Interview Date: Monday September 15, 2008
Interview Location: New York, NY
Interviewer: Jack Myers
Collection: Cable Center Collection
MYERS: We’re here with Chris Moseley. I’m Jack Myers. It’s September 15, 2008, and we’re talking to Chris for The Cable Center.
MYERS: Chris, we’ll talk a lot about your history and some of the contributions, the many valuable and important contributions you’ve made to the television industry, especially the cable television industry, the advertising industry, the promotional community. Your contributions have been extolled as being at a level to make you one of, if not the, most important branding expert in the television industry today and in its last twenty years. So congratulations on achieving that success.
MOSELEY: Thank you, Jack.
MYERS: Right now, you’re senior vice-president for the History group. History group includes History, History.com, History En Espanol, History International, and Military History channel. Did I miss any?
MOSELEY: Well done, beautifully done!
MYERS: We’ll talk about your background and some of the things that led you to this. Last night you received an Emmy award for short-form promotion for History. Congratulations on that.
MOSELEY: Thank you. It was actually our head of on-air promotion, but part of my team. So we all bask in his glory.
MYERS: Well, congratulations and well-deserved.
MOSELEY: Thank you.
MYERS: Perhaps we’ll talk a bit about that as well. You received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Worcester in Ohio, spent a year at Johns Hopkins School of International Studies, and you received an honorary doctoral degree from Russell Sage College.
MYERS: You’ve also served as a board member for a number of industry organizations, and you’ve won so many awards over the years that if I tried to list them here it would take half of our time we have together. So let’s start, Chris – we have a tremendous amount to talk about – but let’s start with the present. Let’s talk about History, what you’re doing now with History, and what’s exciting you right now.
MOSELEY: Well, I actually started working with History on a consulting basis, and I was so jazzed about the upside that this brand has that I chained myself to a desk and Nancy Dubuc couldn’t get me out the door.
MYERS: Nancy Dubuc, of course, is president of History.
MOSELEY: It’s just been such an exciting ride. I started about a year ago. Nancy had started a few months before. A tremendous team, and just the culture that she’s put together of a real partnership between programming, scheduling, and marketing, I mean, a real, true partnership, and it’s just paid off incredibly. In the last year we’ve had nine of the top ten highest rated series in the history of History.
MYERS: Recognizing the sensitivity of 9/11, how did you go about promoting that?
MOSELEY: It was one of the trickiest marketing messagings I had ever worked on because in no way did we want to seem like we were going to be exploiting this 9/11 story. I think the fact that we ran it without commercial interruption was tremendously helpful, and we basically just took the angle, which we believe in, that this is history. It deserves to be remembered, and the memory of the people who were part of 9/11 deserves to be remembered. So we just took a very simple approach. We didn’t have any announcer copy on the promotion. It was all just taking it out of this footage that we gathered, so we did it in a very low-key way. We didn’t do any paid media around it, just on-air NPR.
MYERS: Well, of course that’s in the context of history and fits within the perceived brand identity of History, but Ice Road Truckers, and a number of the other series that you’ve developed seem to be out of the original context of History Channel, which began more as a World War II channel almost.
MOSELEY: Well, definitely there’s been a…
MYERS: Bring me up to date on the branding.
MOSELEY: The branding always follows the programming strategy and the business strategy, and one of the things that we looked at when I started with Nancy, and David McKillip in programming, and Pete Gaffney, was the fact that because we had focused only on history in the very distant past – so it was World War II, but we also went back farther and had done some ancient history – but we didn’t do any history that was more recent history, and we definitely didn’t hypothesize about the future based on what was happening in history. I spoke to probably 200 history professors in my initial work on this brand strategy, and it’s interesting, history professors don’t look at history as only the distant past. If you look at what’s studied in history at universities around the world, they’re always studying what has just happened, they’re looking at what might happen, actually the dimensionality of history is quite broad, but we had chosen as a company to only program in one piece of that. So we opened it up and really decided to own all things history, and to really reposition the network as covering really all aspects of history and owning all kinds of history. So we’re just opening it up. We still cover the past, and if you look at our schedule week-in and week-out, we’re still doing quite a bit of the topics that we used to do but we’re doing them in a really fresh executional way. I think that’s the biggest shift is that we’ve just opened up our brand personality and the execution of the programming, and the execution of the marketing, and our environment on-air, and our environment online, just our whole tone and manner has been updated to be more relevant, contemporary, and personal.
MYERS: And the results have been some record-setting ratings…
MYERS: Advertisers? How do they respond?
MOSELEY: Incredible growth. Demographically, we’ve grown tremendously.
MYERS: What’s your median age?
MOSELEY: Now we’re at 47.
MYERS: So that’s down from the mid-50s.
MOSELEY: Correct, and that’s in a year. We’ve also opened up a lot of viewership in 18-34 and 18-49, so tremendous new advertising category opportunities coming our way, so it’s really exciting.
MYERS: I do want to go back and talk about some of your history, and your personal history, but before I leave what you’re doing today, I’d like to talk a little about what you’re doing with education as well, and educational programs, especially as you talk about bringing history to life today and what’s happening today. So many schools, especially secondary schools, are still locked into textbooks and really talking about the ancient past, and they’re really not engaging students today in the political situation and the economic situation, the reality of the history that’s happening right now today. So can you share with me what History does in educational programs?
