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New WPGA General Manager Leading by Example

by Clarence Thomas, Jr.


Macon television station WPGA has a new leader. And he goes by the name Lynn Fairbanks. The veteran media man was summoned recently by the new owners, Green Bull Georgia Partners LLC, following a court appointed takeover of the management of Register Communications. Fairbanks is a journeyman. He has worked in the television industry for forty years in markets like Jacksonville, FL; Atlanta; Monroe, LA; Amarillo, TX and most recently Savannah.

Fairbanks was four years into retirement in Georgia's Port City when the call came and he couldn't resist the urge to try his hand at managing Macon's only private owned television station. He says his first order of business since arriving nearly three months ago has been getting to know his staff. Fairbanks now wants to concentrate on what he believes to be the station's strength - being independently owned and operated. "We need to be as local as possible. It's going to be a process", said Fairbanks in his office overlooking midtown Macon. "There is no quick fix."

Fairbanks also believes in putting boots on the ground. He desires for the station to be more instantly recognizable and to accomplish this, visibility is the key he said. He is smitten with Macon's current evolution as a city, especially downtown, and thinks it and the changes WPGA is undergoing are a winning combination. "The kind of change taking place in Macon should favorably affect the mind of the citizens," he suggested. "We (WPGA) being local hopefully can be part of that mind set change that's going on."

Buy in from the inside out is essential said Fairbanks. He is working hard to win the hearts and minds of staffers and customers alike by having an open door policy. He prides himself on being available. He also admits to having high but reasonable standards and only asks that employees put their best foot forward at all times.

Fairbanks additional goal is to capitalize on what he described as a very strong bond between people and television stations. He is focused like a laser beam on the direct engagement of the public by station representatives such as its sales people and management. Since WPGA has no news team, these two groups will do the heavy lifting in the quest to make the station more competitive. "It's competition but it's friendly competition," said Fairbanks. "We want the other television stations to look at us and say 'We don’t have to worry about them'. But I do hope they have to worry about us a bit."

Most people by now are familiar with how the regime change came about. The former owners couldn't overcome a 7.5 million dollar deficit and were forced to vacate. A testy transition ensued but once the smoke cleared, Green Bull was assigned to make its mark on Macon. Management is very optimistic, but acknowledges that change is coming. It anticipates however, business as usual for now at WPGA-TV; The Light (100.5 FM/AM 1400/AM 980) and The Outlaw (100.9 FM) said Fairbanks. While the station has its work cut out for it to keep pace with Macon's big three - WMAZ, WMGT and FOX 24, Fairbanks says he looks forward to the day in the future when there will be no guess work about what and where WPGA is. "When somebody asks me what I do and I tell them, they don't look at me and ask 'What’s that'", chuckled Fairbanks. "The more we're out there, the more people will understand who we are."

 

 

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P.O. Box 446, Macon, • GA 31202 * Ofc: 478-745-7265
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Lynn Fairbanks
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