Monday, November 25, 2013

Steve Simon expands NewsFix to KDAF from KIAH

Steve Simon leaves Houston's KIAH to expand NewsFix format to KDAF Dallas

Steve Simon
Steve Simon
People who were waiting to see if/when CW 39 KIAH's anchor-less show NewsFix would start showing up in other cities now have an answer.

 KIAH executive director Steve Simon is leaving the Tribune station in Houston and moving to sister station KDAF in Dallas as news director to start NewsFix in the DFW Metroplex.

"It's a great opportunity," Simon told "Look forward to it."

Simon has been at KIAH for the last 13 years. When the then KHWB rebooted its news in 2000, Simon was the station's weekend anchor for the launch. He moved to main anchor and then as a commentator. He became the station's executive producer in 2010 prior to NewsFix's launch.

Before Houston, Simon worked at WSVN-TV Miami, WHNT-TV in Huntsville, Alabama, WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio and WFXL-TV in Albany, Georgia. He graduated from the University of Texas and earned a masters in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

You might remember Simon's wife, Lisa Baldwin, from her years on KPRC 2.

I asked Simon if his award winning Simon Says commentary would air on KIAH or KDAF once he gets settled in DFW.

"Once the show starts in Dallas, maybe I'll think about doing it again," he told me.

Simon's promotion follows the one by his boss a few months ago. KIAH general manager Roger Bare took over GM duties at KDAF (while retaining his Houston duties too) in September.

No word on when NewsFix debuts on KDAF, but I would imagine it will take some time. For example, NewsFix's KIAH debut was announced in July 2010, but formally came on the air March 2011. I would imagine it will not take KDAF that long to get it on the air since there is a blueprint in place, but I'm sure there will have to be new hires and equipment upgrades.

I know that people across the country in the TV biz want to know how NewsFix does in the Houston TV news ratings race. At the one year anniversary, the then Tribune CEO said the following:

“We are pleased with what “NewsFix” has accomplished in its first year,” said Nils Larsen, CEO of Tribune Broadcasting. “It has proven to be a viable news format, one of many recent innovations in newsrooms across Tribune Broadcasting.”

Click here to see the company's ratings claims in 2012.

In the May 2013 ratings, the Houston Chronicle reported it had a 0.5 in households and a 0.3 in adults 25-54. Someone commented in that post that NewsFix had a 0.5 P25-54 at 5pm which they claimed was competitive with KRIV and KHOU in that time slot.

While the ratings might not be burning up the Nielsen TV charts, I repeatedly hear NewsFix is profitable. I think most TV viewers know the cliche that TV stations will "do anything for high ratings," but that might not be the case as much anymore.

In the last few years I have observed most corporate TV companies are just fine with profitability over high ratings. Clearly high ratings means more money through advertising, but these days, the retransmission fees are becoming just as important.

Dallas media blogger icon Uncle Barky has more on this from the KDAF Dallas perspective.

KIAH 39 News: The last days in photo before NewsFix