Broadcast Vet Lamb 'Bound' for Bigger Things

Bill Lamb has, for more than a decade, poured his perspective into on-air “Point of View” editorials on WDRB Louisville (Ky.). The president and general manager of the Fox affiliate in DMA No. 48 now has another platform for the wisdom he has accumulated across almost four decades in broadcasting: He is the author of a new business book, Money Follows Excellence.

Lamb says his reasons for putting his thoughts in bound form included sharing the lessons his mentors have taught him, giving attendees at his speaking engagements more musings to digest and arming the sales crew at WDRB with a glimpse at how the general manager, and the station, operate.

“They can give it to clients and say, this is how we think,” says Lamb, who also serves as VP of broadcasting for WDRB parent Block Communications. “Our competitors have no answer to that.”

Lamb suggests it is a “small advantage” for WDRB, but every little bit counts in a tight market. Belo’s WHAS and Hearst Television’s WLKY were virtually deadlocked atop the Louisville heap in 2011 revenue, the last year for which BIA/Kelsey presently offers figures. Next was WDRB, with Raycom’s WAVE on its heels. Lamb also manages the local MyNetworkTV affiliate.

WDRB is making major moves. Next month, it will break ground on an 11,000 square-foot extension to its facility. In late January, the station launched a three-hour Saturday- Sunday a.m. newscast and hired 14 people to staff it. In 2012, Lamb poached a pair of high-profile sports columnists from the Louisville Courier-Journal—a sterling example, he says, of the Money Follows Excellence ethos that defines the station: Do what’s best for viewers and the revenue will follow.

Ken Selvaggi, VP and general manager at WAVE, calls Money Follows Excellence “a good read. It emulates everything we try to do as station managers.”

Lamb says he has been a note-taker/ saver his whole career. Two years ago, he started to assemble the better business practices he had witnessed in book form. He partnered with regional publisher Butler Books and has sold around 1,500 books since the title’s release last November.

Reception from the New York publishing houses has been lukewarm. But one fan of Money Follows Excellence is Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican whose blurb on the back cover of the 200-page book calls it “a marvelous study of timeless principles for people at any stage in their careers.” (Lamb says he and the legislator are “acquaintances.”)

Another fan is Block Communications chairman/principal executive officer Allan Block. “I think it’s extremely well done,” Block says. “It offers a formula for how to be successful, whether you run a TV station or are in another business.”

Lamb acknowledges he may be giving his competition a peek at the WDRB playbook, but he’s not worried. “There are some secrets in there as to why we’re in flourish mode,” he says, “but I didn’t reveal all of them.”

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Michael Malone

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, the L.A. Times and New York magazine.