I am really excited to talk to Bill Witsik, a pioneer in my old business of broadcasting/media sales and buying time. It's the industry where I learned practically everything I know about being professional, responsive, organized and oh-so service and detail-oriented. Bill Witsik is a broadcasting veteran and National Sales Manager for television station WPMT/Fox43, a Tribune-owned, Fox affiliate in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His responsibilities include managing national sales for seven Telerep offices with 25+ account executives negotiating business for and with him at any given moment. In other words, Bill wears many decision making hats and juggles many balls all day, every day.
I started reconnecting with many people in my former industry, interested in how they are managing the information overload challenges and demands these days. The business has changed in some ways, and in some ways has remained the same. Success is ultimately always about communication, organization, professionalism and commitment... no matter how you slice it.
The Distracted Executive: What would you say is your biggest distraction at work these days?
Bill Witsik: The Phone. The phone never stops ringing, and often the news on the other end can derail me from completing the task at hand. I routinely juggle many balls at the same time – often times I will have multiple buyer requests open along with a dozen or so active emails. It’s a matter of taking a deep breath and prioritizing which ones need to go out first and chugging through them. No magic wand.
TDE: Prioritizing. Everything seems important or urgent these days. How do you efficiently navigate your to-do list without hindering your success?
BW: Any manager worth his salt will tell you that billing and share is the top priority. If I am packaging for share, developing an idea or creating a sponsorship I dedicate all my time to it until it’s executed. The results of these actions lead to success. The back-End work like sending MG offers, projecting billing, updating pending lists, etc. can all be worked in around the tasks mentioned above, so I suppose that the answer is to KNOW what is most important and always focus on it until it is complete... no matter what.
TDE: You manage people and work with some people who are all over the place. How do you deal with someone who is very distracted and not giving you what you need?
BW: I always make sure to over-communicate. Sounds pretty simplistic but it works. I will make sure to make eye contact and let them know what my expectation is and when I expect the task to be completed. I also give them an out by saying if you can’t complete it by X date/time to let me know. I find more distraction at higher levels, when I am talking to our GM and GSM. They always have a lot on their plate and when I need them to be responsive I take the same approach – eye contact, expectation of when I need an answer to something, etc.
TDE: How are you impacted by interruptions during the day? What is your #1 tip for dealing with them?
BW: As I mentioned, distractions are part of the gig, and they are to be expected. I prep myself by carving out extra time in just about every task I work on – because I know I’ll never get through without an interruption (by the way, I’ve been interrupted 3 times since I began my responses). Being mentally prepared beforehand is the best way I can deal with them.
TDE: As a manager with many moving parts and daily demands, what is the greatest challenge in your business today, and what are you doing to address it?
BW: The greatest challenge in the TV business today is finding a way to integrate broadcast into the 21st century. With the rise of digital platforms, TV stations know they must adapt and expand – whether through creating exceptional station websites, partnering with bigger digital companies or with digital agencies that help businesses take full advantage of optimizing their own sites, etc. We need to be innovative and very much thinking out of the box these days. One of our greatest challenges is continually seeking and finding the right partners to get the job done.
You can reach Bill directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.