Texas native Rolando Santos, the new chief at CNN Headline News, is a longtime newshound, with a journalism degree from Texas A&M and stints as reporter, anchor, news director, and producer for both English- and Spanish-language TV stations. His watchwords? Balance and teamwork.
AW: How does the growing number of cable channels affect your business?
RS: Everyone has choices, and not just cable. There are a lot of places you can go to get your information. The advantage we have is news that is fast and to the point, and then we’re out of there.
AW: What are your goals?
RS: The goal of the network is to continue to refine the concept of get-to-the-point news. In August, you’ll see a revamp of the on-screen look to make it easier to read. Also, we’ll go to more co-anchor situations during the day. That allows us to increase the pace and get even more stories in. My personal goals are to continue to balance my personal and professional lives; I want to be around for my kids and their activities.
AW: As the only Hispanic heading a major TV network, do you feel pressure to succeed?
RS: Whether you’re Hispanic or white or black or whatever, the pressure is there to succeed. Is there more pressure because I’m Hispanic? Sure, I think that’s a fair statement, but that’s not something I dwell on.
AW: What’s the most important business lesson you’ve learned?
RS: You can’t do a damn thing without teamwork. I first learned that at Texas A&M as a member of the Fighting Texas Aggie Band. We were 300 individuals, but when we stepped out onto that field at halftime, we were one entity. And that made us win.