like a lot of people who were taken by surprise by Memphis mayor Willie Herenton’s decision to resign. The news hit the Commercial Appeal website sometime Thursday evening. I was watching Belmont nearly beat Duke and didn’t hear the news until 10pm on our station in Nashville.

This morning when I turned on my computer again I see that Fox 13 got the interview that everybody was bound to be watching. Willie Herenton, the five term mayor sat down with anchor Mearl Purvis live on the air for what appeared to be a very candid talk about his decision and his legacy.

Wow. In this day and age of every station having a live truck or three, and talented reporters and anchors and websites, this was as big of an exclusive as one can get.  These days, every big story is reported at practically the same time on two or three tv stations. Exclusives are much harder to find and keep exclusive until newstime. But this one, the story that everybody is going to be talking about today, and I do mean everybody, came to just one tv station.

It isn’t every day that a reporter from one station is hanging out by the door of another station, hoping to get a soundbyte from a newsmaker.

Congratulations to Purvis and to news director Ken Jobe. Following up all of those Emmy awards with a big night like this is sure to turn some heads, and channels. (Frankly though, I’d like to have seen Cameron Harper at 24 do this interview…wouldn’t that have been fun).

I wonder how Fox got this one? Did they get tipped off before the other stations? Did Jobe or Purvis have an “in” with someone on Herenton’s staff? Does hizzoner favor Fox 13 over the other news departments? Was this something Herenton or his staff had thought out ahead of time? They certainly expected a media frenzy, so did they have a plan ahead of time for which station would get the first interview?  And what was that night like inside the Fox 13 studios?

I remember nights like that, when we killed the competition with a story that they all wished they had. This one belongs to Fox 13. And if there’s anyone at 3 or 5 who still thinks the market is just a two-horse race, they better hope they’re still one of the two with Ken Jobe in the next couple of years.

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