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The New Economics of Anchordom

I had some fun doing the reportage for our new cover story, “Dawn of the Post ‘Star Anchor’ Era,” and not solely because it meant having an image of Will Ferrell’s Ron Burgundy in my mind for much of the past few weeks (All together now: “I’m trying this new fad calling jogging. I believe it’s jogging or yogging, it might be a soft j.”).

I spoke to a bunch of GMs, news directors, consultants, agents and, yes, anchors, and got their take on what the new paradigms in both station economics and local news consumption mean for the talent world.

Like almost all of us, it means an increased role at work, and often less pay. “Anchors should be doing more,” said Mendes Napoli of Napoli Management Group. “They should be doing more to make the broadcasts better–more involved in the daily content, more fieldwork, more investigative. Whatever management thinks is the right vehicle for you.”

Several sources pointed out that you still need good, smart people to deliver the news and represent the station’s brand, and presumably always will. But there’s never been such a direct correlation between an anchor and precisely how much he or she brings to the station’s bottom line.