Stuart Kellogg, General Manager of WAPT in Jackson, can point to a somewhat extraordinary accomplishment in the world of broadcasting and media: He’s been on the job in Jackson for 23 years. During that time, he’s seen many changes in Jackson, as WAPT has emerged as the market’s No. 1 station in a variety of measurements.
Stuart started his broadcasting career doing weather in Syracuse, New York, where he had graduated with a degree in broadcasting from Syracuse University.
“Doing the weather, I came to realize that I really wasn’t very fond of the weather in Syracuse,” he said. “That’s one of the snowiest places in the country, and the winters are long.”
The preference for a warmer climate, and the opportunity to become a reporter, soon led him to Mobile, Alabama, and New Orleans, with other career stops in Iowa and Oklahoma, which resulted in his serving as news director. Finally he went into general management and he moved to Jackson.
Along the way, he met and married his wife, Beth, in Mobile, and it so happened that Beth was a native of the Jackson area, so that may have had some influence on his moving to Mississippi.
Whatever the reason, Stuart felt that “he had come home” in the ways that mattered.
“I really came to love Mississippi,” he said. “The people here are friendly, caring, and above all, accessible. I discovered early on that people were always ready to talk, whether they were company CEOs, senior government people, or anyone else. That was such a refreshing change from what I had seen in some other places.”
Stuart points out that although Jackson is only the 94th market in the country, “it’s one of the best dedicated news markets in America, with more coverage and commitment than many larger markets.”
He’s high on Mississippi’s future, pointing out that the state is “business friendly, with a great entrepreneurial climate, great resources, and many opportunities to build on technology, agribusiness, health care, and education.”
Asked what he through the challenges for the state are, he pointed out to the state’s “negative image” from people outside the state who really don’t understand what Mississippi has to offer.
“Sometimes, that makes it tough to recruit good candidates who have been exposed to that negativity. But once they come, they tend to love it.”
He also sees the challenges in education that Mississippi is facing, and from his point of view, “that’s really an important focus in the coming years.”
Asked what sage advice he might offer budding entrepreneurs and career seekers, he suggested that “Networking may be the single most important thing you can do, spending time getting to know people on a personal level, learning about their leadership styles, and sharing what you know with others. And always being willing to listen.”
WAPT is a major employer in the Jackson area, with 72 full time and 15 part time employees. The station is a part of Hearst Television, which owns 29 TV stations in markets from Boston to Honolulu, and Stuart says “it’s really a great company to work for.” Given his tenure with the company, he’s most likely one of its prime cheerleaders.
» Contact Mississippi Business Journal publisher Alan Turner at email@example.com or (601) 364-1021.