Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Loss of Akron-Canton News getting media attention

I had an odd deja vu today ... chatting with ABJ TV writer Rich Heldenfels about the upcoming end of the Akron-Canton News. It was odd because I can remember having the same interview with Rich seven-plus years ago when we were first launching the broadcast.

Seems every time our newscast took a step forward (adding the 10 p.m. news in 2003 for example) or took a step sideways (moving from PAX to Time Warner Cable in 2005), the change was always worth a mention. When you're the only evening news game in town, whatever we do or don't do is news in itself.

This time it's a story about the end of the broadcast. Look for Rich's story in Friday's ABJ.

I've also been invited to spend some time on WAKR with Ray Horner Friday morning after 8 a.m. talking about the changes ahead.

A few weeks ago, it looked like I would be out of town for training and would need a fill-in anchor for the broadcasts. While the vacancy never materialized (my training was canceled), I couldn't help but wonder how great it would have been to have had Mark Williamson sit at the desk for a night or two. The former WAKC anchor and news director of 23 News never got to have a "final" show.

Instead -- as well know by now -- the station's new owners dropped the hammer in February of 1996 and yanked the broadcasts without warning. Williamson, who'd hosted the show for 17 years if memory serves, never got to say a final goodnight.

I think the viewers would have enjoyed it .. and I think Mark would have too. For those keeping score at home, Mark is the City of Akron's Communications Director, so he still interacts with the media on a daily basis. Mark gave me my first job out of college, so I owe him a lot.


Dustin said...

Couldn't they let Mark Co-Anchor with you for a newscast or two. Those of us who remember 23 Newsday, and have watched the current 23 news almost every evening would love to have the past and present news anchors of Akron together even if it is for one last show.

Your newscasts WILL BE MISSED...

Anonymous said...

I don't currently receive the present newscast (too cheap to get cable!) but I remember watching it on channel 4 I believe it was back in the early 90's.

Some names have slipped my mind, but I remember calling the station when the Tim (the weather guy) got a new haircut to tell him how cool he looked!

Joanna Theiss (sp?) is another name I remember. And Laura someone-or-other, a dark haired girl. If I'm not mistaken, didn't Mark Nolan do weather there?

Best wishes to you.

Anonymous said...

Eric, your news skills will serve you well -- perhaps better than they were showcased on this program. There just wasn't enough Akron news (or perhaps reporters to find it and report it in depth) for 30 min. Too often the program was a retread of the 6:00 KYC broadcast with a local piece ... maybe. Without the 30 min. limit and the web as an alternative distribution (perhaps becoming the primary distribution?), the loss of 23 may ultimately force KYC to produce a more cutting edge web-centric cast that covers Akron but that avoids the marketting problems of last-century's broadcast model. Best of luck. See you on the web.