MOSELEY: Yeah, and actually there is a little bit of shift going on in schools. I did a field trip out to Apple last week, and their I-Tunes U area, video downloads, is really growing in terms of classroom usage even though it isn’t part of the original core curriculum. So I think that’s a trend that teachers are following to get some interest. We have a really robust educational offering, and we have about 220,000 teachers that we interact with on a weekly basis. Every program that we’ve done with them has been incredibly successful. We launched Take a Vet to School last year, and all 50 states signed up the first year, which is pretty amazing for the first year of a partnership like that. But ongoing, our website, which I think is a unique position in the kind of entertainment website space, 60% of the people who come to our site are coming for search, and some of the search is related to our shows, but other is teachers or students or parents helping kids, or just lifelong learners who are interested in learning and going deeper about a topic. So we have a tremendous use of our site and opportunity to keep building it, and there is a classroom section on it, which is heavily, heavily visited. But not just by students and their parents or teachers, lifelong learners are going there because they want to go deeper. I think that multi-platform nature of the History content is what’s really going to drive this brand to further success, and it’s one of the reasons why we revisited our trademark name. We still own the History Channel, but we’ve also shortened it to just History so that it really can migrate to all sorts of different platforms and feel appropriate and not feel in any way archaic, and that was one of the main focuses of our brand updating that we did when I first started and took the lead on. It’s just been a very exciting… we updated the logo. It had been the same logo since we launched and those things are always quite delicate to address, but I always believe in really listening to the people who come to you regularly, your highly involved fans, and we really have that. We have people who love us, who’ve been watching us for years, and you can’t beat them off with a stick, I have to say. And then we have people who were coming less frequently, but when they came they would stay almost an hour, which is the average length that our highly involved people stay. So the alchemy is how do you get the people who don’t come as often to come more frequently, but then also make sure you don’t alienate the people who love you and come all the time. That’s the trick to all of this brand strategy. So we really found the people who loved us still were very interested in our covering topics that were more recent, and looking at the present a little bit through a history lens, and that’s really what we’ve done, to come back and answer your question with Ice Road Truckers. I mean, Ice Road Truckers is part of a genre that we call American Originals, and it’s really all about the fact that globally America is known for a set of brand assets, a can-do attitude, a pioneering kind of mentality, going out there and making it happen, just coming up against all odds and still accomplishing so much, and that’s really what these truckers go through. They’re out there and it’s not what we would think of as civilization. They really don’t know if they’re going to make it home every night. That’s the same with the loggers in Oregon, which is our second highest rated series, Ax Men. We really went in and showed Americans that are off really 250 miles from any kind of civilized spot, and just living really dangerously to make a core product that everyone else uses every day and thinks nothing of – the table next to me probably came from Oregon. So, in other words, there isn’t a disconnect from the rest of us. These are people that are providing things for us, but they’re risking their lives to do so and we just felt that it was important for people to understand that there are people in this country living this way and what they’re up against. It’s funny, when I have a debate with people about Ice Road and History, I always say, well, what if we were actually going into Borneo and showing how tribes in Borneo are living primitively, would you even think that that would be an issues? And they say, no, of course not.
MYERS: Or if we went into the Wild West and talked about how towns grew up and villages…
MOSELEY: Right, but there’s something about it being in the U.S. that I think seems different for people for a brand called History, but we’re just looking through the lens of what people are doing every day will be history some day.
MYERS: History has also embarked on a program with several of the national organizations, Smithsonian…
MOSELEY: Oh, yeah, we have tremendous partnerships in place. Really every major significant historical site or museum we have a presence and a partnership. Gettysburg is reopening a really state-of-the-art visitors center, and we’ve partnered with them to do the film. We have a film that we’re doing with the Smithsonian when they reopen their American history exhibit. It’s all about the Star Spangled Banner and how that came about. I was part of a team that went and negotiated a new partnership with the Library of Congress, which I’m very excited about because it’s really the first official media and marketing partnership. I got involved with their brand strategy because we donated a film, a 7-minute film to their visitors center, their new visitors experience, which just opened in June, and the visitors to the Library of Congress are up like 24% since they opened this visitors center. That’s an institution… it’s basically Congress’s library, that’s their role in life. The head of the library, Dr. Billington, is the only, other than the Supreme Court Justices, the only other appointed for life Congressional appointee. A little known fact, most people don’t know.
MYERS: That’s interesting. That’s good trivia.
MOSELEY: Basically, they’ve spent so much time and effort collecting, preserving, archiving, and they have a global collection, it’s not just the U.S. They really have the world’s largest collection of everything, and they’re like the best kept secret in town. So what we’re going to be doing is a lot of digital short-form programming work and opening up the digital partnerships between our sites, and basically putting it out there to the world that the Library of Congress is this tremendous treasure trove. That’s all getting started, but it’s very exciting. They have things like the contents of Lincoln’s pockets the day that he was shot. He only had Confederate money in his pockets, and we’re doing a big… the anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination is next year; we’re doing a lot of programming around that. We’re going to be doing a lot with the Library of Congress, so it’s a great fit for us.
MYERS: Well, obviously you’re enthusiastic about what you’re doing now. I’d like to compare, in the mid-80s you joined the Discovery Channel, and we’ll talk about what led you to that, but at the time Discovery Channel was really nothing close to what it has become. It wasn’t a brand, it was a channel. It didn’t have a clear definition in terms of its content, its audiences were miniscule, to say the least, and then Chris Moseley joined this part of the team and it changed significantly over the years. So can you compare the experience you’re having today at History and what you’re accomplishing to what happened and how you contributes to the creation of the Discovery brand?
MOSELEY: Well, I think they’re quite similar, honestly, because both companies have always had strong programmers who are making great shows, and I like to say that the brand strategy and the promotion and marketing – the programming is really the stories, and then the branding is really the story about the story, and that’s an area that isn’t always mined at entertainment companies. So it’s been similar where I’ve gone in and really worked closely with the heads of the company as well as the programmers and said, “Okay, if you’re going to ask someone, if they didn’t know what was on tonight, what would they expect from a Discovery Channel?”, and honestly, the answer – I told you, I think, this the other day – the answer I got back from Discovery was really the understandable programming answer of reciting the genres. Well, Discovery Channel is history, science and nature, people and places – which seemed to be the genre where everything fell that didn’t fit in anywhere else – travel, so it was just a litany of programming genres. And I said, “Well, I understand that, but think of the magazine world where there’s this explosion of different editorial points of view and a lot of them are covering the same content, like home magazines, they’re all covering the same kind of thing. What is the editorial point of view that we bring that is going to make us be set apart in the landscape of choice?” And honestly they really weren’t sure how to articulate that. So I really believe strongly in the packaged goods research approach of talking. How you do that research-wise is mutated over the years, but still at the end of the day you’re finding out what is it that the people you’re after like about you, what do they want more of from you, what are they not getting in general from anybody, those sorts of things. And then also finding out from people who aren’t watching you what might be a barrier. So in History’s case, for example, it turned out that history as a genre isn’t really as popular with… students for example, the advanced placement students in high schools are excited about most of their AP courses but not about history, and this is something that I’ve heard from professors that have been training high school teachers annually to teach advanced placement history, and what seems to be the issue is that it doesn’t seem relevant to me. I don’t understand, when these things happen, what does that have to do with me, here, today. Times were different, it’s just totally different now. There’s nothing revealing about the past. And it’s not what happened when that matters to people, and this is where history has been taught very poorly in schools – facts, dates, and dead people, I like to call it. It’s not what happened when and who died and sort of the kings and queens, but it’s really more the choices and dilemmas that people faced because we never knew the end of the story at the time that people are living it. We don’t know what will happen with this election right now. So what makes it interesting in studying it is when it could have gone this way or that way, what were the choices people made. If they could have made this choice or that choice, why did they make this choice, and what dilemmas did they face, and that’s really the connective tissue of history, and when you dial it in that way and serve up history in that way it becomes personal and relevant and meaningful.
MYERS: And how did you apply that to Discovery, those same concepts?
