THE DNC 2024 CHALLENGE
MEMO TO GENERAL MANAGERS
OF CHICAGO'S six major TV STATIONS
February 8, 2023
Memo to General Managers of Chicago’s Six Major TV StatIons
Channel 2: Jennifer Lyons, President and CEO, WBBM TV Channel 5: Kevin Cross, President and General Manager, WMAQ TV Channel 7: John Idler, President and CEO, WLS TV
Channel 9: Paul Rennie, Vice President and General Manager, WGN-TV Channel 11: Sandra Cordova Micek, President and CEO, WTTW TV
Channel 32: Shiela Oliver, Senior Vice President and General Manager, WFLD TV
From Steve Sewall, Director, Chicago Civic Media (CCM)
Subject: SAFE HOME CHICAGO: A Win-Win Opportunity for Chicago and its TV Stations
Dear General Managers:
This memo is an invitation and a call to action for Chicago' s six TV stations to collaborate with Chicagoans, Chicago police, City Hall and other local media in advancing Safe Home Chicago (SHC), a citywide campaign to turn the corner on Chicago’s crime wave – the worst in memory - by the start of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) on August 19, 2024.
Profitably so, for local TV stations and other media.
Impossible, you may say. But think again. “Safe Home Chicago,“ a six-minute read, details a bold, market-driven safety strategy whereby Chicago’s TV stations and other local media play constructive roles in mobilizing the entire city to accomplish in six months what Chicago has failed to accomplish over the past six decades: bring its crime and violence under control.
Chicagoans have always told their leaders that safety is the one thing they most want from them. Financially speaking, helping Chicago curb its crime enables your stations to aggregate and bond with this citywide audience, which numerically surpasses the large audiences of telecasts of Chicago’s pro sports teams.
Speaking of sports, SHC is basically a game: one that challenges Chicago, as a city, to turn the corner on its crime. On deadline. Everyone can play. And there’s your profit angle: everyone. Everyone in Chicago, including its media, wins or loses this game. And the game is entirely winnable when Chicago's media mobilizes Chicago to win it.
Here we propose that Chicago’s media, spearheaded by its influential TV stations, get to know Chicagoans in new, exciting, game-changing ways: by tapping deep into their experiences, ideas, skills, wisdom and boundless energies when working together to make Chicago safe. In so doing, media will be tapping the Market of Whole of all Chicagoans with a stake in the safety of their homes, neighborhoods and city.
Profitably so. Because that’s every man, woman and child in Chicago.
One lucky TV station will get to play the lead role in this process by airing an ongoing, televised Safety Summit. Other stations and local media can play the game in ways that work best for their audiences and advertisers. For instance, a three-minute news feature by CCM is detailed here.
I would add that apart from added staffing roles and responsibilities, our safety-generating ideas in no way conflict with your stations’ current programming aims and practices. To the contrary, they co-exist, complement or even augment them.
I suggest, as a first step towards weighing the pros and cons of this proposal, a 20-minute Google Meet with you or a staff member at your earliest convenience. To be followed by a Google Meet of up to seven people: two from my organization and up to five from interested TV stations.
A third, in-person meeting, as mentioned in Safe Home Chicago, would then convene city leaders and GMs of seriously interested TV stations.
The safety-generating concept proposed here is public domain. It belongs to Chicago. My only financial interest is in serving as a paid consultant for it and programs developed by CCM.
I urge you to consider this proposal seriously. I look forward to exploring with you its immense potential to make Sweet Home Chicago safer while raising Chicago’s TV stations to new levels of influence, responsibility and profitability in Chicago.
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