Cavuto’s “Coast to Coast” launches Monday
He is anchor of “Your World” on Fox News as well as a Saturday show “Cavuto on Business.”
Until last week, he also hosted “Cavuto” on Fox Business at 8 p.m. Starting this week, his Fox Business show is called “Coast to Coast” and airs during the middle of the day.
In addition to anchoring daily programs and breaking news specials on Fox News and Fox Business, Cavuto oversees business news content for both networks.
Prior to joining Fox News for its launch in August of 1996, Cavuto anchored and hosted more than three hours of live daily programming for CNBC, including the network’s highest-rated show, “Market Wrap.” He also served as a contributor to NBC’s Today show and NBC News at Sunrise.
Previously, Cavuto was the New York bureau chief for PBS Television’s “Nightly Business Report” and a Washington bureau chief for Investment Age magazine.
Cavuto spoke late last week with Talking Biz News by email about his new show and his job. What follows is an edited transcript.
How will “Coast to Coast” differ from what you have been doing?
For one thing, it’s two hours live in the slap dab middle of the news day. Anything can happen, and will, because that’s just the nature of unscripted news.
How will you fill two hours instead of just one?
We will live for “live” – being on everything, everywhere. We have enormous resources at our finger tips, and like my colleague Shep Smith on the Fox News Channel, we will take full advantage of them. Don’t get me wrong. We won’t have all his bells and whistles, but for business news, we’ll have a lot more than the other guys who do this!
How do viewers at lunch vs. the evening differ?
Perhaps the biggest difference between the two shows and audiences is the greater sense of urgency during the day. We will capitalize on that, and again, being totally unscripted we will relentlessly pound that. But here’s the thing — we will only pound the big news that matters, not the often arcane stuff that does not. And we will be non-stop.
The changes at Fox Business seem to signal a shift in content focus. Would you agree?
I just see it as getting back to our core, which is news. We forget on the business side, that covering financial stories should be like covering all stories, and with the same sense of urgency. The simple fact is the latest breaking business stories are just that – news.
When you look at the financial world that way, you not only keep it topical, you keep it interesting. Way too often business journalists wonk-out and viewers understandably tune out. We’ll be damned if we let that happen!
How do you balance your job as managing editor with your anchor duties?
I think they’re pretty much intertwined. As managing editor, my mantra always is, keep it relevant and keep it real. That’s something I keep in mind when reporting the news as well. The trick to financial news reporting is pretty much what it is to general news reporting – bring it home to your audience concisely and clearly. It’s not about dumbing things down, for me, it’s about lifting your audience up.
Even when I worked at CNBC two decades ago, that was my mantra – keep it simple and keep it moving. I think too often business reporters are so eager to get it right covering the experts, and relying on the experts, that they define their very self-worth by how well they impress the experts. Don’t get me wrong, I think that’s important to keep those folks watching, but no more so than keeping all folks watching.
Which job is harder?
They’re BOTH enormously challenging! How’s that for a cop-out (and boss shout-out!)
How does your Fox Business show differ from what you do on the main network?
You might be surprised that I don’t find them much different. The Fox Business audience presumably comes to the channel with an interest in financial news, but with no less an expectation we’ll make it as engaging as general news. Since I do shows on both Fox News and Fox Business, I’ve grown to appreciate how important it is to just get it right, and always keep it riveting.
The times I’ve failed at this stuff is when I’ve forgotten that basic stuff. My weekday show on FNC is called “Your World,” and Roger Ailes came up with that name for a reason – he wanted me to look at the whole world and to think of everyone who lives here as potential viewers. He was right to remind me to step back, because the nature of news itself is that it’s not so easily compartmentalized, nor should it be.
What’s been the biggest change at Fox Business since it started in 2007?
The most obvious change is the economy is much better now, and so are the markets. Looking back at the fall of 2007, when Fox Business was gearing up, the whole world seemed to be falling down. We started during a recession, and within months, we were covering an unprecedented global meltdown – so it’s safe to say we were facing major headwinds!
Then to add programming insult to injury, our market data bread and butter became everyone’s bread and butter. All those market numbers, and stock statistics became ubiquitous – available to all and all over. No longer did folks have to listen to a puffed up financial anchor like me to tell them what was going on with their investments. Chances are they already knew, courtesy the internet and conveniently delivered on any one of a myriad of devices.
Like other financial stations and business publications, we had to adjust to that new world – often belatedly and clumsily – but I can tell you now in FBN’s case, assuredly. We’re really good at connecting all those numbers and offering the added value and perspective you’d rightly expect out of a business channel. And I like to think we do it better than anyone else!
Where would you like the network to improve?
Keeping it moving. Sometimes we get bogged down in stuff that simply doesn’t matter because we’re so busy reporting anything that comes across our desks. We need to be more discerning. We need to be more engaging. We need to remember just because we’re into business, that’s not a license to be into boring.
I think if we focus on keeping it topical and following the truly meaningful market-moving developments, we’ll be fine. If I fault us for anything over these years, myself included is we’ve worked too hard covering stuff that hardly works. We can do better, and if I have anything to do about it, we will.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
My wife one time said it best – I’m like a kid in a candy store doing this job. Maybe that’s because I don’t look at it as a job. Like many in this business, I work very long days. While that often can be physically taxing, it’s always stimulating.
I’m very fortunate to work in a business where the stories are always changing, and new players are always emerging. In politics, and in business, it’s all about keeping up with both and everything in between. For me, that’s a rush. Not quite a sugar high, but pretty darn close!