MOSELEY: Well, with Discovery what we found people were really interested in was not only the final discovery that might have been made in science or about nature, but the exploring that went on before you make a discovery. So it was really all about you have to explore to make a discovery. It was as much – not to sound corny – that journey of discovery as it was the ultimate outcome that was interesting to people, and what they learned about the network and what we heard over and over again was I feel like they’re transporting me, I feel like I’m being transported to a place I’ve never gone, I may never get to go see, and I feel like I’m immersed in it. It was a very experiential brand, it turned out, which was not something that we really knew going into it. In fact, when I started, it was so interesting, there were 50 people in the whole company, and we would have a company meeting and we’d all go in the conference room together. It was a very flat organization. When I left ten years later, and I was the first head of marketing for the company, there were 5,500 employees worldwide, and my team had launched 39 different brands and products and services, not just all the network brands of Discovery. We re-branded The Learning Channel as TLC, we launched Animal Planet, we bought Travel Channel and re-launched that. But then we launched Discovery.com, which had a separate editorial focus way before people were doing that, honestly. We launched internationally. I mean, I lived in Mexico City for six weeks while we got up and running in Mexico, went over and helped us launch in Asia.
MYERS: Can you share with me that four to five year period when Discovery went from being a name to truly being one of the top, if not the top, brand in the United States?
MOSELEY: We became the top media brand known for quality. We knocked National Geographic Magazine out of that slot.
MYERS: So can you take me through the process of what the contributing components were, factors were to that success?
MOSELEY: Sure. You know, honestly, we looked at what the business had to accomplish and worked really hard not only with externally our consumers and the people we wanted, but all the key business stakeholders. So we worked really closely with ad sales, really closely with distribution, consumer products, all the different parts of the company that were bringing in income, and really looked to craft a single brand vision that would really roll out across all the different possible touch points, whether it was a business to business touch point, or a consumer touch point, there would be a really tight, tight focused brand essence. We even had vocabulary – use these words, don’t use these words, just really worked on making sure there was a rifle shot communication across all constituencies, and I actually really looked at what had been done at CBS when they had first launched. It was Lou Dorfsman who Paley had put in charge of marketing and promotion, and he really created a CBS brand and very carefully managed that across how the building looked, their identity, their environment. You could cover up the logo and you knew you were in their sense of place. I really replicated that.
MYERS: Every letter had to start at the same point on the stationary.
MOSELEY: Right. We were a little more relaxed than that, but still, creating a brand strategy that’s not just managed by marketing. I mean, basically the way I’ve worked everywhere I’ve been is to create the strategy with the benefit of research and stakeholders, get management with you, and then go around and literally train everyone in the company to be a brand champion because they’re always generating work, whether it’s work for sales or work for press or whatever it’s coming through, there’s no way you can possibly approve or sign off on every piece of business that the company has to do. So you have to really be a trainer, a teacher, so that everybody starts understanding what the brand needs to stand for. I mean, here, at History, I’ve been calling it brand camp because I found that brand training was a little… they weren’t sure what to make of it, so you make it fun. We call it brand camp and we give t-shirts, and we have a little wallet card that everybody gets when they complete brand camp.
MYERS: Everyone has to be willing to participate in that process, and you also have to have the authority internally to impose your brand strategy.
MOSELEY: Right, it all starts at the top. If you don’t have the support of the CEO and senior management it can be a job that has a lot of responsibility and very little authority.
MYERS: In the television business, so many networks, so many companies are siloed. You have your programming and it has its promotion and marketing people, ad sales have their research promotion and marketing, distribution, so how important is it within a company where brand is being brought to the forefront to have a single voice and a single message?
MOSELEY: Oh, it’s critical. We’ve seen it here when I first came and we did a brand audit just to see how everyone was speaking about the brand, all with very good intentions, all very well intentioned, but incredibly all over the place, and it was just understandable that there wasn’t necessarily a fully formed brand identity for the network besides the individual show brands. So we had that structure here where there was a separate marketing team, and ad sales were separate, and affiliate, and consumer products, international, but anything that really is talking about the brand and programs that go out and touch consumers in any way, or even the B to B programs, our team has become a sounding board and we work as a partner, basically. I just hate the idea of being brand police. I think that that doesn’t work at all, but when people start seeing parts of the company that… the brand group is really all about growing revenue for the company. Brand strategies are all about growing revenue. That’s why you have a brand strategy is to grow your revenue, it’s not just to have a brand strategy. So the more we’ve interacted with different parts of the company, and the more they’ve seen that we’re just all about adding value to what they’re doing, but being focused at the same time, now people are bringing things to us very willingly and it’s got a good feeling to it. Also, every place I’ve been I’ve set up a brand marketing counsel.
MYERS: Now, between Discovery and History, you spent some time at ABC. You also spent quite a bit of time at Hallmark Channel and re-branded Hallmark. Can you share with me some of the details on that?
MOSELEY: I’ll start with Hallmark. Hallmark was just a great challenge that no one thought was a challenge.
MYERS: Because it has such a great brand to begin with?
MOSELEY: Exactly. Hallmark has been around for over 100 years, and one of the most valued consumer brands, although fighting a little bit with low brand insistence, which can happen.
MYERS: What does that mean?
MOSELEY: That’s marketing jargon for you can have a really valued, well thought of brand, but consumers aren’t necessarily going out of their way on a daily basis to interact with it or consume it. So that’s where companies with strong brands can be lulled into thinking things are fine, but you start seeing in sales, etc., if there is a little bit of a decline ever, that can mean that the brand just doesn’t feel relevant and contemporary enough. So the challenge with Hallmark was, I was hired to help them launch globally cable networks with a Hallmark brand, Hallmark Channels, and the business plan called for 60% female, 40% male, and when I saw this I was like, Hallmark? And men? I don’t think they’ve ever targeting men in 100 years, and they were like, well, we’re bringing different advertising categories, financial services, consumer electronics, it’s important for us. Insurance… we need to have men. I said, well, that’s going to be tricky. So we started out our process, which I like to do, of talking to people. This was even before we launched. And the men’s groups that we did – we did a lot of online with the focus groups that we did – we showed a tape of a lot of Hallmark entertainment programming that had been done for broadcast networks and they had done a lot around classic novels like Gulliver’s Travels, and Dinotopia, Alice in Wonderland – they had some great action miniseries. So we showed pieces of this to these guys and they were like, oh, yeah, I’d watch this. This looks great. Cool! And then the moderator said, well, would you watch it on a channel called Hallmark? And there was this palpable “No way! That’s where my wife buys her cards. I won’t even go in that store. I stand outside. Hallmark – no way!”, which was similar to men and Lifetime. I had seen that in groups where men would say, “I’d be watching a movie and then I realize it’s on Lifetime and I’m like ugh!” So I knew that that was going to be a big, big challenge. Getting those 40% of guys to feel like this is my channel? But we put Dave Kennon, who had been at USA with Kay Koplovitz, just a fantastic programmer…
MYERS: Who headed programming at Hallmark.
