Nexstar Founder’s Day of Caring: A message from Nexstar CEO, Perry Sook

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Nexstar CEO, Perry Sook took a few minutes to talk about the motivations behind Founder’s Day of Caring and Nexstar’s 25th Anniversary.

KLST and KSAN will be at both HEB locations in San Angelo collecting food donations for the Concho Valley Regional Food Bank.

A full transcript of the interview is below:

INTERVIEWER:
TALK ABOUT THE IDEA BEHIND FOUNDERS DAY.

PERRY SOOK:
SO, JUNE 17TH IS THE ANNIVERSARY OF MY FOUNDING OF THE COMPANY AND THIS YEAR WILL BE 25 YEARS SINCE THE FOUNDING OF THE COMPANY. AND WHEN WE CAME UPON OUR 20TH ANNIVERSARY, I WAS LIKE, ‘WHAT CAN WE DO TO COMMERATE THIS. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT MILESTONE.’ AND I SAID , ‘ WE ARE A LOCAL SERVICE BUSINESS. WE SERVE OUR LOCAL COMMUNITIES WITH CONTENT AND HELP ADVERTISERS SELL THINGS’.  SO, THE BEST WE CAN DO IS GIVE BACK TO OUR COMMUNITIES AS A THANK YOU FOR HOW THEY HELP TO MAKE OUR COMPANY AND BUILD OUR COMPANY. SO, FOUNDERS DAY IS A COMMITTMENT TO EVERY EMPLOYEE IN THE COMPANY THAT YOU CAN TAKE UP TO HALF OF A DAY PAID TIME OFF TO DO SERVICE WORK IN YOUR COMMUNITY. IT’S VERY LOCALLY ORIENTED WHERE THE STATIONS DECIDE WHAT CHARITIES OR COMMUNITIES OR NONPROFITS THEY WANT TO SUPPORT, FORM THEIR OWN TEAMS AND THEN GO DO THEIR SERVICE WORK. SO, ITS A VERY BOTTOMS UP APPROACH TO SAY THANK YOU TO OUR LOCAL COMMUNITIES.

INTERVIEWER:
THIS IS SUCH A BUSY INDUSTRY; PEOPLE ARE WORKING HARD. THEY ARE GOING GOING GOING. EXPLAIN WHAT THE IDEA IS FOR THE EMPLOYEES. SO MANY WHO’VE WORKED FOR THIS COMPANY THAT HAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE BACK AND ALSO RECIEVE THE REWARDS THEMSELVES, WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO GIVE BACK.

PERRY SOOK:
SOME OF THE HIDDEN BENEFITS WE’VE SEEN OF FOUNDERS DAY IS THAT MOST OF THE LOCAL MARKETS WILL DO T-SHIRTS FOR THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL TEAMS SO THERE’S TEAM-BUILDING AND COMRADERY OUTSIDE OF AN OFFICE SETTING THAT I THINK GIVE PEOPLE A SENSE OF PURPOSE. A SENSE OF BELONGING THAT YOU MIGHT NOT GET DURING YOU’RE REGULAR WORK-DAY LIFE BUT ITS TOTALLY RUN BY THE INDIVIDUAL MARKETS. THEY SET UP A STEERING COMMITTEE TO DETERMINE WHAT CHARITIES THEY’D LIKE TO BE INVOLVED WITH. WHETHER ITS READING TO THIRD GRADERS OR PAINTING THE FENCE AT THE ANIMAL SHELTER. AND WE’VE DONE THAT, ALL OF THAT. I THINK WE’VE BUILT SOMETHING CLOSE TO TWO DOZEN HOUSES IN HABITAT FOR HUMANITY. AND IT JUST KEEPS GETTING BIGGER EVERY YEAR AND YES, YOU’RE RIGHT. WITH WORK SCHEDULES AND WE’RE A 24/7 BUSINESS, STILL OVER 60% OF OUR EMPLOYEES HAVE PARTICIPATED ON AN ANNUAL BASIS IN OUR FOUNDER’S DAY ACTIVITIES.

