The Organizational Structure of a Television Station
Local television stations are affiliates of networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. These stations broadcast local news and magazine shows, network programming, syndicated shows and commercials. Television stations require the administrative support of a corporate enterprise that includes a business manager, a human resources manager, and administrative assistants. In addition, there are roles specific to the television industry.
A general manager, or GM, is the chief executive officer of a television station. This person manages the budget for the station, sets the human resources policies, hires and fires senior staff, and oversees all programming and sales initiatives. These individuals create a strategic plan for the organization and set benchmarks for achieving goals. General managers often have a high profile in the community and form strategic partnerships with local organizations to raise the visibility of the station within the market.
The sales and traffic departments are focused on selling on-air advertising and assuring those commercials air as scheduled, respectively. A sales department consists of a sales manager who oversees a staff of salespersons, who meet with clients in person and on the phone to sell air time, and sales assistants, who handle the administrative work of the sales department, which can include writing ad copy and interacting with the traffic department. The manager of the traffic department assures that ads air as scheduled, that the correct number of spots air, and that there are no conflicts in the ad schedule. For example, there shouldn't be two ads for two different local car dealers airing back to back.
The news department does reporting and local content for the daily newscast. This department is run by the news director, who enforces editorial policy and hires and manages staff. The rest of the news department consists of both on-air and off-air positions. Newscasts require an anchor, a sports person, a meteorologist, and correspondents or reporters. Behind the scenes news staff can include a desk assistant, who monitors news and can refer stories to reporters; researchers, who provide background for stories; producers, who write scripts and perform technical duties for the news show; and online staff, who adapt television material for online or create original content.
The director of operations, or chief engineer, assures that the station stays on the air and that all of the physical and technical aspects of the station are in working order and in compliance with standards set by the Federal Communications Commission. This includes management and maintenance of all equipment, including the transmitter as well as all cameras, monitors and digital editing equipment. This individual may manage the camera operators, the directors, who oversee the content and technical aspects of the television program, and the engineers, who operate and maintain internal and external electronic television equipment.