MOSELEY: Fantastic programming at Hallmark, and he did this whole strand of original westerns and classic westerns and guys were coming in.
MYERS: He put Bonanza on, didn’t he?
MOSELEY: Bonanza, a lot of Clint Eastwood movies, and guys started coming and feeling comfortable in those blocks where he had more male-oriented programming, and eventually we started hearing back that they were proud to say they watched Hallmark.
MYERS: I think he took a lot of criticism for putting that block of western and old programming on, and it was all part of a strategy.
MYERS: It wasn’t just to get quick ratings?
MOSELEY: No, no, no, it was all part of making guys feel like this is my channel because at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about. It’s about the building of that kind of loyalty, and I think that’s going to be the trick with all of these networks.
MYERS: Was there a promotional strategy targeting the men to get them to feel more comfortable?
MOSELEY: Actually, what we did was we focused more on the promotional effort on getting the 60% of female and really getting a big group of those, and younger women as well, and I went and personally negotiated a deal with Gold Crown stores. That wasn’t part of the package.
MYERS: Just part of the Hallmark business, that’s their stores.
MOSELEY: It was part of a Hallmark business, but it wasn’t something that they were intending to do. It transpired once I started to link up the channel with the stores. They didn’t want to have the stores have to take their eye off the ball, they have various seasons, they’re always very busy, and they plan very far ahead. They plan, oh my gosh, like a year and a half ahead, and of course we were running around higgledy piggledy, programming much more quickly, so there was that Madison line kind of tension, but we had a great brainstorming in Kansas City, it was really cool, where we brought in some of their biggest store owners. They don’t own their stores, they’re independently owned, so we brought in equivalent to MSOs, they call them multiples, so people who owned hundreds of stores, brought in a few of those, Hallmark marketing, our marketing people, our affiliate distribution people, affiliate marketing people, and we spent two days brainstorming. We started out just what would be a win for you in your P&L, what’s a win for you? Tell us about your business. So we each presented. And then the second day we mixed groups up from each discipline and came back with ideas of how we could partner, and for the first time and the last time in my career, Jack, what was incredible to me was we had five groups and they all came back with the same idea.
MYERS: Which was?
MOSELEY: I’ve never seen that. Which we ended up doing. It was basically partnering around holidays. So we started with what they call holiday, which is basically Thanksgiving through Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s, and it was so incredibly successful for every level – affiliate, the store owners, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark cards – that it was rolled out to Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, and then holiday. And they’re still doing them, and just revenue for everybody and growth for everybody, so I’m really proud of that. That was great because they didn’t think it really was something that was worth doing.
MYERS: Good. So you started your career in promotion.
MOSELEY: Local television!
MYERS: And graduated from college, went back to your hometown of Baltimore and started at a local TV station in promotion. I understand they tried to make you a weather girl, but…
MOSELEY: I was so mortified. My first job was I was the only administrative support for the entire newsroom, so it was myself and 22 guy reporters, which was really fun, honestly. It was a great job, I loved it. So the news director said to me, “Well, you can’t be my secretary for the rest of your life, and we need a weather girl to fill in. Go audition.” So unbeknownst to me, I went and auditioned and they were piping it into the newsroom, my attempting to be a weather girl, and when I came back these guys just gave me so much grief. I swore that I would never do anything in front of the camera.
MYERS: And here you are!
MOSELEY: So I decided it was better to be in the background and just make things work. But it’s funny, I talked to our interns this summer, we had some great interns here at History, and really sharp, and they said, “Well, did you have your career all plotted out, and did you study this and do that, and intern here and intern there?” And I said, “No, really, I was supposed to be an attorney.” My dad had his own law practice and I was always going to go to law school, and that’s why I studied international relations, and I actually was accepted into law school and went to visit it and had such a negative experience.
MYERS: That’s where your dad went.
MOSELEY: Well, actually my dad went to University of Baltimore. He finished when he was 20. He was able to go from high school right into law school, so he was the longest running lawyer ever in Maryland. But in a nutshell, I went and the students looked miserable, the teachers looked miserable, there were two law student suicides while I was there, jumping into a ravine, and I just had this visceral feeling that I didn’t really think I was going to want to be a lawyer. So I called my dad up, as a only child it’s tough, and said, “Well, dad, I don’t want to be a lawyer anymore.” He was like, “What?” I said, “I really don’t.” He said, “Well, what do you want to do?” And I said, “I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out.” So I was washing my parents’ car and the sports anchor, Vince Bagley, came out, who lived across the street. He went to work everyday at 3:00, came back at midnight. He said, “So, you broke your father’s heart.” I said, “Yes, yes.” He said, “Well, what are you going to do while you’re finding yourself?” And I said, “Well, I’m not sure I’m finding myself.” And he said, “Well, while you’re finding yourself we need a secretary. There are 28 applicants, you’re going to have to pass all sorts of tests,” which I did. But that was a great… that was really a fantastic opportunity because then I moved into the press part, and then I moved into writing and producing and promotion, became assistant department head, and then I went to a series of larger markets as a department head. So I ended up back here in New York at WPIX, and basically just fell into the advertising end of things, which was another sort of miracle, where a woman named Jane Moss, who had been David Ogilvy’s first female copywriter, first female creative director, and gone to Wells, Rich, Green and ran the I Love New York campaign when it first launched, and has…
MYERS: Was Jane a role model in any way for the female character on Mad Men?
MOSELEY: Should be! Oh, she has some stories unbelievable stories! The only female in General Foods, P&G, yeah, very interesting. But in a nutshell, Jane came to pitch the station as president of an agency and it didn’t really work out. We were happy with our current agency, but about two months later she called me and said, “We have a client who’s going to fire us, Blair Television, they’re a television rep firm. They don’t think we have anyone in account management who understands their business and I thought of you. Now, you’re going to have to come and interview with a client,” So I met with Ken Dunellen, who was this tremendous marketer. All of the executives of Blair were male. The only women working at Blair were basically secretaries, so I did have a lot of Mad Men type experience. And Ken said, “I think this would be great. You will never present it. I will be presenting everything. It’s the only way we’ll get it through, but if you’re cool with that we’ll be all right.”
MYERS: Were you cool with that?
MOSELEY: I was like, well, okay, whatever, because I knew it was a great opportunity to go and work with Jane and get the agency training because I was really kind of self-taught, homegrown.
MYERS: Let’s stay on that thought for a minute because I think most younger people today in the business don’t recognize the level of misogyny that there was at that period of time in this industry, that it was such an incredibly male-centric period.
