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UPCOMING EVENTS

ABC Audio VP Liz Alesse Had Her Eyes Opened to the Power of Radio

Putting truth and fairness at the forefront of every story is what Vice President of ABC Audio Liz Alesse attributes to their success.

“We are guided by the principles that guide ABC News and, fairness and straightforward journalism are at the core of everything we do,” Alesse told Barrett News Media over a Zoom call.

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No matter the story her team is always fact-checking and supporting each other to putting the best news they can out. “We are supported by the best journalists in the whole world. And on the television side, the proof is in the numbers, right? We’re the top network in the country. And people come to us and always have, because they trust us and we don’t take that for granted at all.”

Liz Alesse is doing exactly what she dreamed of as a kid working in media, “The surprising part was landing here in the audio realm.” She got her start in a local 24-hour TV newsroom where she worked on a Public Affairs show. She later moved to Boston before landing at ABC in 2015. “Just before the 2016 campaign really kicked into gear. And as you may recall, that was quite an interesting election. So I got to ABC just in time to cover what was an unexpected, unorthodox campaign.”

Her TV and political roots landed her a spot on the This Week with George Stephanopoulos. She later moved closer to the hill to the Pennsylvania Avenue unit. “So I have a deep background in political journalism.” Something which has come in handy when she transitioned to ABC News Radio during the pandemic.

A temporary opening on the podcast team became permanent and later helped her transition to her current Vice President role at the outlet. “I’ve been really immersing myself now in radio, having had quite a great education in the podcast space. Now, I’ve had a real sort of intensive crash course in the business of radio and it’s been great.”

She called the transition from TV to radio “eye-opening” adding, “From a craft point of view the power of the spoken word, the importance of the writing being crisp and clear and engaging.” Alesse later added, “Every word has to matter because you don’t have the visual there to support understanding and to help transport and aid the audience in getting the information. [The information] has to come directly from the anchor’s mouth or the host’s mouth. Clarity is is paramount.”

It’s more than just clarity, Alesse believes a good story needs to be unique, and relevant, but most importantly: “We’re always looking for ways to inform and educate and enlighten our audiences. And in some regards, depending on the platform, the medium, and the story, entertain a little bit.” One member of her team calls audio storytelling, “the theater of the mind,” a sentiment Alesse finds to be “lovely.”

While her career is full of great storytelling, Alesse attributes her success to those who were willing to take a chance on her skills and talent. “It’s something that I take to heart and I sort of want to pay it forward for other folks to give them those opportunities.” Grateful for all the mentors she’s had over the years, some of the most helpful to her have been, “Mentors who have been direct and frank have helped me, to grow and to find new opportunities when they come. So I pass that forward as best I can.”

One of the most important pieces of advice she received early in her career was “You got to decide, do you want to be a reporter or do you want to be a producer? And I said, ‘Well, I don’t know, I’ll explore both.’ And he said, ‘No, you have to decide which one you want to do.’”

This is just a part of the advice she shares today with others who are looking to step into the industry. The other piece of advice she gives is this; “Be kind. Be open-minded. Always look for learning opportunities. Say yes to new to new opportunities and new experiences. You never know where they’re going to lead you.”

Liz Alesse didn’t expect her career to delve into radio but she’s really proud of her work and the work of her team. “There’s a lot of work that there’s still to be done in radio and across audio that I’m really looking forward to. In terms of positioning this business, growing this business, innovating, looking for new opportunities to serve the radio stations that are our clients, and creating new podcasts to build that audience and to keep them coming back for more. That’s really the fun stuff.”

What she believes is most vital for her and the outlet is using resources appropriately for their local stations. “We don’t have any radio stations of our own to program. We’re providing content and information to radio stations so they can inform their listeners so they can get on the air and have the best quality journalism.”

Liz Alesse believes this helps stations to know, “they can rely on us to deliver top and bottom of our newscast, breaking news coverage to give them the sound bytes from across the world that they need to fill out their newscasts.”

While today’s news environment can get “complicated” or tiresome, Liz Alesse believes, “We’re all in this together.” Adding, “I’m really proud of the progress that this team has made, and the and the work that they do every day.”

What’s most important for her is building a great team that will support each other no matter how rough the news cycle may become. “Some of these days get intense and we’re still — at the end of the day — able to high-five each other and pat each other on the back and celebrate the wins. And it’s just it’s just a really good feeling.”

Krystina Alarcon Carroll
Krystina Alarcon Carroll
Krystina Alarcon Carroll is a news media columnist and features writer for Barrett Media. She currently freelances at WPIX in New York, and has previously worked on live, streamed, and syndicated TV programs. Her prior employers have included NY1, Fox News Digital, Law & Crime Network, and Newsmax. You can find Krystina on X (formerly twitter) @KrystinaAlaCarr.

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