Celebrating Women’s History Month 2023: Trailblazer Georgia Davidson Leads Legacy of Strong Female Leadership at TEGNA’s KTVB
Being a working woman in 1953 was virtually unheard of. Unless, of course, you were Georgia Davidson. As the founder of KTVB in Idaho, Davidson leaves behind a legacy of community service through trustworthy journalism and paved the way for several female leaders at the station, including Jessica Hagan, Kate Morris, Kristi Edmunds, Lisa Chavez, and Traci Liew. Join us in celebrating Women’s History Month by honoring Davidson’s legacy as a trailblazer, and learn what her legacy means for TEGNA’s advertising partners.
Today, many strong females are in leadership positions at TEGNA’s KTVB in Boise, Idaho. Jessica Hagan is the station’s president and general manager, former president and general manager Kate Morris, Kristi Edmunds is the Sales Director, Lisa Chavez is the content director, and Traci Liew is its Community Service Director – and its thanks, in part, to a legacy passed down from one very important trailblazer.
Her name is Georgia Davidson, and she made the early, brave, and risky decision to forge into the new world of television when she founded Idaho’s first-ever television station – KIDO-TV – which first hit the airwaves on July 12, 1953. KIDO-TV later became KTVB in 1959. To celebrate Women’s History Month 2023, we’d like to tell you more about Georgia’s story and how she became a trailblazer in the industry.
How Georgia Davidson Brought KTVB Boise to Life
In a male-dominated broadcast world, Davidson held her own. She was one of only three women to own a TV station in the NBC network – including her good friend, Dorothy Bullitt, who bought a TV station now known as TEGNA’s KING 5 in Seattle. Davidson served as the station’s president until 1972 when she became chairman and CEO until the station was sold in 1980. Davidson was also the only woman among 120 men on the NBC Board of Affiliates.
Having a seat at the table has maybe become more common today – but it was unusual for those times, and it’s certainly a point of pride for current female leaders at KTVB.
“It’s incredible to work in a place started by a mom with two kids in the 1950s. She accomplished something unheard of for that time,” says Chavez. “I wish I could have met her. She seems like my kind of gal.”
One woman who was lucky enough to meet Davidson is Kristi Edmunds, current Director of Sales at KTVB. She highly regards Davidson based on her personal experience with the trailblazer.
“I worked at KTVB in 1976 when Georgia was still coming into the office,” Edmunds recalls. “She always was encouraging and had great foresight about this industry of ours. While she may have been slight in build – she was mighty in the vision she shared, resulting in one of the most dominant, successful legacy stations in the state and country.”
Georgia’s Three Pillars of Success at KTVB Boise
Davidson’s vision had three main pillars, starting with trustworthy journalism.
“One quote from her stated “journalists are rather precious people” and she held our responsibility to our news product in high regard,” recalls Edmunds.
The other two pillars include doing the right thing for the community – and doing the right thing for her employees – a focus that continues today.
“KTVB’s legacy of service to the community started many years ago – and our work is focused on generating amazing results for our clients and viewers,” says Edmunds. “Georgia’s legacy reminds us to continue innovation, embrace change – and persevere in taking those bold, pioneering steps forward.”
For her employees, the same principles apply. As reported in the History of Idaho Broadcasting Foundation’s newsletter in 2013, Davidson had an emergency fund to help employees who needed it.
“Apparently, she kept a slush fund of approximately $5,000, and when an employee had a bill they could not pay, or a medical or family emergency, Georgia wrote them a check – often for the entire amount, which helped them make it through their crisis. This may explain the extraordinary sense of loyalty many employees had for Georgia, which even continued with employees who had moved on to other jobs.
Davidson also paved the way for several female leaders to take the helm at KTVB, including three female general managers – Hagan, Morris, and Davidson.
Keeping Georgia’s Legacy Alive
Davidson’s impact is especially felt by Chavez too.
“For several years, the photos and articles on Georgia hung in a conference room weren’t much more than pieces of history of KTVB for me,” Chavez recalls. “As I’ve had many mentors over the years point out my potential and encourage me to take leaps into higher and higher leadership roles, her story began to resonate with me as I saw other women excelling in top roles.”
As a result, Chavez now helps to continue Davidson’s legacy.
“I began including the Georgia Davidson conference room in my tours with job candidates or anyone who wanted to look around – male or female,” says Chavez. “I spend a few minutes telling her story, showing her picture and the first station, then sharing how we continue the innovative culture and service to the community today with our mission statement on the other wall.
In a newspaper interview from 1978, Davidson was asked: “What advice would you have for young people – especially young women – who want to get into the industry?”
Georgia answered, “I think it is one of the most rewarding industries anyone can enter. Partly because of a certain amount of inner satisfaction – even though you may get some criticism – and a certain amount of public credit you don’t get in very many industries. You go through your days rather happily because of the variety in your work and that wonderful feeling that maybe you are doing something very constructive for your community.”
Chavez sums up Davidson’s legacy by saying, “Her legacy absolutely impacts those of us here today. Our mission and our brand are the essences of what she started, and I am dedicated to continuing that legacy fiercely, protecting it, and giving opportunities to others to carry that spirit and blaze the next trail.”
What Does This Mean for TEGNA’s Advertising Partners?
TVB’s 2023 Media Comparison Study finds that consumers are increasing their trust in local news teams, especially as stations like KTVB carry on Davidson’s legacy of strong journalism, strong female leadership, and community service. It’s a reason so many viewers tune into KTVB for the local news and information they need – from weather, traffic, sports, and all the news in between. Reaching millions of viewers on-air and digitally, Davidson’s legacy demonstrates just what it means when we at TEGNA say, “be in good company.”
For advertisers that partner with local news stations to amplify their messages, whether via broadcast, streaming, or digital – the benefits are many, including:
- Building brand awareness
- Generating trust and developing a good reputation
- Connecting to live & local audiences to expand reach
- High ad recall & purchase intent
Advertising, especially alongside trusted local news broadcasts, reaffirms a brand’s place in the community and showcases that your brand can also be trusted with the right amount of frequency and exposure to target audiences. By aligning with the unique content opportunities that TEGNA offers, your brand has an opportunity to be the talk of the town.
TEGNA delivers proven results through simplified multi-platform advertising solutions that connect your business to the audiences that matter most via Broadcast TV, Streaming Advertising, and Digital Solutions, including Targeted Display & Retargeting, as well as campaign measurement and optimization with TEGNA Attribution. Let’s get in touch if you’re thinking of amplifying your brand’s TV efforts or joining TEGNA affiliates to serve the greater good of our communities.