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When a newsroom transformation results in a stronger news brand and incredible ratings growth

When a newsroom transformation results in a stronger news brand and incredible ratings growth


Like many news stations today, WDAY and WDAZ were facing a fork in the road – continue on the same tried and true path, or find new ways to modernize the newsrooms and adapt to new technology, platforms and changes in consumer content consumption. When GM Josh Rohrer took the helm in 2018, he saw an opportunity to merge the two station brands under one umbrella in order to strengthen the overall brand. He turned to Magid to help define the best strategy for the approach, through research and consultation.



Strengthening a news brand by uncovering emotional motivators that led to increased engagement and higher ratings

Under Josh’s leadership, Magid tested emotional motivators, conducted brand research which helped highlight weather as a major strength for the station, and ultimately identified a strategy to put all of WDAY’s resources under one roof by dropping the station numbers, focusing on the strength of the WDAY brand and re-branding as WDAY-ABC.

WDAY is owned by Forum Communications, which also owns The Forum newspaper, WDAY news talk radio station and other local brands – another major differentiator for the station, and one that Magid identified as a key marketing message that resonated with viewers and consumers. Layer the overall rebrand strategy with that strong marketing message, talent coaching and sales consultation, and you have a recipe for a transformed news station.

“We identified existing areas of strength for WDAY and opportunities they could focus on improving without additional investment,” said Triston Sanders, Consultant at Magid. “It came down to accountability for the team – by working together toward the ultimate goal of transformation, they were able to execute on building off the basics and become even more sophisticated in their approach.”

By taking smaller, more manageable steps toward achieving the overall goal, it freed up time for WDAY to focus on workflow improvements and identify multiplatform efficiencies. And those small steps led to big wins.

“Our original engagement with Magid began with research on the TV market. With very specific goals in mind, we then began work on achieving those goals. Having the results of the research was great, what turned it into an absolute game changer for our stations was working with our consultant, Triston, on using those results as drivers to meet and exceed our goals. We have met every short-term benchmark, and have hit some of our longer term goals, months, and in one case, years ahead of time. Our news and brand is stronger today than I could have hoped for. A very positive note is that our morning news has been nominated for a Emmy – the first time this has happened for our station,” said Josh Rohrer, WDAY.

The results show a growth in engagement and dramatic increase in ratings from 2018 to 2019. Since Magid and WDAY began working together, WDAY’s ratings in every single newscast have grown.


» Newsroom transformation strategy
» Consumer attitudes assessment
» Brand attribute assessment
» Magid Pay-for-Performance Program (PFP)
» Marketing promotion and rebrand strategy
» Talent coaching

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