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Chris Archer's Articles

On-Air Earthquake: How Would You Respond?

Earthquakes are a part of life on the West Coast, but they're rarely captured during a live newscast. On Monday, August 17th, 5 local stations in the San Francisco DMA were on-air when a 4.0 temblor struck at 6:49a. It didn't cause any damage, but certainly prompted some interesting reactions.

We've assembled clips from each station: CLICK HERE TO WATCH

These kinds of events can be a producer's dream, or nightmare. How would you react?

Top 10: Back to School

Some of us may have dreaded going back to school after a summer of fun and flings.  But now all grown up and working in the media, we must learn to love it and own it (many parents already do!).  It's our first chance to reunite with consumers - especially those female viewers - who are getting back into routines, which is especially beneficial to the AM newscast.  As you work on a specific plan for your market, here's a top 10 list of ideas from our team at SmithGeiger...

  1. Calendar: build a master school schedule, post it, talk about it daily, and be sure everyone in the builing knows when each school district starts
  2. A-Team: be sure your mainline staff is not off during the 2-3 weeks when schools go back in session; showcase a full anchor and reporting team, especially in the AM 
  3. Weather: create school or district-specific graphics, like an hour-by-hour planner, to run on those key days and/or weeks; post those graphics to social media

HOT CLIPS - July 2015

In keeping with our Back to School theme, here are this month's selection of Hot Clips from the SmithGeiger archives...

MORE IN THE MORNING (KCTV Kansas City): getting back into your morning routine with this team

GOOD STARTS HERE (WBZ Boston): minute-by-minute, transparent approach to the AM news

Top 7 for Summer

Ah, yes, summer.  A steady stream of sunny days... and vacation requests.  It's tempting for newsrooms to fall into a bit of a lull, but in fact, these months can give you a chance to accomplish quite a bit.  Our team at SmithGeiger has assembled a Top 7 List of tasks you may want to add to your plans...

  1. Act Like It's May: most importantly, the most effective news organizations never let-on to their audience (or staffers) that one month is more important than other.  Staying consistent and energetic while your competition is taking a break can win you ratings, switchables, and loyalists.
  2. Do a TV Blackout: form a committee, and tell them they can only consume your news product on their digital platforms for an entire 24-hour period.  You might be surprised what you find, or don't.
  3. Experiment: want to try out a new or relatively risky segment idea or showcasing tool?  Now's the time, especially on or around the 4th of July when viewer levels tend to be at their lowest.

HOT CLIPS - June 2015

No summer break for Hot Clips. And this month we focus on Weather and Traffic examples from around the country...

3D WEATHER (KNBC, Los Angeles): using augmented-reality to give an hourly forecast.

STUDIO TORNADO (Weather Channel): showing "the anatomy of a tornado" using The Lab, an augmented reality studio

RAIN SHOW & TELL (CBS DFW): an in-studio demonstration of just how much rain parts of Texas have received.

Story Ideas - May 2015

Does anyone smell the Memorial Day BBQ yet?  Not quite, and with plenty of time to make or break your May, our team at SmithGeiger has collected a dozen quick-turn stories hot off the grill...


Turns out Smart TV owners might be getting more than they bargained for when it comes to personal data.


It's a picture seen around the world (and a super-viral Facebook post), all part of a story from WWBT on social media safety.


Highway patrol officers in at least one city have invested in huge semi trucks hoping to get a better angle on those who text while driving.

HOT CLIPS: May 2015

Half-way through May, a few new Hot Clips from around the country to see what your colleagues and counterparts are up to...

4 Things to Know (WRC Washington DC): a concise way to impactfully and urgently send viewers out the door with what they need to know

AM Impactful Hello (WBRC Birmingham): adding empathy to the start of a bad-news-heavy A-block in the morning.

Tag Team Tease (WVIT Hartford): standing together teasing weather and traffic in the AM. 

HOT CLIPS: April 2015

Here's your early-spring helping of Hot Clips from our team at SmithGeiger. This month, we offer you 5 examples from newsrooms around the country...

Air & Ground Attack (WCPO Cincinnati): using a chopper and mobile phone side-by-side to cover a carjacking, first on the scene from both angles

Humanized Live Desk (KNSD San Diego): adding emotion to a Live Desk toss and hit, adding a human touch to a typically urgency-based segment

Urgent 6:30am Open (WPTV West Palm Beach): blending urgency and impactful language to kick-off a 6:30a segment loaded with energy 

STORY IDEAS - April 2015

With perhaps a few pockets left on your spring planning calendars, our team at SmithGeiger offers a dozen potential story ideas headed into May...


Front-load washing machines use less energy, less water, and less detergent.  But a class action lawsuit claims the liances may be creating a big mold problem for people who own them.


An outdated policy advises postal service employees not to call 911 first when they witness a medical emergency. An investigation has helped prompt change at the local level, but other postal centers may still be vulnerable to these delays.


In its ongoing advocacy push for better roads in Detroit, WXYZ is now helping drivers replace their tires, deflated by endless potholes.

HOT CLIPS: March 2015

We hope you enjoyed last month's debut of Hot Clips.  Let's keep the video rolling, with 5 updated examples for March...

Alert Center (WBTV Charlotte): similar to last month's Live Desk hot clip, here's a different market with different showcasing 

Morning POPical (KNXV Phoenix): an energetic way to market your AM newscast, using fresh highlights from that morning's show; a proof, image, and topical all in one

12-Pack Team Coverage (WRC Washington DC): showcasing a dozen reporters during a major snow event.