The Most Overlooked Piece of Marketing in LPTV

The logo: it’s important for the large corporation and the small downtown shop. It’s really important for TV!  The logo is the primary identification for a television station, but many times in the LPTV world, it is the most overlooked piece of marketing. Let’s talk about why you need a logo, getting a logo on a budget, and some important considerations to keep in mind when choosing a logo.

The logo is your station’s face in the community. Your company identity is expressed through your logo. Traditionally, the logo has been a stylized version of the channel number. Today, that is still a good identity path, especially with the opportunity to keep your virtual number when you must move in frequency.

Your station needs a professional logo. Too many times we see a logo that is outdated and poorly designed. Professional design costs money. I understand, right now, we are all strapped for funds and the rebuild needs every dime. But wait, there is a positive side to investing in your station’s identity now. Looking good means more eyeballs. More eyeballs mean more advertising dollars. More dollars mean . . . you get the idea.

So how do we get a good design on the cheap? One of my favorite ways is by contest.  Set up a contest in the community inviting ad agencies and graphic designers to bring logo ideas to you.  The winner turns over a logo package, copyright and style sheet. They get in trade an advertising package they can use for themselves or with one of their clients. They also get the satisfaction of seeing their work on TV every day!

A second, and cheap, alternative is one of the many logo services out there that will give you multiple design ideas. You simply choose and pay for the idea you select. Those services can cost anywhere from $250 to $1200 for a finished design. Be sure to acquire the Illustrator and/or Photoshop layered artwork, and especially the copyright from your chosen designer.

Now that we know there are affordable options for a logo on any budget, let’s talk about the basics of the logo. Should it have my channel number? Call letters? City or network?  All are important things to consider but what if you are in a repack or sharing scenario where you won’t be able to keep your channel number?  Although your call letters or network name should be prominent, channel number is still the main identity element in your branding.  If the viewer doesn’t have your channel number, they can’t find you!  The channel number was so important, that in the early sixties, ABC Television had the idea of acquiring Channel 7 across the country. A design originally produced for Channel 7 in San Diego was soon copyrighted and rolled out for all ABC stations, and today the ABC O&O’s still use a form of the original Circle Number for their stations.

Another word on copyrights – don’t just pull a stylized station number graphic off Google.  Some graphic designers and networks take their image very serious and will pursue legal means to make you stop using their design!

Want to update/create a logo but Need an idea?  Searching the web is still a good resource for inspiration since there are no new ideas, just better use of an idea!  Here’s a great resource of some of the top number logos from a viewers survey.

Here’s a list of things to consider about updating or creating your logo.

  • As you go through the evaluation process, think about the different uses of your logo. Does it look good on a shirt? A business card? Letterhead? Website?
  • Think about the tones. How does it look in color and in black and white?
  • Do you have horizontal and a vertical design of your logo so you’re ready for any eventuality? If not, it may be time to update.
  • Are you affiliated with a Network?  Many networks have style guides that dictate the use of the station logo in conjunction with their network.  Even many diginets have begun producing style sheets to help consistently brand the network programming.
  • And most importantly, be sure it will translate well on screen.  In the old days, colors in broadcast made a huge difference. (Remember chroma buzz?) It’s still important today as higher definition and new technology develops.

Consider your area also. Bright colors and busy logos are a hallmark of many European and Asian channels.  That would be very 70’s here in the states!  Today’s eyes like softer hues and more whitespace, but that doesn’t mean get rid of the red logo, just take your market tone into consideration!

Overall, BE CONSISTENT. Yes, I’m shouting, because it’s that important. Choose a logo style and stick with it. Don’t stretch or change the fonts from use on the air and then on your new golf shirts. This is your brand. You want people, even if they just see a glance of the logo, to think positively of your station, your programming, your advertisers, YOU.


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Dear Fellow LPTV Broadcaster and Industry Leaders,

The auction has ended and most of us are still here.  While it was not only our hope but the hope of many others that the auction would not take place . . . it did, but it did not have the devastating effect that it might have had. 

The world after the auction looks different and amazingly so has a very bright future!

What does that future look like?  Not only the amazing possibilities of ATSC 3.0 but the landscape of a nation of people who are increasingly cutting their cable cords and looking for free, over the air, broadcasting content.

That’s why it’s more important than ever that you join the Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance.  Our board of directors have a combined 500+ years of experience which beginning with your membership we are going to start making more available to our members on an increasing basis.

Soon as an ATBA member, you will be eligible to start tapping into not only this brain trust through unique services available only to our members but regular news updates regarding our collective broadcast future.  We are exploring new ways to tap into information from Washington as well as important updates that will benefit you right there where you live.

The need for the ATBA has increased with the new opportunities that are becoming available for those of us who still know that the future of LPTV, Class A and Translators is bright!  Are you selling your station to local sponsors?  Are you maximizing your spectrum to the advantage that you truly can?  Are you struggling with FCC rules and regulations that you either don’t understand or can’t get explained?

The ATBA is developing a database of information to help you find the answers you need! 

In addition we are still working with the true decision makers in Washington.  Your ATBA has earned the respect and the ear of the true movers and shakers that continue to shape our collective broadcasting future.

So what can you do to get involved and begin to take advantage of these, and many other, benefits?  Join the ATBA today!  Your membership benefits will include:

  1. Members only access to hundreds of years of LPTV experience through our new “Brain Trust”
  2. Early entry to our annual NAB LPTV evening event with access to our special event guest(s)
  3. Exclusive digital content regarding real world information you need to know
  4. Eligibility for recognition for your hard work through our ATBA LPTV Awards
  5. Access to equipment manufacturers with discounts available especially for ATBA members!

To be honest you can’t afford not to be a member of the ATBA! 

We’re making it affordable because it’s a win – win!  When you join, you’re going to receive more than just the benefits listed above but also you’ll be aligning with hundreds of others who, like yourself, have a vested interest in the continued forward movement of free, over-the-air broadcasting.  It’s a win for your ATBA because we will increase our strength through numbers as we grow together.

So what’s the next step?  If you’re ready follow this link to sign up.  If you have more questions please don’t hesitate to call a member of the ATBA board of directors by calling this number (877) 214-4277.   You’ll get a rapid response!

Thanks for taking the time to read this note and for your ongoing passion for the future of communication in this great country.


The Board of Directors – The Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance