How Fox News Has Evolved Since Its Tumultuous 2016

By Chris Ariens 

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FNC and FBN svp of marketing Michael Tammero is among the Fox Newsers in Philadelphia this weekend attending the annual NLGJA Convention.

Tonight, at an opening reception, Tammero will announce that Fox will sponsor the NLGJA’s Connect student journalism program for the next year. It’s a financial and purposeful commitment that may not have happened even a few years ago.

Tammero, who has been with Fox News since its launch, says marketing two cable channels “is always exciting, always challenging. From product, placement, promotion even pricing to some extent. You get to be involved in all parts of the business,” he said.

TVNewser: How has the marketing message changed in the last 15 months given the turmoil and changes internally?

Tammero: Our message, to the endless irritation of our competition has stayed the same. We win. They lose. FNC continues to dominate not only its cable news competition, but all of basic cable as well. We just had our 15th week in a row as #1 in all of basic cable prime time and have been the highest rated cable network in total day on television for the past 35 consecutive weeks. That never gets old repeating. And over at FBN we continue to see increasing ratings dominance over CNBC. As we kick off our 10th anniversary FBN is celebrating by beating CNBC in total business viewers for almost a full year.

TVNewser: You’ve been with Fox since nearly the beginning, how would you characterize morale now following the events of the last year?

Change is a great thing. With change comes opportunity and this is what I tell the people who work for me or ask. Embrace it. Thrive in it.

In the beginning, a lot of people who were initially nervous right after July 2016 are now getting more jazzed and excited to come to work and to be a part of the incredible change that is happening right now. From our new state of the art Studio F, a new newsroom under construction, our new push into the digital sphere, new line up, an inclusion council to promote diversity, morale is up and everyone I talk to from the make-up artists, line producers to prime time anchors, everyone I speak with is excited to 1) be a part of covering some incredible stories happening everyday, and 2) to be a part of building a news channel that is best able to cover those stories from an inclusive and diverse point of view.

A lot of people, myself included, feel we now have the support and resources to do things in a way we would not have had 15 months ago. In a lot of ways it’s better time to be at Fox News right now than our initial climb to #1 back in the beginning.

TVNewser: How has Fox News’ commitment to LGBT issues evolved over the years?

To be honest it’s a work in progress; especially when you look at some of the incredible work other business units at 21CF have done over the years. Some very talented colleagues of mine from Patrick Manning, Reed McDowell to Brett Larson have held the line for us the last few years, but in the past, LGBTQ issues have largely been left out of the diversity discussions at FNC for whatever reason. But I can say, with a great deal of enthusiasm that under Rupert Murdoch and our new leadership team of Jack [Abernethy], Suzanne [Scott] and Jay [Wallace] along with Kevin Lord, it is now being recognized from the very top with a serious commitment to address our issues generally and to nurture the next generation of journalists in particular.

This is an exciting time in our history, we have the opportunity to be forward thinking in a way that wasn’t possible the first two decades.

TVNewser: You wear several hats at Fox, what does the marketing side entail?

My main focus is on making sure our message and product are in the right place at the right time with the goal always being more eyeballs to the screen. Younger eyeballs. How we reach those people and in what way is always the challenge because what worked in 1997 is not going to work in 2017. That is what gets me fired up to come in every morning.

TVNewser: You are also Fox’s entertainment reporter. Which job is more fun?

UGH! Don’t make me choose! I really love both for different reasons and it’s great to work both sides of the brain. I have always thought of entertainment coverage as marketing in that it deals with the product and how we may get some people who may be reluctant to appear on Fox News to sit down with us. But marketing and management is so invigorating from an intellectual creative stand point. So when I’m working on an ad layout or copy I am all in, baby! And when I cover entertainment whether it’s talking to Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney or Queen Latifah, it’s so incredible to converse with people at the top of their game. Plus the best is when viewers reach out to me over social media and say “love when you are on Fox, your segments always make me smile.” I mean? Come on! It doesn’t get better than that. And isn’t that what we all need more of these days?