MOSELEY: Right. I was the only female department head at every station I worked until I got to Hartford, and a woman named Amy Miccone was really one of the first female general managers in the business, but all of the stations where I was I was the only female department head. There was just a lot of issues dressing wise in the agency business. There was this book that John T. Malloy had written called Dress for Success, and we all just slavishly followed it, which was wearing little bow ties. It was a real uniform, and I kind of broke out of that, I got to the agency, I became a VP management supervisor and I had Blair and I picked up all the other parts of Blair, and I picked up Group W, I picked up some media accounts that were pretty significant, but I also picked up a retail account, a women’s retailer named Cahoe’s, which was a guy, Sandy Zimmerman, who had been CEO at Abraham and Strauss, and then he bought his own chain of stores. So I walk in my first day into this upscale women’s clothing store, and he says, “This will be great. I love working with you. You need a whole new wardrobe.” Out with the ties! I was like, okay. So Sandy helped me out there, it was good. But definitely, Blair, for example, was just very old school, honestly. I always found that in broadcast television and with the clients I worked with, mostly male executives, at Monsanto, Levellor Blinds, there were really very few female clients who were sort of the senior people, but I did find if you worked really, really hard and were responsive and got results and added value, I was able to go through pretty well. In fact, I was on a panel in LA that Women in Film had. It was a panel that was all about discrimination in the film industry, which clearly they feel is still true today. So I don’t know how I got on this panel. It was Faye Dunaway and Gale Anne Hurd and Chris Moseley, okay. I was like the only cable person, and most of them were talking about all the discrimination they’d faced. Gale Anne Hurd talked about going to the UK, I think on one of the Terminator movies she was producing, and interviewing directors and cinematographers, and they would come… and this was in the last ten years, they would come to her suite at the Connaught and come in and say, “Oh, I’ll have a coffee.” So she’d go get them a coffee. And then they’d be, “Well, when is the producer showing up?” And she would say, “Well, I’m the producer,” and they’d be, “What?” And three of them stormed out and said they wouldn’t work for a woman.
MYERS: Times have changed.
MOSELEY: Yeah, so she’d basically call the office, it was Paramount she was doing it for, and said, “I’m not having much luck.” And the head of Paramount in Europe said, “Well, yeah, I know that. They’ve all stormed over here. I said to them you’ve lost your chance because Gale’s making the hiring decisions.”
MYERS: Well, we talk about things have changed, and the glass ceiling, you mentioned Nancy Dubuc, who is president of History…
MOSELEY: And Nancy reports to Abbe Raven.
MYERS: Abbe Raven is president of A&E Networks.
MOSELEY: And I’ve worked for some great women at Discovery. Ruth Otte was the first president, and then Judith McHale came in as that senior person.
MYERS: Of course one of the owners of A&E Networks is ABC, headed by Anne Sweeney.
MOSELEY: Anne Sweeney and I have always had a great relationship. Anne was running the cable networks part of ABC when I went over to ABC from Discovery, and it’s funny, I think I may have told you Jack, I thought I’d still be at Discovery. We were always launching, it was always like a new job. Every month we were launching something new. It was such an exciting place, and the same kind of excitement here today. So I got a call from Pat Feeley Crushell, who was the president of the network, and I just was not good on my homework. I didn’t realize there had been like eleven network presidents in seven years, I just didn’t ever figure that out. But Pat had run daytime and come into this presidential role, and she said, “I’m going to put a new marketing structure in at ABC television network and the only person I want to have run it is you.” So that’s pretty flattering when you have a network president call you and say that. I said, “Well, why haven’t you had that at ABC when they’ve always had that at Fox and CBS and NBC?” And she said, “Well, it’s just been something that we haven’t done, but we’re committed to doing it now,” which is basically pulling together sports, daytime news, and entertainment, or primetime. So she actually talked to me for eight months, which was longer than I ended up working there.
MYERS: Well, if you combine the period of future viewing with the time you were there you’ve got…
MOSELEY: Good point! So we kept looking at how would it work, you’ve got all these heads of divisions who have their own marketing teams. The silo thing times 100! They didn’t even speak. How would it work, how would it work? So finally, my husband said to me, “How bad could it be? It’s a big job, you should go do it!” So here I came, came up to New York, was actually in New York and LA, and found out my first day that it wasn’t something the company really wanted, only Pat wanted, and I would say this if Pat were sitting here. So, my first day Pat took me in to meet Bob Eiger, and he said, “I’ve heard you’re terrific, but I’m not a fan of this new structure.”
MYERS: That’s a great start! Why am I here?
MOSELEY: Why are we doing it? He said, “Pat wore me down.” And then just a few months later Pat had resigned and there I was with this structure nobody wanted. But I still could have been there even in a different sort of role, but Anne called me – back to Anne – and said, “I know that what you came here to do is really not what it’s turning into. I worked with David Evans at Fox when I was running FX and he was running one of Murdoch’s production companies on the lot, and David’s been brought in to be worldwide CEO of Hallmark Channels and he needs a chief marketing officer. I told him you were the one for him,” and I went and had lunch with him and two weeks later I was in LA working with David. So Anne really was the one who connected me with Hallmark.
MYERS: Now it’s full circle so even though it’s once or twice removed you’re working with her and for her again.
MOSELEY: Yeah, she’s terrific.
MYERS: When you look at the broadcast networks today, are they still held back by these siloes and these same issues that you were confronting a few years ago?
MOSELEY: I think Anne really has addressed that at ABC and I know that they are from a brand perspective working very closely with the network marketing people to have some consistent messaging. It’s hard for the broadcast networks to form a focused, single identity because basically people are coming to them for such different things. People who come for sports are not the same who come for some of the drama series, and definitely the daytime subculture is a whole other country. Because we did research, I initiated brand research when I was first at ABC, and it was really going to be challenging crafting a single defining concept. You could do that yellow campaign that Shyette had done for them, but that campaign never really drove the business forward the way a really strong brand strategy should. I mean, design wise it was beautiful and it looked great, but they didn’t even get sampling for their new season the way they had in previous years, even after all the spending on that campaign. Fox had the strongest network brand. When I did that research there was a tremendous understanding of Fox’s brand, and they even used a verb, they made it into a verb, which is always a sign of a strong brand. They would say, “Oh, well, they Foxifized this.” I think I even saw on some billboards in LA, they were going to Foxify this.
MYERS: You make the point of Fox, and you referred earlier to Lou Dorfsman and CBS, and how CBS had its Tiffany brand even though it had Green Acres and Beverly Hillbillies on-air. When I worked at CBS, we got premium prices for news and other content even if our ratings weren’t number one because of our brand image and equity.
MOSELEY: CNN got that initially, too.
