For Herbst Job One Is To Make CBS College Sports Television Top Of Mind

By Ken Kerschbaumer
After a month on the job Steve Herbst, newly appointed CBS College Sports Television executive vice president and general manager, is still settling into his new position but he already has some clears goals for the network as it looks to increase brand awareness and fully capitalize on the tighter bond with the CBS brand.
“The thing that strikes me is the opportunity to take advantage of all the great programming we have and the possibility to establish an identity of who we are and what we stand for,” says Herbst. “We have tremendous in-house programming and there is more to come. And with so much content out there on TV, online, and via wireless there are endless opportunities.”
Herbst joins CBS College Sports Television after having spent nearly 20 years at the National Basketball Association where he was GM of NBA TV. While at the NBA he had a chance to work with a global brand and capitalize on international superstars. The college opportunity is less about star power and more about tapping into the power of strong local brands.
“There is nothing quite like the history of collegiate athletics and the alumni relationship,” says Herbst. “There are established traditions and rivalries and we want to take advantage of them and bring them to life on a daily basis.”
The growing medium of broadband-delivered video and audio content will play a key role. Conference USA has streamed more than 1,000 events in the past year and has already staked out a leadership position in the college market. Expect other CBS Sports College Television affiliated conferences and schools to follow. “With the new age of digital technology there is an opportunity to see everything and it’s a wide open canvas,” explains Herbst.
From a programming standpoint Herbst says there are some interesting pieces, like Maxpreps and NCAA.com that provide great programming. “Programming can be shared across all the platforms and drive the entire family of networks,” he says. “We want to establish ourselves as the destination for college sports.”
Herbst will also oversee a major technical leap for CBS College Sports Television: the move to HD. “HD has become a must-have and we’ll be looking for original HD productions in the fall,” says Herbst. “HD is top of mind and we’re working on the upgrade [to the technical facilities] right now.”
Describing his personal work ethic as detail-oriented, Herbst says an important focus will be figuring out how the network is presented in the marketplace. “Marketing and branding are very important as is understanding how the viewer feels about the network,” he explains. “What do they think about when they here our name? It’s essential to clearly define who we are as a growing network with unique programming.”