Steve Noviello, KDFW’s consumer reporter, and John Kukla, the station’s creative services VP, look back through 20 years of collaboration featuring Noviello’s stories and Kukla’s marketing.
KDFW, Fox4, the Fox O&O in Dallas, is celebrating Steve Noviello’s 20 years as the station’s consumer reporter.
“You talk about a marketer’s dream,” says John Kukla, KDFW’s creative services VP. “Not only does this guy bring me promotable stories, but he also brings me the sound bites, he brings me the tagline. All I do is assemble. We have been very lucky to work together for all these years.”
Since Kukla has been at KDFW for more than 20 years, he’s been promoting Noviello and his consumer reports since Noviello came to the station in 2003.
Noviello says on average, he produces about three or four consumer reports a week.
“I can call John Kukla and say John, I have got a great promotable story,” Noviello says. “Here’s the best three sound bites from our interview, how can I help?.”
“He understands what our needs are,” Kukla says. “The type of stories he brings us lend themselves to a lot of creativity, a lot of fun, that we wouldn’t necessarily do on the breaking news we have.”
Noviello says in the beginning, nobody knew who he was.
“One of the first series we did was called Free Money Monday where we reunited people with unclaimed cash,” Noviello says. “I would call around and say hey my name is Steve Noviello, I work at Fox, we are doing this series. They would hang up because they thought I was a scam caller.”
Thanks to the station’s marketing, it’s a different story these days, Noviello says, adding that because he’s been the consumer reporter at KDFW for 20 years, viewers now are always contacting him.
“People rarely call me on their best day,” he says. “We probably solve twice as many problems that never even make it to air.”
And those stories that do make it on TV are ones that have “some kind of shared experience or teachable moment,” Noviello says.
Kukla says KDFW promotes Noviello’s reports to “drive people to that particular newscast.”
However, there’s no guarantee people will see that report on linear television. Kukla says.
For those viewers who may have missed the report during the linear newscast, the station does “another promo that we will start running afterwards that says: ‘Steve Noviello showed you that secret warehouse, go see the story right now on YouTube’, so we are not penalizing the viewers who missed it.”
Noviello says one of the keys to his consumer reports over the years is his approach. “There’s two sides to each story,” he says. “It’s always in the spirit of compromise.”
Noviello says business owners get a little nervous when he calls them with a problem. “I always say to them, I heard from your customer, but what I want to hear from is you,” he says. “Folks are really receptive to that.”
But not all the stories are two-sided. One of Noviello’s favorites was picked up by Good Morning America, CBS Morning News and NBC Nightly News.
A woman who had stolen Noviello’s identity tried to check into a hotel with his credit card number. Noviello called the cops and went to the hotel.
“We confronted her on camera,” he says. “It was a really great moment. ”
“Millions of people saw the story.”
For the 20-year anniversary celebration, Noviello chose a dozen of his favorite stories over the years and watched them on camera with the people who were in them.
“We released them all at once so you can binge watch them all,” he says.
The stories were posted to the KDFW’s website, the station’s Facebook page, and Noviello says he’ll be pushing them out on his social media platforms as well.
“How television has changed,” he says. “That seems to be the way people like to consume television these days.”
Noviello says he appreciates the trust people have given him to tell their stories over the years.
“That really doesn’t get lost on me. It’s a great privilege and I am humbled by that. I have got to tell you it feels good.”
CLICK HERE to go to Steve Noviello’s Consumer Confidential website where you can see more videos of Noviello’s favorite reports.
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