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Binnie: Rivalry with NH1 is good for WMUR

Staff report
April 11. 2015 12:17PM
BILL BINNIE OF RYE, CENTER, president of Carlisle One Media, Binnie Media, NH1 and WBIN-TV, was the featured speaker at the 2nd Annual "Leadership in Action" breakfast of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) Friday at The Puritan Backroom Conference & Events Center in Manchester. With him are, at left, Tony Matos, GMCC board member, and Michael J. Skelton, the chamber's President and CEO. (PAT GROSSMITH/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER — Speaking to local business leaders, the owner of a new television station in Concord said his competition at WMUR-TV has beefed up their coverage since he has been in business.

Since his new station began operations late last year, Bill Binnie, 57, of Rye, said WMUR is doing a “much, much better job” covering the news.

Binnie , owner of WBIN- T V, said now there’s more coverage in places like Goffstown and Hooksett.

“We all are a little better informed,” he said.

The remarks came at a Manchester Chamber of Commerce leadership networking event Friday morning.

In an interview, WMURTV General Manager Jeff Bartlett shot back at Binnie’s comments.

“That has to be one of the most ludicrous things I’ve ever heard,” Bartlett said.

Binnie ran in 2010 for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, something his wife likes to say he “successfully failed,” he said, evoking laughter from the crowd of about 160 at the Puritan Backroom.

It was while running for the Senate, he said, that he realized media in New Hampshire is broken. WMUR-TV was the only local television station. He said the station, with sales between $50 million and $60 million annually, posts a profit of between $30 and $40 million a year. 

“It’s incredibly profitable because they have a monopoly here in New Hampshire,” he said. “Now you wonder why I have a TV business?” Binnie said the Boston TV stations count the Granite State’s million residents as part of their market share. Without us, he said, they would be knocked out of the Top 10 market, which determines what they can charge for advertising. 

Binnie didn’t disclose how much he spent in developing the new TV station. WMUR-TV, which is owned by the privately held Hearst Corporation, doesn’t make revenue and profitability numbers public. 

In business, he said, the hardest thing to learn is how to get a stranger to give you money, either in sales or for a bank loan, while the hardest thing to know is where to spend your resources — money and time. 

The best piece of advice he ever received was from a gruff engineer he sent to Latin America to find out what the problem was in the construction of a 10-acre Walmart. He was in his 30s at the time and needed to report numbers to Wall Street analysts every 12 weeks, an exceedingly stressful time in his life. 

The engineer returned and said it would be three, four or five... Binnie cut him off, saying he didn’t have three, four or five months to take care of the problem. The engineer told him he was going to say years, not months. 

“The problem’s got its problems and it doesn’t care about your problems,” the engineer told him. 

“It was the best lesson I ever had in life,” Binnie said. 

Binnie, the son of Scottish immigrants whose father was a disabled janitor and mother a maid, said he worked nights as a mechanic to pay his way through Harvard University. He went on to be the first member of his family to graduate from high school, then earn two degrees from Harvard — a B.A. and an MBA. Yet, when he attended classes at Harvard, he remembers being embarrassed because his hands were stained black, the markings of an auto mechanic. 

Today, he’s president of Carlisle Capital Corp., among other business ventures. He also is a race car driver, having won his class at the 24 Hours of LeMans twice, and having raced for Lotus and started his own professional racing team.


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