JONESBORO - Ted Fortenberry believes there is no better time than the present to take charge of Northeast Arkansas' only full power television station. In a testament to the leadership of outgoing General Manager Clyde Anderson, Fortenberry noted, "Clyde has done just a phenomenal job of shepherding the station through the issues of cable compensation and satellite television regulations."
Effective March 1st, Fortenberry takes the leadership responsibility as KAIT-TV's new V.P. and General Manager.
In a recent interview with Paul Holmes of the Northeast Arkansas Business Today, Fortenberry's enthusiasm is easy to spot as he points out that KAIT enjoys the enviable position of being ranked consistently in the top five in terms of market share and audience metrics of all ABC affiliates. "I think this is pretty neat, sitting here in Northeast Arkansas [and] having such a wonderful television vehicle like that", he noted.
Fortenberry also related that because of the dominance in the single-station market, "local programming is important. In big, metro areas, you have a very transient community. There's not as much loyalty to one station. In this community people have high expectations of us for weather, news, and entertainment. A lot of people here grew up watching KAIT."
Because the station delivers high audience penetration, he said, KAIT enjoys an 'advertising strength' Fortenberry believes other media cannot match, dollar-for-dollar.
This is an exciting time to be in television broadcasting, Fortenberry said, with the age of high-definition, or HDTV. KAIT is at the forefront as a high definition, full-power digital broadcaster, whose employees enjoy working with more advanced equipment generally found only at stations in larger television markets.
Following graduating from Southern Miss, the Tylertown, MS (pop. 2000) native began his career at WLOX, an ABC affiliate and KAIT sister station in Biloxi, MS, working for Liberty Corp., regional V.P. Leon Long. Long would later be instrumental in bringing Fortenberry to Jonesboro.
Advancement in the television industry nomally requires frequent moves, so Fortenberry and his new bride, Candace, a Grenada, MS native, found themselves in the Greenville, SC and then the Charlotte, NC markets. Long, contacted Fortenberry in Charlotte and suggested that he consider an opening at the Jonesboro station. The Fortenberrys appreciated the size and proximity of the Jonesboro market to their family ties in Mississippi and the rest is history.
Though he, his wife and children relocated from the 27th-largest TV market to the 179th, Fortenberry said, "It's been a great move to a great community."