Meet the Man Beneath the Mask

WKRC morning anchor Bob Herzog puts his best face forward every single day.

Makeup tutorial videos on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube usually feature young, beautiful women, but one Cincinnati anchor is shaking things up with a little humor and some concealer application tips.

WKRC Cincinnati Morning Anchor Bob Herzog made a New Year’s Resolution that has launched him into BuzzFeed-worthy Internet stardom.

He decided that every morning before going on the air for Good Morning Cincinnati, he was going to do a video. “One of those rah-rah let’s get up and have a good day kind of videos.”

They started out pretty tame, but about two weeks in, he decided to try something new and different. He was going to put on his studio makeup, and do it “like one of those Instagram makeup tutorials,” Herzog said.

Once he introduced the makeup tutorial, the name just fell right into place. Wake Up and Make Up was born.

Over time they’ve evolved from purely makeup tutorials to include everything from the pre-show banter with his fellow anchors to his thoughts about a new tie. The videos have taken on a life of their own in a way that Herzog never could have imagined. He’s got viewers from Rhode Island all the way to Japan, and pretty much everywhere in between.

And as Herzog’s videos gained popularity and notoriety, his following on Facebook grew as well. According to his news director, Tim Geraghty, he’s got a Facebook following– over 200,000 followers – that would make a lot of TV stations around the country jealous.

Geraghty said he encourages his on-air talent to approach audience engagement in a way that works for them and fits their personality.

“We’re very fortunate that we have someone like Bob who the audience can both engage with on such a conversational level, but still respect him when he does his news every day,” Geraghty said.

This self-described “’goofy guy” from Cincinnati has figured out how to connect with his followers on social media and his audience on local TV in a way that gives them “a good sense of the people they’re getting their news from,” Herzog said.

And the stronger connection that Herzog has made with his followers is something WKRC is beginning to experiment with the 9 o’clock hour of Good Morning Cincinnati.

Herzog now ducks out for about 15 minutes sometime during the morning broadcast, goes live again on Facebook, and talks about some of the stories Good Morning Cincinnati is going to feature at 9 AM. He then uses some of the comments from his followers to lead into the stories later on in the show.

For Herzog, “It’s not just about having a relationship with people in that social media space, but letting them know that they can then cross over with us back onto the TV side as well.”

Does Herzog’s successful gimmick mean we’re going to be treated to a nationwide outbreak of Sinclair anchors slapping on their morning faces every day? No, Sinclair digital social media director John Colucci assured us in an email. “Bob’s personality and openness is key to his social media prowess, but we know not everyone is comfortable putting out a lot of details about themselves – and that’s ok! We encourage our journalists to share tidbits about who they are outside of work. That can be as simple as that they enjoy gardening, or pet photos, all the way to sharing milestones in their kids’ lives.”

What’s really surprised Herzog – besides the fact that his videos are being watched halfway across the world – is the community that has formed around these videos.

“There are a lot of places online that are not so friendly all the time,” Herzog said. “And for whatever reason, I have just stumbled into a really nice group of people who I think are looking for something a little bit positive, especially at the start of the day.”

Does your station have any unusual examples of broadcast/digital integration or anchors stepping out of their roles to drive social engagement? If so, send them our way and we’ll take a look. Email us at cronkitenewslab@asu.edu.

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