A Front Row Seat, Every Single Day
Just over a year ago, we were bubbling with excitement about the scouting trip to Super Bowl LIV in Miami with the host committee, many of you, and our team of ten from 10 Tampa Bay. Given the big game returns to CBS in 2021, our playbook was loaded with strategic ideas for eight daily newscasts, digital platforms, the debut of our Tampa Bay 55 podcast, and how we would extend unique coverage throughout the year.
As the lights dimmed at the Hard Rock in Miami, things were firing up in Tampa Bay. We kicked off the podcast in January with a commitment to more than 52 episodes with Rob Higgins and anchor Ryan Bass as hosts, knowing documenting our region’s road to the Super Bowl would be one of the largest efforts in history. Our eyes were wide with wonder and our imaginations were uninhibited with the “what ifs” we hoped to bring to reality for Super Bowl LV. We were all looking forward to our front-row seat on planning and execution. It was our turn. Then, almost overnight, the entire world hit the pause button.
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” -John Lennon
The adaptation to our new reality was forced upon us all. While every one of you worked to protect your teams from Covid, ensure their safety, and evolve or solidify your business operations, our team at 10 Tampa Bay was doing the same. How exactly do you move an entire news operation of 165 team members with more than 45 weekly newscasts to a work-from-home environment in less than one week? It was done successfully only because we are surrounded by an incredible team of leaders ready to lean in daily. And the word leader is not reserved for only those with a big title.
A colleague, mentor, and friend of mine challenged me often by asking if I was truly surrounding myself with the best leaders possible. If I wavered on one for even a minute, he would push back hard and ask if I truly believed they were the best. Why? Because as a senior leader, we need to surround ourselves with the brightest at all times, including those willing to challenge our own ideas and plans. I have thought about his advice often over the past year. I am fortunate to have a front-row seat to witness truly great leadership here in Tampa Bay, from the host committee and the tourism departments, to the major sports teams, and many of you. You have set the bar high for the entire country on how to succeed thru stellar leadership in good and uncertain times. We all have incredible stories to reflect on and share - stories of hope, of excitement, of winning, stories of overcoming adversity, stories of the pain that is still prevalent in our community, and stories of the hard work still to be done. Many of those stories were nail biters. Many of the stories are still writing their ending and many have yet to be told. You are all a part of that effort. Our content team at 10 Tampa Bay understands our responsibility to make sure each of them is given the attention they deserve.
Most of you reading this are Tampa Bay natives or long-term residents. I am not. Having only lived and worked in the region for 16 months, I continue to be impressed as I watch our local leaders guide our teams, showing their optimism and proving their commitment daily. We do not dwell on what could have or what should have been. Instead, we focus our collective energy, brainpower, collaboration, and action on what can and will still be. Super Bowl LV will be grand no matter what additional obstacles we must overcome. We have already proven that.
2020 will go down as one of the most important years in recent history. It will certainly be one of the most memorable. 10 Tampa Bay owns its responsibility and privilege to cover every moment. We recognize that every single day we are charged with giving our community a deeper dive into the stories that shape our lives and our neighborhoods. Thank you for being a part of so many of these stories over the last year and in the years ahead. We will continue to give our audience an exciting view of all things Super Bowl, even if they can’t be in the stands. More importantly, our talented, committed journalists will continue to tell the stories of these iconic events and their incredible impact on our region. We couldn’t be more pleased to be part of this team and we will make you proud. We’ve got the playbook in hand. We made the halftime adjustments and victory is in sight. We are in the Red Zone now. All that’s left is Forward progress. And together, we’ll score.