Thursday, July 5, 2001

A new graduate
from sales school

New KITV 4 Account Executive Steve Lewis is among 30 "students" who graduated from a sales academy in Dallas.

The second-ever Broadcast Sales Academy was assembled by an unusual confluence of competing television companies, namely, Texas-based Belo Corp., Rhode Island-based LIN Television Corp. and New York-based Hearst-Argyle Television Inc., parent company of Honolulu's KITV. The companies own or manage 60 television stations.

Belo hosted the academy, which was established in May of last year, "to provide high-level training for -- recently hired broadcast sales professionals," according to a company statement.

The four-week program covered all aspects of the media industry with a focus on sales issues, and featured speakers from the National Association of Broadcasters, the Television Bureau of Advertising and other respected industry professionals.

"The academy was really focused on looking for the customers' needs, and selling from a customer-driven approach," Lewis said. "I'm still learning, and am very thankful that they provided me with this opportunity," he said.

Even though participants work for competitors, "I was very pleasantly surprised, everyone got along -- as opposed to being from three different companies I feel like we developed contacts throughout the nation."

KITV President and General Manager Mike Rosenberg said the combined schooling effort came about in part because "it was probably too big a project for any of us to do on our own."

Rosenberg said nationwide the industry is attempting to bring more ethnic diversity to the sales side of the business.

Hearst-Argyle doesn't compete with either LIN or Belo stations in Hawaii, but Rosenberg said even if that were the case, having his employee training with a local competitor wouldn't be a problem.

"It isn't like you're learning a secret handshake, you're just learning good sales techniques. It's probably good for the market to have better sales people," he said.

Lewis apparently made a good impression on corporate sales executive Kathleen Keefe, who called Rosenberg to say Lewis had done "a really good job" at the academy.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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