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#028: Embracing Digital Marketing & Outstanding Leadership Has Allowed This Local News Station to Thrive – FOX 5 San Diego

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Scott Heath – President & General Manager of FOX 5 San Diego, San Diego, CA – FOX 5 San Diego News


Shally Instagram:

Raoul Instagram:

Heather Lake Instagram:


FOX 5 Team:

Shally Zomorodi:




Ole Hickory Pits:

Grill Grates:

Weber Grills:

Spring Valley Tailgate & BBQ Festival Photos:

Upcoming BBQ Events and Competitions:

Thank you to Jet West Band for our epic Intro Jingle!

Jet West:

SVBBQFest2017 was the biggest and best yet

Thank you to all of our sponsors – thank you to Shane Walton from Organizations in Training

Scott Heath – President and General Manager of Fox 5 San Diego

Scott and Shawn first met when Cali Comfort catered food at FOX 5 San Diego and Raoul and Shally were raving about Cali’s BBQ

Scott and Shawn connected well also because of their deep love for sports and San Diego community

Scott has always loved BBQ, growing up in Yukon, Oklahoma

Home of Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks was on Scott’s football team

Garth Brooks and Derek have talked before

Scott always says “the hidden value proposition in everything we [FOX 5 SD] do, its not the WHAT it’s the WHY”

FOX 5 “we make good TV, we try to understand people’s pain”

Scott Heath went from Oklahoma to San Diego

Scott knew from High School he didn’t want to go to Univ. of Oklahoma

Scott played football and knew he wanted to come to SD

Scott didn’t come to family of a lot of money; was adopted

Scott walked on at Grossmont city college to play strong safety on the football team

Scott lived in Lemon Grove when he first got to SD

Scott really loved Pacific Beach but couldn’t afford it at first, so went to Lemon Grove 

Scott walked on at SDSU football team and worked at the Daily Aztec

Scott couldn’t find any jobs out of college

Scott then got a job at 91x FM – got a radio job there for 2 years – as an Account Executive and asked “are you guys going to train me?”

“It’s not about making a dollar, it’s about learning and listening to people.”

Scott wasn’t getting the feedback or training he wanted from 91X

KTTY radio went On Air on Sept 26 1985 , then in January of 1986 he joined the company

After 3 months, he realized he had to take the bull by the horns, because no one was training him.

Scott’s saying “the fumbles in life get us closer to the goal line”

Scott has been working 31.5 years at FOX 5 San Diego

He started at local sales to senior sales all the way up the ladder to President

Scott talks about how he is always learning… he’s taken courses on electrician, plumbing, restaurants so he could talk to anyone and understand what they do

Scott implemented training programs & training modules for many different stations around the US


Shawn and Derek want long-term relationships & not quick transactions with sales people who speak from a script 

“When you take the time to learn about other people and their story, you will make great long term relationships”

Scott has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and learning about other people and things

Scott’s motto “Never stop learning”

Derek has learned more about his life in the last 10 years than when he did in college, and he loves to continue learning, too

Scott tells his kids, “When you look in someones eyes you see their heart soul and mind.”

When you wake up, theres two types of days “there are good days and there are great days – if you wake up its a good day, make it great.”

Goal for Scott at FOX 5 was to “make good television” and “see where the next big step is – his biggest goal when becoming president was turning to digital [marketing] and grow it BIG

While television is here to stay, digital is growing quicker and quicker, and connects well with may humans

FOX 5 San Diego hashtag is #sosandiego

A couple years ago at FOX, there were just a handful of people who were touching social and now all 147 employees have the opportunity to produce content at FOX

FOX 5 San Diego has 5 web producers

Everyone on property has access to be able to send stuff to air on the news

Shally is ranked 5th SEI out of everyone in the USA (SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT INDEX)

Scott says a model for success is to correctly train people and create a mentality where digital is the mainstream focus

FOX 5 San Diego broadcasts a total of 560 + hours of live sports this year

may – july FIFa

all star game

super bowl

world series




Promoted Gulls live during the Super bowl

World Series

Aloha Taylor – went to gulls game and shot a bunch of content

San Diego Gulls – FOX 5:

Scott motivates his employees by the motto: “its not go and do this, its come along for the ride”

Scott likes his “videoalicious cutdowns” snackable and quick content

Fox was first to have live drone footage on the news

Drones are making a big difference in the news, being able to capture angles and footage like never before

Scott emphasizes the great selection of food available at VVCC

Scott loves the Padres – FOX 5 San Diego has a partnership with them 

Scott’s saying “failure is success really hidden” – failure can make you more self-aware of whats going on

Derek doesn’t feel like he capitalized on his produce program at VFM and VFM is now starting to get on board with the good organic produce but wishes he could’ve before the trend hit hard in SD

In the last 6 months, Derek has been really focusing on getting his produce program to where he wants it

Shawn is finding it hard to become close with staff as Cali BBQ grows from 18 employees to 92

Scott says “would’ve could’ve should’ve” doesn’t get you anywhere in life

One failure Scott learned at FOX 5 SD was he thought that he would be able to give away free swag to get engagement on digital platforms

Scott has learned that people want to engage in good innovative content

“Capitalize on the people who are really vested in you”

Scott insists “Embrace your talent, let them be personalities”

The secret sauce lies in the connectivity of the individual – you want to feel connected to that person

1 bad customer with 1 bad customer with one bad experience could be 10 new viewers who don’t want to participate with that brand or restaurant anymore

In Digital Marketing. getting viewer feedback is very important 

Deer, elk, and moose – Derek explains how he loves to hunt

Derek tells Scott how farm-raised moose are not the same as in the wild (commoditized)

Cali Comfort tried tilapia, catfish – was trying to do too many things with their menu and it wasn’t working

Shawn decided to cut menu down to just BBQ with Gene Goycochea’s expert help

Scott mentions how he loves the potato salad from Cali Comfort

Simplicity can be the key to success

VFM poke recipe from Hawaii that Derek has and its so simplistic

Keep it simple!

Advice from Scott “understand what you want to do” “news will be around forever, TV will be around, content will always be created”

Scott explains “A young journalist today needs to figure out what they are into, needs to embrace social, and continue on”


“Failure is success just waiting to happen”

“You just gotta do it”

“If you don’t fall down, you’ll have no battle scars”

Follow FOX 5 and study how they lead the movement in social

Get in Touch

Derek Marso –

Shawn Walchef –

Cory Wagner –

Valley Farm Market – –

Cali Comfort BBQ – – –

Behind The Smoke – – –

Email –

About the author, Shawn Walchef

Cali Sports Entertainment Entrepreneur, Tailgating BBQ Event Specialist, Owner @CaliComfortBBQ, Behind The Smoke Podcast Host

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