Roland Martin on the Success of 'Washington Watch'

Four seasons strong and Roland Martin attributes part of the success of "Washington Watch with Roland Martin" to an intentional twist to the weekly morning news show. A twist that puts a different spin on how and when the issues are discussed.
"The typical Sunday morning news show, what they do is they always start with a newsmaker and they sort of go for the big bit at the top of the show. But we learned last year that clearly our viewers want to see our panel. They want to see the roundtable kick things off and I think that what happens is the newsmaker, frankly, slows the show down," the "Washington Watch" host and managing editor told EUR's Lee Bailey. "We wanted to launch right in to the show. We also, frankly, aren't like some of the other shows because we really try to do more social, cultural stuff to expand the dialogue. If you really look at what we've launched in terms of the choice, where we try to break down the issues of the day in terms of where the candidates stand, you're not really seeing this stuff on the other Sunday morning news shows."

The creation of "Washington Watch" came amid a ratings surge for Martin after the 2008 presidential election. After a failed promise from CNN to launch a weekend show, the nationally-syndicated columnist contacted TV One president and CEO Johnathan Rogers, who green lighted "Washington Watch" for the network.

One year later, the one hour-long news and public affairs program premiered in September 2009 as "an opportunity to give African-Americans a voice on the issues taking place in Washington, DC and across the country," Martin stated. While bringing the roundtable discussion the forefront has gone a long way, Martin also cited "Washington Watch's" penchant for telling it like it is when it comes to the issues. Case in point: a popular segment appropriately called "The Biggest Damn Lie."

"I think people like to see us being no holds barred and hold folks accountable on the street, speak truth to power," the controversial journalist and author said. "So I think that's what is really resonating with our audience.

Although "Washington Watch" has collected respectable ratings, Martin is campaigning for a rebroadcast of the show to capture those who are in church during the show's initial airing.


SOURCE: Chris Richburg
EUR Web
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