FBN’s Kevin Magee: ‘We know when they find us, they like what they see’

By Chris Ariens 

Fox Business Network, the 3-and-half year old sibling to Fox News Channel, enters a new era Monday as the network becomes a full service client of Nielsen.

As we revealed yesterday, the network has a long road ahead to catch market leader CNBC. But the green shoots are appearing. Tuesday’s 11am hour was the second highest-rated telecast for that hour. Still, FBN EVP Kevin Magee is aware of the challenges: “We have to get the distribution up and get in front of people’s eyes. Because we know when they find us, they like what they see and they stick.”

Magee, who’s had stints at CNBC and ABC News, joined Fox News in 2000 and was given the reigns of FBN at launch. “I always say, people watch people. They watch the anchors they know. I believe that our talent is better than their (CNBC’s) talent,” says Magee. “It’s as simple as that. And we’re breaking through.”

FBN is also breaking through to the most affluent consumers. According to a Mendelsohn survey, which measures heads of households making $100,000 a year, CNBC has about 30% of that market, while FBN is next with 12%, followed by Yahoo Finance (7.6%), Bloomberg (5.9%) and the Wall Street Journal (5.6%).

TVNewser: What do you think being a full service client of Nielsen will mean to the perception of the network?

Magee: I think it means that we’re playing the game for real. We’re keeping score and not afraid to be in the fight.

TVNewser: FBN is growing, but CNBC still has about 5 times the audience on an average day. What are you doing to chip away at that?

Magee: Well we’ve been doing many things. Lou Dobbs joined us. We have a lineup of stars now. People are not afraid to come here. Charlie Gasparino came over, Gerri Willis …  Neil Cavuto gives us a great foundation to build off of. Liz Claman came over from CNBC. We are making changes to make us more robust.

TVNewser: What’s not working at FBN right now?

Magee: Well, CNBC started 20 years before we did, and they are analog and we are digital.

We still have work to do on business day. That’s were CNBC was the leader for the longest time. They’ve been doing things differently at night, but have been steady during the business day. We brought in Lori Rothman (from Bloomberg) to help us there. Chris Cotter is doing well for us. We have Dagen Mcdowell and Connell McShane. We continue to tweak that, to beef of the perception of us.

TVNewser: Any talent out there that you’d love to have at Fox Business?

Magee: We’re always looking. But we’re not looking at anybody right now. [Stuart] Varney has done well off the Imus lead in. We’re making the best use of the people we have.

TVNewser: You mentioned Imus, what is the status there after the rumor last month that he might be leaving?

Magee: That rumor came out of nowhere and came from nothing. To put it down I went on the show, something I don’t like to do. As I said, he’s got a long way to go on his contract and we’re very happy with him.