Doug Cheek, president/CEO of GTN, one of the largest post-production houses in the Midwest, has orchestrated a management buyout of the company. Cheek is now the principal shareholder of GTN. The privately held, Oak Park–based shop was previously owned by Joan Binkow, who is retiring. An employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) remains in place for the company’s more than 130 employees.
Cheek began his career in 1974 working for Sportview TV, a closed-circuit television company that provided services to the horse racing venues across the United States. His broadcast career began in 1978 at Producers Color Service where he started on the midnight shift working as a dub technician. His career progressed at PCS to tape operator, video engineer and finally to telecine operator. He left PCS in the summer of 1981 and worked for the Maritz Corporation as a video engineer until the end of 1981, when he was asked to take a position at GTN. Cheek helped to build GTN’s business over the subsequent 22 years. He started at the company in 1982 as a production manager, and worked his way up to director of operations, VP, president and finally president/CEO of the company. It has been through his guidance that GTN has grown to the recognized, world-class company it is today.
“My career has taken some interesting twists over the years. I was fortunate, early in my career to have worked with some of the brightest, most talented and respected people in the Detroit production and post community. I can honestly say that those people have had a great deal to do with where I find myself today. That’s what makes this town so great.”
Regarding the news of the purchase, Cheek commented, “I’m looking forward to it: It’s a very natural progression for myself and the company. The strength of the staff has everything to do with how successful we are and I think we have a very talented and capable staff with a compelling growth agenda.”
GTN offers telecine, editing, compositing, CGI, visual effects, audio post, sound stages, distribution and digital asset management (DAM).
“DAM and distribution continue to be a big part of our plans and a consistent growth area for us,” related Cheek. “There is a big development path, and we’ve only begun to scratch the surface.”
GTN developed the software front-end to its proprietary DAM system branded as CARS (Content Archive Retrieval System), which operates on a high-speed managed network from SAVVIS’ WAM!NET, among the most extensive private networks in the world.
The scalable and customizable CARS service is already used by some of the largest agency clients and advertisers in Detroit including BBDO, Detroit (Dodge, Chrysler, & Jeep); Young & Rubicam, Detroit (Lincoln Mercury); and Campbell, Ewald (U.S. Navy).
Creatively speaking, Cheek understands the challenges GTN faces in the constantly changing Detroit landscape. “As a company, we will welcome creative challenges on a daily basis. Our staff is continuously working to improve the perception of GTN as a place that has a great amount of respect for the creative process.”
Speaking again about his decision to acquire GTN, Cheek commented. “I feel that there is a tremendous amount of value to what we are doing at GTN,” Cheek concluded. “That makes for a very good business model…Stay tuned.”
For more information, go to the company’s Website, at www.gtninc.com.