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Nielsen Rates High in Phoenix

With respect to WFLD Chicago chief meteorologist Amy Freeze, our new favorite name in the station business is KPNX Phoenix research director Jay Nielsen. Nielsen, who’s not related to the ratings-giant family, says his surname is always a trusty ice-breaker when meeting with agencies and clients, and has proven to be a good "foot in the door" when interviewing for jobs in the past: "It seems someone always wants to talk to you because of the name," he says.

Nielsen, who graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State, says his name was once the source of embarrassment in college. As a professor prepared to explain the Nielsens to his students, he asked if anyone in the room had ever been a Nielsen family. New to the TV biz at the time, Nielsen’s hand shot up. 

One perk of being a Nielsen, however, is that anything with Jay’s name on it might carry a little extra heft. "They always joke in the sales department that if it comes from me," he says, "they can source it as ‘Nielsen.’"

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.