MYERS: And I think still does, in many ways. So when you look at the opportunities for branding in the media business and television business with so many platforms now, with every media brand, as History has, expanding out its definition of content and genre, how do you confront the challenges from a brand point of view? How do you look at this business and if you don’t have a clear genre, whether it’s quality or other particular assets, what’s the process you go through to identify what a brand might be or how to brand a company that doesn’t have one?
MOSELEY: So, not a company like History where there’s a more easy umbrella?
MYERS: A USA, or…?
MOSELEY: I think USA’s done a very nice job of having… I think the entertainment brands are harder to brand than the niches that fall into History or fall into science, definitely. USA’s done a very good job of looking at their show brands and what’s the common DNA between those because it’s always about common DNA, and it was all these eccentric characters. I think they were very smart to hone in on the fact that they had characters that people were relating to, and then making that kind of the ensemble cast of a network and making that the positioning. For an entertainment brand it’s really hard to come up with something that’s a deep-end end benefit because at the end of the day it’s just enjoy yourself and have a good time. So I think they’ve done a good job at USA doing that. To answer your question, I think the way to go about it is what is it about our programming schedule that has a commonality and then take it out and… what we do is we try a little sort of concept paragraphs to look at the same program promise but come at it different ways. We’re looking at launching some newer kinds of flavors of the History portfolio. So we’re doing some of that legwork right now, and basically what we’re doing is we’re looking at what we’re going to run in programming, and what we’re hoping to run, and then just attacking it different ways in terms of ways you can offer it up, and you really see through that process what people kind of… what’s their hot button, so to speak. What are they excited about and what are their little, okay, I get why you’re saying that, but I could really kind of care less. We made up a phrase here called Frankencopy where we’ll steal things – we did it when we were working in the History positioning because there were just some aspects that really resonated and we started really glomming onto those and then putting them all together into one kind of a promise. So there’s a science to it, really.
MYERS: And when you look at the new media, the Internet, which isn’t exactly a new medium, but mobile, even digital out of home, how do you take the brand, the History brand, and move it across new platforms, additional platforms?
MOSELEY: We’re really playing in every new technology. We’re there. We’re there right now. Whether we can monetize it or not, we’re there. We’re there to just honestly start understanding the interaction and the experience that people have with us on that kind of a platform. So, you just gleam learnings as you go along about what works and what doesn’t work. I think the biggest marketing challenge for entertainment marketers is that a lot of the menu driven platforms, you’re not really necessarily having to go into a branded space to find the content. You’re going right to the content via surge, and the content isn’t really the overall brand, it’s the show brand. So there is a challenge in terms of taking ownership from a brand standpoint when you end up in these menus.
MYERS: Well, Chris, you’ve been managing for a number of years. How would you describe your own personal management style?
MOSELEY: Well, I really try to have… I try not to be a micromanager in any way, shape or form. So I think the agency experience, the advertising agency experience, was great for that. Watching people like Jane Moss have these teams of specialties and making it clear what needs to be done but not saying how it should be done. So I really try to separate the what and the how, so that everybody has some space, some little space to create because the stronger the people are the more motivated they are that they can really be creative and make a contribution, the better the team is, the better the company is, and from a long time ago I’ve been trying to teach everybody who works with me, and I really take this to heart, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it. So there’s a can and should, meaning I was a copywriter, I made promos, I could be sort of micromanaging that area. We’ve got a lot of really talented people – I’ve always had that everywhere I’ve been, really strong teams. I believe in hiring people that are just the strongest you can get, so if you’re run over by a bus the next day, the team goes on. Not everybody operates that way. Some people feel there needs to be a big kind of divide between the senior person and the rest of the team, but I’ve never believe that. I found that I keep people a long time. People have always come and worked on my teams and stayed a long time even though we’ve had great success everywhere and they were kind of ripe for picking off. So I try to take as best care of them as I can financially, but also I found it isn’t just their titles and the money they get, it’s all about the nature, with creative people, of what they’re learning. So I really try to have a learning organization. I bring in outside speakers, as you know, you’ve been one, try to do as many seminars… What we’re doing here at History is we have a monthly, we focus on something like building emotional branding through music – bring in examples of who’s doing this well, not in our business, but in automotive… and then one month we looked at who’s doing a great job in automotive because domestically, as you know, there are just so many cars that are similar, so it’s really the branding that sets them apart.
MYERS: Do you remember any examples of who was doing well?
MOSELEY: Honestly, Escalade was doing an amazing job. When you think about where Cadillac was this premium brand, and then they went into low brand insistence, as we discussed, and they just weren’t doing well even though as a brand they probably still had some cache.
MYERS: I was watching a game last night and they had a Ground Control to Major Tom, David Bowie, for Lincoln Mercury and it shocked me that it was Lincoln Mercury. I’m not sure it changed my opinion, but it was an excellent use of music.
MOSELEY: But it made you think. Unexpected is always good. I’m big on unexpected and surprising, always. But I just found with teams that if you really make it clear what has to be done, and you give them a lot of insight on research, you have people come in from across the country in sales groups and other groups and explain what it is they need to do well so that everybody in the brand group feels invested across all the parts of the company being successful – and that’s definitely something I brought to this department that wasn’t the way it was handled before. Everybody in my group now is familiar with affiliate issues. We’re not responsible for affiliate marketing, but we’re creating consumer work that’s used by affiliates, so I think they really need to understand what’s going on in that area. The same with ad sales. We’ve done a ton of work now with Amy Baker, who had been my partner in crime at Discovery in ad sales, in doing big partnership creative work with Sysco, Anheuser-Busch, Geico, some big brands have come in, and my group have created the advertising, and not their agencies, which is fairly radical. They run an isopod so you come right out of the show right into this branded content, and then into their adjacency, and we’ve proven every time we’ve done them – we did one with NASCAR and DirecTV with Ice Road Truckers – that we are maintaining people into the break and they’re finding it as a deeper cut of the story. And that’s actually coming back to your question on these new platforms. What I really find, and Lost at ABC I thought was a real trailblazer in this, where they looked at all these different platforms as a deeper cut, a way to tell more of the story, that whole Henry Jenkins thing about the whole story being told deeper. So you look at the linear television aspect as one part of the story, and then you have these highly involved fans who want more, more, more. So you figure out, in my opinion, on these other platforms how to give them more, but more that’s deeper, different so it all works together where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that’s when you really have a homerun. You’re not just serving up the same thing in a shorter form on other platforms.
MYERS: And you’ve also done quite a bit in tying in your networks with advertisers with cause-related initiatives, correct?
