Posted by: Rob Kane on Friday, November 22, 2019

With so much focus and attention on the media in today’s world, the Leadership Tampa Class of 2020 continued on their immersive syllabus throughout Tampa Bay recently, visiting iHeartMedia, the Tampa Bay Times Printing Plant and 10News WTSP. The class’s goal in visiting these organizations was to gain a deeper understanding of how and why some stories are deemed newsworthy, while others are less frequently covered.


Panel discussion with iHeartMedia Market President, Chris Soechtig.


After LT’20 was welcomed by the day’s sponsor, Kerry O’Reilly (LT’15) of The Tampa Bay Times, the class was treated to a panel discussion of senior media executives from iHeartMedia, including Market President, Chris Soechtig.  

The iHeartMedia team articulated how iHeart is much more than just radio. iHeartMedia has the largest combined reach of any radio and television outlet in the U.S., reaching over 250 million listeners per month and is the #1 commercial podcaster in the country.

The panel discussion also uncovered two common underlying themes repeated throughout the day, which is that media is changing faster than ever and that there is a constant battle for consumer’s attention.

iHeartMedia and others are highly reliant on advertising dollars to continue to fund and expand programming. Tommy Chuck, SVP of Programming at iHeartMedia summarized it best by saying there are constant discussions internally and with on-air talent to ensure that advertising is aligned with the iHeart brand and the values of the person delivering the message.

Tampa Bay Times Printing Press  

The next stop saw LT’20 visiting the Tampa Bay Times Printing Press. Executive Vice President and GM, Joe DeLuca kicked off the session by reframing the challenges that the newspaper industry is currently facing. “Local news and information is our product and the printed newspaper is just one delivery mechanism”, said DeLuca.



Printing Press at The Tampa Bay Times Printing Press Facility

After touring the once buzzing printing facility, it was clear that the speed of change in the digital era has forced the newspaper industry to adapt and evolve in order to meet the demands of today’s consumer.

The innovation highlight of the Tampa Bay Times visit was when Bruce Faulmann, VP of Sales & Marketing, introduced the LT’20 class to the latest on-premise advertising solution from the Times. The solution replaces traditional static posters in businesses with modern televisions that can sense when consumers are watching and engaging with the advertisements, even making assessments on the consumer’s reactions from smiling to indifference.

10News WTSP

The final stop of the day was with 10News WTSP, where the LT’20 class was exposed to what it is like to be in front and behind the cameras of a large, local television production.

Kari Jacobs, President & GM of 10News WTSP spoke to the advancements in local news and how tools such as social media and real-time analytics dictate what is broadcasted, today more than ever before.


LT’20 Class Chair, Lance Lansrud, on the set Great Day Live at 10News WTSP

It was here at 10News where the LT’20 class had the greatest opportunity of the day to ask the tough questions regarding objectivity in the media. What ensued was an engaging and professional conversation where the 10News staff shared their perspectives around the sensationalizing of stories and the difference between the national and local landscapes.

Overall, the day was educational and engaging with the LT’20 class coming away with a deeper appreciation of the difficult decisions that go into selecting what is seen and heard within our Tampa Bay region and nationally.