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Ask Matt ... how a sportscaster/banker amped up county's PR machine

Mike Morgan Mike Morgan

Henderson County seems to be getting more active sending news releases and posting videos. What’s happening there?

There is a lot of new stuff going on in the old courthouse. I spoke at length with Henderson County’s new Chief Communications Officer Mike Morgan, who is already making changes and improvements. If you ever wondered why there was no easy way to find the start of a Board of Commissioners meeting on public access Channel 11, now there is.

One of the new features on Channel 11 is the arsenal of videos. “I want to produce as much content as possible,” said Morgan. “I’m the guy behind the camera, I do the production, I’m the voice-over — I do it all.” Videos already posted to the county’s website include a video on the 2045 Comprehensive Plan, the new all-inclusive playground at Jackson Park and the VFW building renovation. Morgan also shot a reappraisal video. “Doing the story about why taxes went up was a real challenge.” (Since the interview, County Manager John Mitchell announced a revenue neutral tax rate in his recommended 2024 budget.)

Morgan has a rich history in media including 20 years at WLOS doing sportscasts. A 15-year banking career followed. “I always wanted to get back to media full-time,” he said. A native of McDowell County, Morgan has kept up his skills doing radio broadcasts and other projects. Since he started his county gig in January, he has been an accessible point of contact for the local press.

Meetings and programs on Channel 11 run on a 12-hour cycle so to find the guide, just go to Henderson County’s website’s and click on the “Communications Page” link. The Channel 11 Schedule Page lists the exact time the latest videotaped board meetings start and there is an access link for past meetings. If you had plans to attend a board meeting but didn’t want to, say, pay for parking, there’s a live broadcast link. How cool is that? The Henderson County E-newsletter has a link too and it only takes a few seconds to sign up.

The guide also lists videos Morgan has already produced, such as the VFW building renovation, the litter sweep and the future Fletcher EMS station. Plus there is a link to access press releases (great for media people). “The idea is to do more than just meetings,” said Morgan. “We want to showcase what is happening in Henderson County.”

Morgan said that one of the disadvantages of the public access channel is that, unlike a website, there is no exact way to gauge the number of viewers. There are more improvements and new features ahead. Morgan has also made improvements to the quality of the livestream of County Commission meetings. He aims to lead one of the best county communications offerings in the state. “We have a lot of flexibility with the programming,” he said. “Remember, it’s our channel.”

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