FOREST CITY - Winnebago Industries has had the national stage before in national TV news stories, movies and trade magazines but the stage has been busier over the past several weeks.
The motor home manufacturer and its products have been featured on four national TV news segments within the past several weeks including CNBC, ABC and CBS. A Winnebago Industries unit was also featured on Fox News recently , a company news release said.
Another CNBC segment July 1 was featured on the show “Street Signs.” CNBC reporters interviewed Mike Ruth, general manager at Camping World, Island Lake, Ill. and motor homes were featured in the segment, said Sheila Davis, Winnebago spokeswoman.
While it’s not a national news outlet, the company’s long relationship with the syndicated TV game show “Wheel of Fortune” continues.
“They just picked up their brand new ‘Wheelmobile’ (July 2), a 2014 Winnebago Journey,” Davis said. “They will be using it for contestant searches throughout the country. Yes, they (also) offer one of our products periodically on the show.”
“It’s fantastic for the company,” said Winnebago chief executive officer, president and chairman of the board Randy Potts. “It’s the brand that gets us there.”
Winnebago products are often synonymous with recreational vehicles and motor homes, Potts said.
“It’s the Winnebago legacy, the brand,” Potts said.
But the company is also experiencing a major upturn in finances after weathering a several year recession with dips in motor home sales and a decline in profits.
On June 27, the company reported it had doubled its operating profit in the third quarter of fiscal year 2013 when compared to the third quarter of fiscal year 2012.
The overall recreational vehicle industry is improving and Winnebago has been a leader in that improvement.
The improvement has drawn the attention of national media, Davis said.
Analysts often “look at the RV market and industries as one of the first indicators the economy is bouncing back,” Davis said.
Potts was featured in a recent segment on CBS This Morning.
The segment was a live broadcast. Potts was interviewed in a CBS studio in New York City.
“It was a little unnerving,” Potts said of a live interview.
The morning show has a “huge audience,” he said.
Potts said as he sat on the set the broadcasters and crew communicated through ear pieces so they were always aware of time and other factors.
Potts said he didn’t know the questions he’d be asked before the broadcast but “they are pros. They are very good at seeing how you are at answering the question. If you get too deep, too detailed (they move you on).”
Potts laughed when he said he apparently did a good enough job in interviews prior to the live CBS interview but he and the company keep getting interview requests.
The link to CBS This Morning broadcast is: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50149371n
The CNBC segmentfor the July 1 show “Street Signs” link is: