VOL. 121 | NO. 182 | Friday, September 15, 2006
WMC TV General Manager Brings Award-Winning Broadcast Journalism to New Role
MEGAN WATERS | Special to The Daily News
"I like that I have a job that provides a service people rely on. In times of crisis, like severe weather, people know we're going to be there with the information they need. I'm proud of the contribution local TV stations make."
- Lee Meredith
Name: Lee Meredith
Position: Vice President and General Manager
Company WMC TV-5
Basics: Meredith, who just signed on in August, brings experience from a long career in broadcast journalism. His new post is his third for Raycom Media, WMC's parent company.
Lee Meredith comes across as sincere, generous and hard-working. He's also the new vice president and general manager of WMC TV-5.
Meredith started his new job in late August after Howard Meagle resigned the post for personal reasons. Meredith had worked in a similar position at WAFF TV in Huntsville, Ala., since 2001.
This is Meredith's third assignment for Raycom Media, the company that owns WMC and WAFF. During his time in Huntsville, WAFF's major newscasts became No. 1 in their time slots and came in first place in sign on-sign off ratings, according to the most recent Nielsen rating period in May.
But he's most proud of what his stations do for the community.
"I like that I have a job that provides a service people rely on," said Meredith. "In times of crisis, like severe weather, people know we're going to be there with the information they need. I'm proud of the contribution local TV stations make."
He also said he believes local stations can be a force for good in the communities they serve.
A pivotal era
During previous appointments, Meredith orchestrated food drives and telethons for people in need, and plans to encourage WMC's community involvement in his new position.
"WMC has always had a reputation as a great news organization and a community leader," he said. "I plan to continue that work. I look forward to getting involved in this great community."
Meredith wanted to be a journalist since he worked on his high school newspaper. He attended Trinity College in San Antonio as a journalism student, and eventually became interested in broadcast journalism during his sophomore year.
Like many of his generation, Meredith was affected by television coverage of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal.
"It was interesting to me the impact that footage had on the public," he said. "I think it was the first time I realized just how powerful the television medium could be."
After college, Meredith started work as a reporter and news producer for several news stations in his home state of Texas. It wasn't long before he realized he wanted to run his own news department. His first opportunity was as a news director at WRCB in Chattanooga more than 20 years ago. He later took a job as the vice president and general manager of WACH in Columbia, S.C.
In 2001, he left for Huntsville, Ala., where he took over as vice president and general manager of WAFF.
Meredith has been honored a number of times for his work in broadcast. In 1975, he was given a special citation from the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Journalism Awards in recognition of his work on a documentary detailing the plight of residents in Houston's fourth ward, "Requiem for a Dying Neighborhood."
Earlier this year, he was inducted into the Silver Circle at the Mid-South Regional Emmy Awards, which recognizes quarter-century contributions to broadcasting.
Raycom Media Group Vice President Jeff Rosser said Meredith is "uniquely qualified to lead a legacy station like WMC. His news and business experience and his love of community make him the ideal choice to lead the outstanding team that already exists at WMC."
Meredith is excited about his latest move, and said he hopes it will be a long-term one.
"I'm looking forward to being a part of the team at WMC and continuing the excellent work they do," he said. "Memphis is a unique community, and I'm enjoying getting to know it."