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Updated: April 6, 2020 / 2020 Women in Business Awards

Neves leads WFSB through growth, crisis

Photo | J. Fiereck Photogrphy

When Dana Neves began her career at WFSB TV as an intern 25 years ago, viewers were not watching the news on their smartphones, and podcasts didn’t exist.

Now, as vice president and general manager of the station, Neves oversees every form of news delivery.

“We used to say most watched but now it’s most consumed,” she said. “Our goal is to make sure content is on air and online where consumers can always find it.”

To that end, Neves has helped expand Channel 3’s coverage with the addition of Eyewitness News at 4:30 p.m., which was rated the No. 1 source of breaking news in the state as soon as the half-hour newscast launched in September and has remained in that spot.

Work had just started on a new live-streaming news app at the station when Neves became general manager two years ago. She said the launch in early March required constant work on a daily basis, including retrofitting the station’s transmission tower in Avon, so viewers can now watch Rocky Hill-based Channel 3 live on their digital devices without cable connection.

During Neves’ tenure as general manager, the station also initiated several podcasts such as Kara’s Cures, Something’s Brewing and The Joe Zone.

Part of her job as general manager is developing relationships with the station’s key clients. Having been at Channel 3 since 1995, Neves said she already knew most of them but, in her new role, went from content relationships to business partnerships, which she maintains and strengthens “the old-fashioned way,” such as meeting in person to talk and playing golf.

Neves, 47, said her goal for Channel 3 moving forward is simple: Remaining Connecticut’s No. 1 station. That requires continuous monitoring of viewers’ changing tastes and their reactions to programming. She and colleagues pay close attention to feedback, which includes calls to the station, emails, tweets and Facebook posts.

Although Neves is responsible for the station’s 124 employees, she doesn’t refer to herself when talking about Channel 3’s successes.

“I’m part of something bigger,” she said. “Being a leader means curating other peoples’ ideas.”

Neves said she rarely uses the word “I,” but rather “we,” which means her team of four department heads: Greg Thomas, creative services director; Bill Whittle, director of sales; Victor Zarrilli, director of engineering; and Keith Connors, executive director of news.

The strong bond this team shares has helped Channel 3 remain the best station in Connecticut, Neves said.

“We’ve been together for decades,” she said. “Relationships have matured over time. There are no barriers of figuring each other out.”

It was as a group that the entire organization dealt with the sudden death of news anchor Denise D’Ascenzo in December. In times of crisis, staff would look to her, the epitome of grace under pressure, Neves said.

“But when the crisis was about Denise, we didn’t have her to look to,” Neves said. “People asked what Denise would do. She went from being a fixture to an absence and we knew no day would ever be the same again.”

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April 7, 2020

Just said last night, to my husband, watching the amazing news cast, someone new, must be directing, eye witness news, they truly have taken the I , out of eyewitness, and now has the best News TEAM,
Congratulations on your honest, informative,reporting. During a scary time, many channels love sensational news for ratings, yet 3 is number 1 ,with honest AND informed reporting. Thanks!!! Dawn Shayer❤ we WILL defeat this monster!!!

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