Ailes Explains FNC's Success

May 3rd, 2006 2:19 AM
Fox News Channel was bound to succeed and did so even faster than its founding president Roger Ailes imagined.

That's just one of several interesting statements made in a recent interview by Roger Ailes, president and founder of FNC with
WS: When the channel first launched, did you expect it would overtake the competition as quickly as it did?

AILES: I try not to get into any race or any fight that I don’t think can be won. I don’t expect it to be easy, however, and that’s the difference. I don’t do suicide missions, but I don’t mind difficult assignments. This was a difficult assignment, because we were taking on G.E. and Microsoft [MSNBC] and Time Warner [CNN] with about 30 percent of the resources and staff. So it was a pretty tough hill to climb. I thought we would tie them in five to six years. As it turns out, we tied them in four years, and then began to beat them in the fifth or sixth year.

WS: What is it about the channel that has attracted so many viewers?

AILES: Our on-camera people are better. We have a higher morale and a lower turnover of personnel. We do a broader range of stories. Our analysis treats more than one point of view with respect. Our creative director has done an excellent job with the graphics and presentation of the news. Our pacing and attitude is different, and we have not had to spend any time in the last nine years retracting stories.

Also interesting:

WS: How did the idea for FOX News come about, and what opportunity did you see in the market?

AILES: Actually, Rupert Murdoch gets credit for having a vision that the American news market was underserved. He believed that there was so much sameness in television news because everybody seemed to be covering the same stories, and had the same take on the news. He deserves a lot of credit for the vision and for having the courage to put up the money to start the news channel.

He then brought me in and asked me if I saw the same thing, and I said I believed [TV] news was generally pretty boring, and the opinion polls showed most people thought the news was biased to the left. But regardless of how you saw it [a 24-hour news channel has] 168 hours to fill each week. That is a lot of news to cover, and how you select which stories to do, and how you are going to serve the public [are decisions that are] made at the news desk. And if every news desk is making exactly the same decisions, then the public is probably not being served.

Read the rest. Hat tip: TVNewser.