INTERVIEWER:
SO HOW DOES THAT WORK FROM CITY TO CITY, FROM COMMUNITY TO COMMUNITY? IS IT LIKE, ‘WOW. WE’VE COVERED THIS STORY. WE SEE THERE’S A NEED. WE ACTUALLY HAVE IT IN OUR HEARTS TO GIVE BACK TO THIS PARTICULAR GROUP’ ?

PERRY SOOK:
RIGHT. AND LIKE I SAY, THE CHARITIES VARY FROM THE HUMANE SOCIETY TO THE RED CROSS TO HABITATS FOR HUMANITY TO VOLUNTEERING IN SCHOOLS. AND, AGAIN, I DIDN’T WANT, ‘WELL WHAT’S PERRY’S FAVORITE CHARITY? WE SHOULD ALL SUPPORT THAT.’ WHAT PEOPLE DO IN LOS ANGELES MAY BE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THAN WHAT THEY DO IN DALLAS OR WHAT THEY DO IN ABILENE OR IN BROWNSVILLE. FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE, IT’S TOTALLY LOCALLY ORIENTED. ALL WE’RE DOING IS PROVIDING THE WHEREWITHALL, THE FUNDS TO ALLOW PEOPLE TO TAKE A HALF A DAY PAID TIME OFF AND DO SERVICE WORK AND NOT HAVE TO LOSE ANY COMPESATION AS A RESULT OF IT.

INTERVIEWER:
WHEN YOU STARTED OUT ON THIS ADVENTURE, AND THIS IS THE LAST THING I’LL ASK YOU AND LET YOU GO, DID YOU EVER THINK, ‘MY GOSH. THERE IS GOING TO BE A DAY. ONE DAY, WHERE ALL THESE DIFFERENT PEOPLE AT 200 DIFFERENT GROUPS ACROSS THE COUNTRY WILL BE GIVING BACK UNDER THIS COMPANY. UNDER YOUR UMBRELLA’?

PERRY SOOK:
WELL, WHEN I STARTED OUT, I DIDN’T KNOW WE WERE GOING TO GO 25 YEARS, SO THAT IN AND OF ITSELF IS A SUCCESS STORY. BUT LISTEN, WE ARE A LOCAL SERVICE BUSINESS LIKE I SAID AND THE BEST THING WE CAN DO TO CELEBRATE OUR SUCCESS IS TO GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITIES THAT MADE US SUCCESSFUL. THAT’S THE WHOLE INTENT OF FOUNDERS DAY AND THAT’S WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT.

INTERVIEWER:
HAVE YOU FOUND THAT IN PROVIDING ADVERTISERS AND CLIENTS WITH A WAY TO BOOST THEIR BUSINESS DO THEY FORGE A RELATIONSHIP THAT IS PERSONAL?

PERRY SOOK:
I WOULD HOPE SO. I WOULD HOPE THAT THROUGH THIS EFFORT AND IN MANY OF OUR MARKETS, WE’VE RECRUITED ADVERTISERS TO WORK WITH US TO MAKE A LARGER TEAM AND I WAS TALKING TO ONE OF OUR GENERAL MANAGERS THE OTHER DAY AND HE SERVES ON A BOARD IN CENTRAL ILLINOIS FOR SPECIAL NEEDS AND ONE OF OUR LARGEST CLIENTS IS THERE. THEY MADE A CONNECTION BECAUSE OF THEIR SERVICE WORK. SO, IT’S GOOD FOR THE COMPANY TO GET OUT IN THE COMMUNITY. IN FACT, WE HAVE TO DO THAT IF WE’RE GOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL. BUT IT ALSO CAN BE A GOOD BUSINESS DECISION TO CONNECT WITH OUR ADVERTISERS AND FOLKS IN THE COMMUNITY ON A DIFFERENT WAY THAN JUST READING THE NEWS AND DELIVERING REPORTING. I THINK IT WORKS ON ALL THOSE LEVELS AND I THINK TIME WILL TELL BUT ITS CERTAINLY AN IMPORTANT PART OF OUR EFFORT TO GIVE BACK TO OUR COMMUNITIES.

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