A recent transplant to CT, Harris was born and raised in Cleveland, OH. He brings a wealth of experience to the job. His 25 years in the media industry give him a keen understanding of the trade along with an awareness of his responsibility to the audience(s) he is providing a service to. Harris has spent time in radio and print media as well as television. A pleasant gentleman with a friendly and open demeanor he sat down with Inquiring News for an exclusive interview.
Inquiring News: Your rise was pretty quick here at NBC. You came for one job and now you have another. What is your agenda now that you are President/GM? How does it differ from the agenda you had when you were V.P. of Sales?
Ric Harris: Now the responsibility is broader. As V.P. of Sales my sole focus was driving revenue. As GM of the television station I’m looking for growth in all areas. We are always looking to drive value. We are always looking to drive ratings. Growing our people is important. Our performance improves as our people improve grow and learn. Community outreach, the really important meaningful relationships they we have with people in the market like Inquiring News and the many charitable organizations we work with.
INQ: You spent some time at BET. How does the NBC experience and the people you are trying now to reach differ from that audience?
RH: Different customers, yes, but the tie that binds them both is the same business model. Reaching the customer.
INQ: What is television’s obligation to the general public?
RH: We educate, we inform, we enlighten, we entertain. From a business standpoint we are connecting marketers to an audience.
INQ: Do you think that television has an obligation to its minority audience with regard to the depiction of those audiences?
RH: In terms of depictions I think the best way to manage it is to be accurate. You have to be accurate, you have to be fair, you have to report from all sides of the story. You’ve got to dig deep, you can’t just settle for the easy answer. Our people are trained to dive deeper and ask questions. I think that is our responsibility to be as accurate and as probing and unsatisfied with the easy answer.
INQ: A large part of our work here at Inquiring News is to publicize the good things that take place in our community, because a lot of really good things do happen. Why is it that much of this positive news does not get coverage by the larger media markets? Shootings, fires, crime all get plenty of dramatic coverage. Again, why is this and what is your mindset moving forward?
RH: This is something that we all work on. I can’t speak for other stations but I know this is something we are aware of. We try to get better; we are not perfect at this, at all. I’m the GM but I am also a viewer. Can we do better? Absolutely. The balance can sometimes feel a little out of whack but this is something we work on every single day.
INQ: How will your tenure at the station make a difference?
RH: My priorities have changed over the years. At this point in my career it is less about me and more about the team. Working to develop leaders within the organization. Watching them grow. That will be the impact that will I have.
Jocelyne Hudson-Brown is an award winning journalist and a longtime correspondent for the Inquiring News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org