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WTOP Highlights Restructuring

‘Go digital and go large’

“Go digital and go large.” That’s what WTOP says it is doing with its Washington news operation.

The Hubbard Radio station said it is restructuring its newsroom “to emphasize its growing digital efforts and to unify the digital and broadcast staff to become a true multi-platform news operation.” The project is to be operational by the end of January. It says it is hiring people as part of the project.

WTOP enjoys ratings and revenue success in the Washington market but the move comes against a background of notable new competition with the pending entry of CBS into the market with a news format of its own next month.

WTOP said it will redefine its news workflow.

“Instead of the traditional model which takes broadcast content and tries to fit it into a digital hole, WTOP’s strategy will focus on the creation of news stories at the beginning of a process. A story’s execution will be determined at its origin; it will then be optimized for all the distribution platforms WTOP offers: radio, web, Facebook, Twitter and mobile.”

VP of News and Programming Jim Farley oversees the operation, which adds several positions including a new PD under Farley. Director of Digital Operations John Meyer “moves into the newsroom as the architect of the social and digital strategy as it comes together with the current broadcast operation.”

Farley stated in the announcement that WTOP will be the only station in the country that has “both a Digital Editor and a Radio Editor working together 24/7.” He also said the station is “hiring more people, reevaluating everything we do and making the necessary changes no matter how sacred or ingrained.”He made the announcement along with Hubbard Senior Regional Vice President Joel Oxley. Several staff promotions also were announced.

WTOP is also expanding its Traffic Center in the first quarter.