Roland Martin On His ‘Washington Watch’ Success

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Washington Watch with Roland Martin’ is four seasons strong. Martin attributes part of the success to an intentional twist to morning news show. ‘Washington Watch’ puts a different spin on how and when the issues are discussed.

Martin said, “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. 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 when Martin had a ratings surge after the 2008 presidential election. After a failed promise from CNN to launch a weekend show, he contacted TV One president and CEO Johnathan Rogers, who approved “Washington Watch” for the network.

The one hour-long news and public affairs program premiered one year later in September 2009. Martin said, “it’s an opportunity to give African-Americans a voice on the issues taking place in Washington, DC and across the country.” Martin has a popular segment of the show called “The Biggest Damn Lie.”

Martin stated, “I think people like to see us being no holds barred and hold folks accountable on the street, speak truth to power. So I think that’s what is really resonating with our audience”.

Although “Washington Watch” has good ratings, Martin wants a rebroadcast of the show for those who are in church during the show’s initial airing.

He said, “We’re on at 11:00 in the morning. A significant number of our folks are actually at church whenever show is on. To get that significant number is important. I’ve been pushing the network for a second re-airing, whether it’s at 5 p.m. or even something around 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. The re-airing we have right now is at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, which is a killer, but I  would like to get one earlier so the people who missed the first airing can check out the second one.”

Martin is also a senior analyst on the “Tom Joyner Morning Show” and CNN contributor.  Martin said,”I came to CNN with the intent to have my own show. I’ve never gotten off that. Being a contributor is just fine, but the bottom line is you’re only on when you get called. I would rather be in control of my own show, being able to  book my own guests. Even if that means a daily show on TV One, I would love for us to be able to be the political, social cultural center of black America with a daily show on TV One. My deal is to look at all options and to see what’s out  there.”

Martin added, “I’ve certainly built up a significant following over the last several years and then folks recognize that I am a trusted voice on many different issues. I am a journalist. I bring that credibility to the table. And so for me it’s all about going to the next level. I’ve been clear. I’ve  never backed off that and I won’t back off it now.”

“Washington Watch with Roland Martin” airs Sundays on TV One at 11 a.m. ET/ 8 a.m. PT .

Above pic: Lolo (Magic 95.9) & Roland Martin (Washington Watch) at CBC awards banquet…Washington, DC Sept 2012.

 

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