Media Recruiter Addresses Challenges Facing Local TV

Interview with: Paul Greeley, Manager at MediaJobCenter for

“The recruiting landscape within the local broadcast industry has drastically changed over the past three to five years,” according to Ty Carver, founder of Carver Talent, a niche national recruiting firm specializing in the placement of media professionals.

Prior to starting Carver Talent, Carver spent seven years in broadcast recruitment holding titles like “director of talent acquisition” and “senior corporate recruiter” for Gray, Raycom and Scripps.

In a one-on-one interview with Ty Carver, I questioned him about his background, how his service works, why he thinks the recruiting challenges have changed, the impact of consolidation and why he thinks recruiting has gotten harder in recent years.

Greeley: Why did you open up Carver Talent?

Carver: I have about 30 years recruiting experience; the last seven or eight years I have been specific to the local broadcast media industry. I was the first dedicated HR recruiting professional in the history of Raycom, built a strong team behind me and following the acquisition by Grey Television, myself and my entire team was downsized. So I found myself out of work and a lot of contacts at my fingertips and went out and grabbed a couple of people from my old recruiting team and started Carver Talent which is a media specific recruiting firm.

Tell me how your service works.

We specialize in the placement of local broadcast professionals typically at the management level, so corporate executives, general managers, sales management which would be DOS, GSL, LSM, GSM, NSM etc., content news management, assistant news directors, news directors, executive producers and other department head levels in marketing, creative services, and research IT/engineering.

So how does your business work? Most agents, if I am placed somewhere, they get a percentage of my salary. Does your business work like that?

Yeah very similar. But we offer a couple of different business models. One would be as agent search whereas, if a company wants to reach out and basically pay us a retainer up front to go out and find their person and then we do that typically on a percentage against first year’s salary.

A contingency search would be a client would reach out and say, hey I have a need. We would then go out and find candidates and they would pay us only if they hire our candidate.

And then another option that we have what is called recruitment process outsourcing or RPO for short. That is basically they would make our firm an arm of their company. We would basically act like their recruiting firm for either a set number of positions or a specific style within their industry like sales or news, etc.

We also specialize in the placement of account executives within all levels of media be it digital, be it integrated, be it cable, radio, news print, television, etc.

So if I am a general manager and I call you and I say I am looking for an account exec, what do you do after that?

I send that hiring manager or media group a fee agreement, a contract spelling out our fee, spelling out our guarantees, spelling out our process etc.

We have a position call with them where we better understand what they are looking for exactly, years of experience, soft skills, technical skills, etc. Comp range of course, why the position open and then we talk about the process of the recruiting process, how we are going to do an on-site interview etc.

After that position call, IT goes out and starts looking for candidates if we don’t already have candidates in our pipeline immediately available. And we have over twenty thousand passive candidates in our data base at our fingertips. We have a lot of fire power. So we find a candidate, we submit them to the hiring manager. We keep our fingers on the pulse to make sure the candidate is moving through because I very much believe that time kills all deals in recruiting. And then if they hire our person then we charge them a fee.

Do you deal with certain broadcast groups specifically?

Yes, we are already on the approved vendor list for four large local broadcast media groups. (Carver said because of competitive reasons, he was not at liberty to name the companies.)

There has been a lot of consolidation in the business. Do you think that makes it easier or harder for people to get good candidates?

I think it is harder, to be honest. Obviously there are fewer large broadcast media groups now and it seems with many of these groups non-competes in contracts are fairly prevalent and the less groups and the more non-competes in place, the harder it is to move around, if you will. So we are seeing that it is a little bit harder with numerous mergers and acquisitions today.

Some of the larger broadcast media groups now are considering or have already done this, but they are not only putting non-competes in place for their specific market where they are located today, but also wherever they do business or wherever they have a station. So it could be across several markets.

Do you find that people are less likely to move than they might have been 10 or 20 years ago?

We are seeing that as a challenge today. What we are seeing with many millennial candidates today is that they are not willing to play the traditional local broadcast game, where you move down a market size to go up a position and then work your way back up to a larger market down the road. A lot of millennial candidates today are very particular about what market/city they will live in. They want the nice restaurants, the pro sports, the arts community, they want it all and they don’t want to go to a small market to gain that experience to one day get back to that larger market. So we are seeing that as a challenge today as well.

The small markets, do they have a disadvantage in recruiting compared to larger markets in your opinion? And how important is the attractiveness of the market?

Sometimes, yes, in that the compensation is at times going to be lower of course in the smaller markets. But the positive is, you could gain the experience, for somebody who is a local sales manager and they want their general sales manager stripe. They do have that opportunity to go to that smaller market and gain that. But we are seeing that the willingness to spend two to three years in a smaller market to gain that experience, we are seeing that harder and harder to come by today.

How much is pay important when people talk to you?

I see the market and the city and the things to do there as almost equally important.