While summer is typically the season to dial back slightly on the frenetic pace of television, it’s going to be a steamy few months for DuJuan McCoy. He’s the owner of WEVV Evansville (Ind.), whose summer plans include moving into a recently acquired building, hiring on-air talent and doing regular rehearsals leading up to a local news launch in early August—the station’s first full-blown newscasts since that operation was disbanded in 2001.
McCoy, 47, promises a unique entry to the news landscape in DMA No. 103. “We’re not trying to be who they are,” he says of his Raycom and Nexstar rivals in Evansville. “You don’t want to do it exactly the same way as the competition. We’re going to be doing a little bit of guerrilla warfare.”
Taking on well-entrenched competitors is a huge challenge, but McCoy is not one to back down. He’s one of the surprisingly few African-American TV station owners in the U.S. (Pluria Marshall Jr. and Armstrong Williams are also in that group), and he knows his success can lead the way for future minority owners. “I embrace the chance to be a role model,” McCoy says.
A Butler Bulldog
McCoy is a product of Indiana, growing up in Indianapolis. His mother was a hospital business manager and his father a State Farm insurance agent. McCoy studied at Butler University, where he captained the track team, and casually mentions still holding school sprint records. “I was more of a quick guy than a fast guy,” McCoy says. “I was quick getting out of the blocks.”
Indeed, shortly after graduating, he landed a job at WTTV-WTTK in his hometown, after director of sales Bernie Souers read an Indianapolis Star article about McCoy’s academic and athletic achievements. It was the first of a handful of times that someone presented McCoy with a promising opportunity. “I didn’t know I wanted to go into television,” he says.
After six years at the stations, McCoy moved on to a general sales manager job in Greenville, N.C., one of several GSM positions he ended up holding, culminating at Fox’s KRIV-KTXH Houston. But McCoy wanted to own, and enrolled in the NAB’s Broadcast Leadership Training program in 2007. “I knew how to run a TV station; I knew the operations side,” he says. “What I did not know was how to talk to investors about raising money to buy a television station.”
McCoy’s time in the program predates the tenure of Gordon Smith, NAB president and CEO. But Smith says he takes “special pride” in knowing McCoy’s ownership career was hatched there. “DuJuan is one of the bright young leaders in broadcasting,” says Smith. “He’s got the desire, the savvy and the commitment to localism that will help make a significant mark on our business.”
McCoy’s Bayou City Broadcasting, named for his new home base of Houston, was launched in 2007. Mc-Coy acquired a pair of small-market Texas stations for $3 million in 2008, improved their operations, and flipped them for around $20 million in 2012. He closed on WEVV late last year.
Evansville looks forward to another news outfit, says Mayor Lloyd Winnecke. “It’s huge for us to have another editorial voice in the Evansville landscape,” says Winnecke, who used to work in local TV. “DuJuan is very energetic and very visionary; we’re excited for him to be investing in the market.”
A CBS affiliate with Fox as a multicast, WEVV has the promotional might to successfully launch news. Its on-air team will be diverse, and the news brand will bear the slogan “Focus on Family and the Community.”
The father of three sons, McCoy is on the hunt for more stations. He says the paucity of African-American station owners is connected to a lack of African-Americans in management roles. He’s grateful for the handful of execs who opened doors for him. “Someone has to give you a chance,” McCoy says. “Someone gave me a chance.”
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.
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