MOSELEY: Yes. That came out of a business need at Discovery. It was interesting, the Feeley group came, Bill Goodman, who’s so talented, and said, “We need a big affiliate promotion. We need an affiliate promotion.” We didn’t really have the money for an affiliate promotion because we were spending our, at that time, constrained resources trying to do more off-air marketing because that was the only way we were going to get to the people who weren’t watching us, and I said, “Well, okay.” He said, “Well, we have to have this and we have to have it in three months, be able to roll it out. It needs to be really great.” I was kind of like, okay. I didn’t think Discovery was really doing anything in the green space and I sort of shouted out for that. So I formed a partnership with a not-for-profit, American Forests, and they supply trees, saplings, as something they do anyway, and all the nurseries in the U.S. belong to this organization, so they ended up planting trees with affiliates on Discovery’s behalf, providing the trees. We provided the marketing support and the visibility for them, and a lot of materials, and it was really a homerun. It was a school program because they had historic trees. We planted trees in Audubon Park down in New Orleans that I like to go visit. I haven’t been to see them post-Katrina. I don’t know if they’re still there, but it’s kind of neat to go see this little tree planted and then go see these big trees. We had Christopher Reeve, he was the talent in the spots that we did, and he did it basically pro bono, didn’t charge a fee. He was a terrific guy in terms of really caring about how things are. So we actually put it under this whole countdown 2000 where we trying to solve global warming by 2000. Well, we didn’t do it, but it was a start toward it. We do that here. We have Take-a-Vet, and Save Our History…
MYERS: My sense is that there’s so much opportunity for cause-related and it’s so important that corporations need to get involved in contributing to the greater good.
MOSELEY: I have to tell you, Jack. I think that across American business with the economy being what it is, and CFOs being so impactful on what is done and isn’t done, cause-related has a very difficult ROI. It’s just challenging to demonstrate the ROI the way you would with another sort of a program. So unless you have a CEO who really understands that it’s all about building this one-to-one relationship with your consumer, and cause-related in a nutshell, helping someone make a difference in something they care about, that’s a huge homerun versus just marketing to them. This company’s really dedicated to that. We do a lot around Intervention with A&E, Abbe’s been a huge part of that. History has Save Our History, we’ve given grants to local sites that really would be totally falling apart if it weren’t for our grant, and we’re actually doing a whole Save Our History initiative with the Library of Congress which is going to be very exciting.
MYERS: Apart from the fact that cause-related is important and it does good, given your Discovery experience it also seems for companies that don’t necessarily have strong brands or who have eroding brands that it’s a shortcut to gaining brand equity and value with their consumers. Is that…?
MOSELEY: Totally. The consumer relationship is all about emotion, having a consumer really care about your brand and not just pay lip service to it, that’s the perfect storm. You have to have that. Cause-related is a really good way to make that happen.
MYERS: What was there in your childhood, to segue back 35 or 40 years…
MOSELEY: I watched a lot of television. I did.
MYERS: What did you watch?
MOSELEY: Oh, gosh! I watched everything. I watched the 4:00 movie. I think that was the first thing I was allowed to watch when I got home from school.
MYERS: Million dollar movie.
MOSELEY: Million dollar movie, I watched the movie in the afternoon. I’d have to get my homework done, but if I got it all done and it passed muster, then I was allowed to watch other kinds of series. Everything from Father Knows Best… I’m dating myself. Anything with these story arcs in them. I also really loved westerns. My dad and I watched Perry Mason together, and we had a game going where we would guess who was guilty after the first break and I’d put it on a piece of paper under a lamp.
MYERS: How’d you do?
MOSELEY: I did quite well, actually. It was so obvious, really. But I actually come from a family that tells a lot of stories, and there were family stories, and also a very strong female role model leader. My mom was the first Presbyterian elder in the state of Maryland when there were really no female elders, and my grandmother, who graduated from Vassar in aught ’06, as she called it, marched on Fifth Avenue as a suffragette. So I come from a family of strong female leaders. And then my husband, who’s been tremendous…
MOSELEY: Tom, who’s just whatever I wanted to do… I could say, I want to go be a traffic manager in Alaska, and he’d be, okay, let’s figure it out. He’s very supportive.
MYERS: Well, I know you followed him to New York and Connecticut when you left Baltimore originally, but since then he’s been following you.
MOSELEY: It’s true, and he’s been really good about it. His mom and grandmother were married but they always worked. They were teachers, but they worked when not everybody’s mom worked, and he’s just always been very supportive. We always thought we’d have a family, and we tried but it didn’t work out physically with me, I had miscarriage, and instead of letting that drag us down, I’ve seen that happen with people, we just decided to sort of put it behind us and I would just keep watching other things. I don’t have any children, but I have all these brands.
MYERS: They become like children.
MOSELEY: I look at them that way, honestly.
MYERS: And what’s in the future, Chris? What’s next?
MOSELEY: You know, there’s so much going on that’s exciting. Just having been out to Apple and talking to those guys about where everything is going. I’d love to provide my branding expertise to a wider, general management type role because I do think that people who come from that CMO perspective in working with all the different parts of the company to drive revenue have the kind of vision that can be great in a role like that, kind of the team leadership. So hopefully someday I’ll get to run something.
MYERS: But yet the average CMO in corporate America, chief marketing officer in corporate America, the duration of their job, their lifespan is about 22 months.
MOSELEY: Yeah, I’m talking about actually leapfrogging that into a GM or running a brand.
MYERS: Why do you think it is that marketers have such limited lifespan in their jobs?
MOSELEY: I actually just read an electronic newsletter today from Rick Lind, who’s at Batalli and Winston executive search, about that, and I thought a lot of what he had to say was true, which is CMOs often come in from outside the corporation as an agent of change, and I have definitely been recruited to do that at a lot of places where I’ve been, well, actually, everyplace I’ve been, and agents of change come in and they don’t have the relationships in the company to really push through an agenda and partnership with people. I always spend a tremendous amount of time building relationships across different departments and finding out what people need from marketing, and what they need from the brands, and what value they need. A lot of people don’t go about it that way. I know there have been some examples of Coca-Cola, Sergio, who was kind of my way or the highway.
MYERS: Julie at Wal-Mart.
MOSELEY: It’s tempting to do it that way because you pretty much see what the strategy should be once you’ve done your research and your thinking, but if you do it as a corporate cram-down, there’s always going to be people just hoping that you stub your toe and you fail. They don’t feel respected, they don’t feel consulted.
MYERS: You really need to build your constituency internally.
MOSELEY: It’s hugely, hugely important, and then most of these CMOs are coming in as new people. They have no stakeholder relationships, so that’s an issue. And then I think the other issue is the metrics that are set up are often short-term, and honestly, an effective brand strategy takes two to three years to really come to fruition after roll-out. We’re only one year into ours, we’ve got a long way to go, and this positioning we developed with History made every day, that’s a shift in people’s perceptions so we’ve got to blow it out and really bring it to life. Not everyone gets the chance to do that. They do an ad campaign, it may not be executed in the right way, there may not be a short-term impact on sales, and off with their heads. It’s an easy place to go before you go other places.
