Woodbridge woman named news director at WTIC-TV
The local television executive merry-go-round has stopped for the third time since the start of 2017 and a veteran of the business has gotten on.
Local television news veteran Liz Grey Godbout has been named news director at WTIC-TV, FOX61, station officials said recently.
Grey Godbout, who is from Woodbridge, joins FOX61 from Frontier Communications of Norwalk, where she was communications manager for Connecticut until October. She was to start in her new job Feb. 6.
Grey Godbout fills the vacancy created when Coleen Marren left the news director’s job at Fox 61 last month after seven years on the job,
Grey Godbout’s resume includes stints as vice president of news for WVIT in Hartford, assistant news director for WABC in New York, and news director for WTNH in New Haven.
She has also was editor at large for Hartford Magazine and New Haven Living Magazine and ran her own media consulting firm.
Jon Hitchcock, vice president and general manager of Fox 61, said in a written statement that Grey Godbout’s knowledge of the Hartford and New Haven market “along with her successful track record of audience growth and engagement, make her the perfect fit to lead our news department.”
Grey Godbout said in a statement that she is looking forward to her new job.
“Connecticut is my home; I grew up here,” she said. “It’s an exciting time to be in the news business.”
Grey Godbout’s arrival at Fox61 comes just two weeks after the station’s former general manager, Richard Graziano, became vice president and general manager for WTNH.
Television industry news observers say they don’t expect the look or the content of Fox 61’s new programming to change dramatically under Grey Godbout.
Steve Kalb, instructor in residence for the journalism program at the University of Connecticut, said Grey Godbout’s hiring is a recognition of the importance of the Hartford-New Haven television market.
The market is the 30th-largest in the United States.
“There is a lot of money that goes through these stations,” Kalb said.
“Owners and general managers are going to be careful when they hire and promote people. Spending the time in the corporate world works to her advantage here in dealing with her general manager and upper level executives,” Kalb said.
Fox61 is owned by Tribune Media, which owns or operates 42 local television stations nationwide.
Rich Hanley, associate professor of journalism at Quinnipiac University and director of the school’s graduate journalism program, said Grey Godbout “knows what makes Connecticut tick.”
“Stability is the most important quality in a newsroom,” Hanley said.
“You need someone who has a certain sense of grace under pressure. You do have a lot of churn in these newsrooms and her job as someone who knows the market is to keep the young talent from making mistakes that will bother the viewer.”
The ability of a TV newscast to be successful is keeping a station’s core audience, while at the same time attracting new viewers, he said.
“Connecticut is an aging market demographically and viewing is a force of habit developed over a long period of time, so you have to be able to hold serve,” Hanley said.
“To some extent, local television news ratings are a function of the network programming that comes before it. Having marquee talent on your newscast helps, but it’s only a short-term fix.”
Call Luther Turmelle at 203-680-9388.