Ad Spot

BeeTV founder April Ross buys local TV station

As a young college student, April Ross interned at the channel 33, WJCN television station licensed to LaGrange.

Now, the 49-year-old journalist and founder of Facebook media outlet BeeTV owns the station and is set to add her own touch to it very soon.

Ross bought the 24-hour Spectrum station in May and plans to rebrand it as BeeTV Network. She plans to include local programming and “highlight a lot of local events that are going on” in the surrounding area.

“A lot of people have different stories to tell and with us being in 11 counties, we want to cover each county that we can,” Ross said. “News is going to be a part of it but not the biggest part.”

Ross graduated from Alabama State University in 2001 with a degree in communications. Following college, she worked in radio and as a production assistant at WRBL but could never get on air, she said.

Around 2016, she began doing a lot of coverage for ongoing programs in the Atlanta area, including the Real Housewives and Rickey Smiley.

“At this time, I already [had] my business, Honey Productions, and was going around doing a lot of red carpet events … but I knew that wasn’t going to last, but I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Ross said. “What I really wanted to do was interview people. I told the lady who was working with me that I didn’t want to do it under Honey Productions … and she told me to call it BeeTV.”

Ross said she got her first taste of on-the-ground journalism in January 2017 when she was first to a Troup County deputy shooting scene in West Point. Armed with only her cellphone and Facebook Live, she used her skills to report on the situation before any other news outlet made it to the scene, essentially birthing the start of BeeTV and her ongoing career as a freelance journalist.

“That day when I was out there, and [Troup County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer] Stewart Smith asked me who I was with. I immediately said ‘BeeTV’,” Ross said.

Since then Ross has gone to scenes and gone live with updates on situations around the community. Most of her leads are through callers, she said.

“I didn’t even have a scanner … and would always try to give out accurate information, [and] I would never speculate,” Ross said, adding that she helps other outlets when needed.

Ironically, Ross’ father used to do yard work for one of the station’s previous owners, Peter Mallory, while she was in college.

Mallory was later convicted of 64 counts, including sexual exploitation of a child, invasion of privacy, and evidence tampering in 2012.  Ross’ father is now bedridden, and she takes care of him on the weekends.

“I think about my dad when I’m over at his house, and I think about how he labored under [Mallory,] and now the grass-cutting man’s daughter owns that man’s station,” she said.

Ross’ husband and son, a recent journalism graduate from Kennesaw State, will help her run the station, she said, and she’s also looking into hiring a production assistant.

Right now, the station has four ongoing shows featuring local community members such as Wanda Walker and Tripp Watson.

Ross is planning “The April Ross Show,” which she hopes to launch sometime in August.

Ultimately the experience is humbling, Ross said, and she credits God for her success.

“I feel like I have this platform to birth other people’s dreams,” Ross said. “There are so many talented people in Troup County, Chambers County and the surrounding area that just need a shot … and I have the platform to make that happen.”

News

Local, state tourism heads report healing economy

News

LaGrange woman wins new car in charity drawing

News

Family honors child’s memory with birthday party/toy drive

News

Man arrested for drug trafficking, attempting to elude officers

News

County puts out bids for Griggs Recreation Center renovation

Features

10-year-old learns ups and downs of running her own business

News

District 5 Commissioner candidates share hopes, ideas to better community

News

Stores in Troup Countycited for selling alcohol to minors

News

Thomas County Central hands Callaway first loss of the year

News

18-year-old arrested after bringing gun to campus on Tuesday

News

Leaders discuss career center, Option B services at meeting

News

TCSS board members agree to continue mask policy for now

News

LaGrange to join U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for trash pickup

News

Troup County All-Stars honored for big win

News

Lafayette Theatre Company to present Steel Magnolias

News

County may consider vaccine incentive program for county employees

News

Sheriff’s Office dispels Callaway High gun rumor

News

OUR VIEW: Where did the flu go? We might find out if enough don’t get influenza shots

News

Hogansville approves grant submission for ATV trail

Features

The Mind Clothing owner to be featured in GPB education special

News

Two Hogansville businesses celebrate openings, success, over weekend

News

COVID update: Wellstar caring for 56 patients

News

18-year-old arrested for having gun in school zone

News

Sweetland sees big crowd for Boyz II Men