MYERS: Well, it seems, Chris, that your head is on very tightly and there’s no off with your head in your future because you continue to lead the industry, you continue to really have amazing success stories follow you everywhere you go, and that’s a tribute to the work you’ve done, the leadership you’ve demonstrated, and the tremendous support you’ve given to various organizations in the industry as well.
MOSELEY: Thank you.
MYERS: Can you pinpoint one or two organizations that you really care about?
MOSELEY: Sure, I have the dubious honor of having been on the CTAM board at various times. Of course I was on, and then I went to ABC, so I was off, and then I was on at Hallmark, and then I came back east. But I’m a huge fan of Char Beales and the officers in that organization. I think they’ve done an amazing job in navigating what’s valuable to their members and providing it. Promax, which I really believe in as an organization, it’s not only cable, as you know, it’s broadcast and syndication, and all the different creative boutiques that do work for television and now the internet. I was the first cable network board member – oh, gosh, I don’t even remember what year that was – but when I went in everyone else was from broadcasting, and the reason they had asked me was they thought they needed someone from cable, but I had been in broadcasting so they figured I was okay. I came into the first meeting an they literally – they had rehearsed this – they all put their hands up and they said, “Here comes the dark side.”
MYERS: It’s amazing how broadcast rejected cable, radio rejected television. It’s hard to envision the model where every medium now has to be across all platforms.
MOSELEY: Well, we were not only rejecting cable, but once I demonstrated that we could bring in this whole constituent group we had to change the name, and I got that done because the name was BPME, which was Broadcast, Promotion, and Marketing Executives. I said you’re never going to get cable people to something that’s called broadcast, so that was a whole re-branding that we went through, but then once I…
MYERS: And then it became Promax.
MOSELEY: Right, and we brought in… there are more cable members now of Promax than there are from broadcasting.
MYERS: And are you embracing the internet at Promax? And mobile?
MOSELEY: Absolutely. Promax has really been foresighted about multiplatform applications, they really have. I’m very proud of that with them. But there was also a negative about international membership because when I was the chair of Promax I wanted to widen the international membership and have some conferences outside the U.S. since not everybody could afford to travel, and that was hugely controversial. Hugely controversial! “It should just be us, it should just be us.” There’s always a kind of “people like us” thing going on where they don’t want to diversify in whatever area, and I look at that with my teams as well. If you just hire people who are exactly like you in style and mindset you’re not going to have a strong team. So I like to shake it up. We’ve brought in some people here who have brought some different points of view. We have a very talented creative director who came into our on-air promotion group via international. He’d worked at the History Channel in Venezuela. I just saw his work and it was just spectacularly creative graphically, musically. So English is his second language and he’s joined our team, and he’s just doing tremendously well. So I think shaking it up is always something that I’ve wanted to do.
MYERS: Shaking it up, but team building at the same time.
MOSELEY: And I mentor all these people. I always have a group, I have about five now that have either come in through friends of mine or graduating from college or people that I’ve known through friends of mine, somehow they’ve sent them to me, and when I see that they’re talented and they’re willing to be proactive and do the homework because I give them a lot of homework, I end up with about five at any given point that I’m helping along. It’s tough right now. It’s tough to get your foot in the door, even when you’re talented.
MYERS: It’s tough everywhere and it’s going to get more and more difficult even as the opportunities, the number of companies out there increase, it seems to be becoming more and more difficult, especially beyond that first step of where you’re just starting out. So the fact that you’ve built teams everywhere you’ve been and have so many people who consider you their mentor around the industry today…
MOSELEY: I love coaching, I decided. It’s funny, when I decided to come back East – David Evans went back to Australia, and I decided to come back East and not be quite as far from everybody…
MYERS: This is after Hallmark Channel?
MOSELEY: Right. So I started and I had my own little company incorporate, Moseley Marketing, Inc. I did well with clients, I had some good clients, but I missed the coaching, I missed the team building. It was much more coming in one-on-one and working with clients and then leaving. I’d sort of look around, where is the team? So I definitely love the coaching part.
MYERS: You mentioned the people who have mentored you, Jane Moss you mentioned. Anyone else you want to mention?
MOSELEY: Sure! Oh my gosh, I’ve just been so lucky. I really have. I consider you one of them, Jack.
MYERS: Thank you, Chris. It’s mutual.
MOSELEY: It’s true. Gene DeWitt was tremendous influence on me. Gene, who always had his own company, DeWitt Media, and I became aware of him when I first started at Discovery and hired them. He was tremendously strategic in helping us build that brand.
MYERS: Gene writes a blog on our website now.
MOSELEY: Gene is amazingly smart. I remember he had this saying about you can’t whisper in a crowded stadium. In other words, when people would say why can’t we take this money and do 14 efforts? Why are we only doing four? And it was the idea that it was just wasted at that level. I learned a lot from Gene. I learned a lot from Ken Dunellen, who was my Blair client, who was probably the most savvy ad sales marketing person I’d ever worked with. I learned a lot about presentations from him, crafting a really kick-ass presentation. Believe it or not, before PowerPoint – I’m dating myself – we did everything on slides. It was a nightmare. So we’d do this big Blair presentation for NAB or NATB, and they were bringing all their clients in, and we’d make slides on a black background and then we’d be up all night doing the slides over and over and over, and finally ending up with it. Thank God for PowerPoint! But he taught me in terms of crafting the message of shape it up early, what it is you think the people you’re presenting to need based on your conversations with them, “I don’t pretend to understand your business, but this is what we understand your challenges to be,” get them talking, get them nodding, and then explain how what you’re doing is going to meet and exceed that need, and I’ve stuck with that kind of approach ever since. There are just so many people who have been kind to me along the way and given me opportunities, just a lot of people have been really good to me. I’ve stayed in touch with them. There are people in the business that I just kind of talk to, like an Ann Carlsen, for example, as a tremendous role model and someone that you can always bounce things off of who will give of her time. I think the one thing I’ve really learned is that people are just really generous if you reach out to them, they’ll give you their time and try to be helpful, and the cable industry, in my opinion, is unusual in that space. I really find – I don’t know if that will change with all the consolidation, who knows what will come going forward – but heretofore, the cable industry I think has been unique in, without sharing competitive secrets, being supportive of one another and wanting to see success, and that was definitely not something that I experienced in broadcasting. I don’t know if it’s there in the internet space, either.
MYERS: Yeah, I think that’s fair. Again, this is Jack Myers talking to Chris Moseley for The Cable Center on September 15, 2008. Chris, thank you very much.
MOSELEY: Thank you, Jack. I enjoyed it.
MYERS: I did, too.