Tribune Broadcasting’s Kerri Cavanaugh Named News Director of the Year by Broadcasting & Cable

Tribune Broadcasting’s Kerri Cavanaugh Named News Director of the Year by Broadcasting & Cable

WXIN FOX 59/WTTV CBS4 Indianapolis VP/News Honored

Tribune Broadcasting is pleased to announce WXIN FOX 59/WTTV CBS4 Indianapolis’ Vice President of News, Kerri Cavanaugh has been named News Director of the Year by Broadcasting & Cable.

Each year Broadcasting & Cable selects a single news director who, amid the fragmented media landscape, has “directed the troops to create comprehensive, timely content with the most relevance to their market.” This year, that honor belongs to Kerri Cavanaugh.

In August of 2014, Cavanaugh was tasked with creating a new CBS news department at WTTV (formerly a CW affiliate) from the ground up…in time for a January 1, 2015 launch. In only 144 days, Cavanaugh created a whole new department structure; hiring managers, producers, photographers, reporters, anchors; she defined a news brand strategically separate from the one on WXIN FOX; assisted with the development and design of a set and graphics, plus launched 3 websites.  She moved from the leader of one newsroom to two, and was now responsible for the production of over 90 hours of local news a week.  She also had to figure out how her two newsrooms would compete head to head against each other four hours each day, Monday-Friday.  If that wasn’t enough to do, FOX was scheduled to launch a new 7pm newscast in September 2014, less than a month after the CBS announcement.

In three and a half months, Cavanaugh hired more than 60 people and created an all-star “Hometown Team” of anchors bringing popular local anchor Debby Knox out of retirement and getting another face familiar to local viewers in Chief Meteorologist, Chris Wright. She paired them with Bob Donaldson from the FOX affiliate and immediately had an anchor team that Indianapolis viewers knew and loved.

“What Kerri accomplished in 2015 was unprecedented,” said Bart Feder, Senior Vice President of News for Tribune Broadcasting. “We’re not only proud of what she pulled off — but how she did it.   She is a dynamic and effective leader who manages with integrity, creativity and passion.  On behalf of all of our group’s news directors, we congratulate Kerri on this well earned recognition.”

Very soon after the launch of CBS4 News, the station saw immediate ratings gains particularly in late news, while FOX59 also continued to see growth in every news day part.  In the short time WTTV has been on the air they are #3 in early evening news and in a nightly fight for #3 at 11PM (in a 5 station market). In Oct, FOX’s 6-7a grew 50% year-over-year and 7-9a grew 30% year-over-year, and owning the #1 position at 10PM and #2 at 11PM.

The success for both FOX59 and CBS4 isn’t just limited to on air.  Since the launch, CBS4 has seen growth online as well as with all of the station’s social media products.  The FOX59 online footprint has continued to grow and for the past 4 months has been the number one local news website in Indianapolis.  On Facebook, FOX59 increased the station’s likes by 44% and is just under 500,000 total.  The station’s Twitter page saw an increase of 42% in followers.

“As I think back on what our team accomplished over the past 15 months, I can’t think of any other person that I’d share this accomplishment with, nor anyone I’d rather have even attempted it with,” said Paul Rennie, WXIN, WTTV VP/General Manager. “Kerri is not only smart; she has been brave, efficient and a joy to work with.”


Tribune Media Company (NYSE: TRCO) is home to a diverse portfolio of television and digital properties driven by quality news, entertainment and sports programming. Tribune Media is comprised of Tribune Broadcasting’s 42 owned or operated local television stations reaching more than 50 million households, national entertainment network WGN America, available in approximately 73 million households, Tribune Studios, and Gracenote, one of the world’s leading sources of TV, music and sports metadata, powering electronic program guides in televisions, automobiles and mobile devices. Tribune Media also includes Chicago’s WGN-AM and the national multicast networks Antenna TV and THIS TV. Additionally, the Company owns and manages a significant number of real estate properties across the U.S. and holds other strategic investments in media. For more information please visit