It's a big day for CBS46 and our sister station, Peachtree TV. Wednesday, we officially become part of the Gray TV family, a company based right here in Atlanta.
CBS46 anchor Rick Folbaum sat down with Gray's CEO, Hilton Howell, to talk about the move and his vision for the future of your favorite Metro Atlanta TV stations.
Howell says he's discovered the key to good local television.
"TV in the 21st Century is going to be about local, local, local," he says. "It always has been, but now it’s more important than ever. We have to move fast, but we have to do it right."
Howell runs one of the largest TV station groups in the country, but he hasn't had a foothold in the very market where his company is based. Until now.
"Well, we're awfully proud," he admits. "I'll tell you that."
As of Dec. 1, Gray assumes ownership of WGCL and Peachtree TV, acquiring both from the Meredith Corporation. Howell is excited.
"What do you view as the job of a local station?" Rick asked
"I think of these stations as a sort of community hearth," exclaims Howell. "(That's) hard to imagine in a city as big as Atlanta, but I think really good, local TV brings people together."
Howell has chosen TV veteran Erik Schrader to oversee the Atlanta stations. Schrader says viewers will see the same quality journalism they've come to expect, just more of it.
"I think they can definitely expect more news," promises Schrader. "More coverage. More local content. We’re going to get very aggressive on that front. I want to find more places to put more newscasts and I also want to find out what else the viewers of Atlanta want and we’re going to make sure that we provide that as well."
Gray is also looking to make a splash in Georgia's ever growing TV and film production business, building a sprawling studio complex on the old General Motors lot in Doraville, to rival the production facilities in Hollywood.
But for Howell, it's Gray's local TV stations that are closest to his heart.
"When I grew up, I’m from Waco, Texas, I took a lot of pride in my community from the TV station in town and how they presented the community to the world. So I just want to make sure that WGCL and Peachtree TV show off Atlanta in the best way possible."
As for delivering the news during these sometimes divisive times, Howell says viewers will get the facts they need to make up their own minds.
"I just ask for Atlanta to give us a shot. Viewers, come in! Watch the evolution, because it’s going to be fun."