Friday, July 29, 2005
WXLV/WUPN Dumps News
As an avowed broadcaster, it pains me anytime a newscast goes dark - especially when it puts friends of mine out of work. Such is the case with the recently announced shutdown of news operations at WXLV/WUPN. It's the second time since 2002 that WXLV has eradicated their newsroom. When they resurrected their efforts under the UPN banner, few local pundits gave them much of a chance. Though the Piedmont Triad is far from the zenith of local TV news, it IS a highly competitive market where we regularly eat our young. UPN 48 had the extra detriment of being part of Sinclair's (fundamentally flawed) "News Central" business model, which mixed locally produced news with general news produced in Maryland for nationwide distribution. Perhaps WXLV/WUPN General Manager Ron Inman put it best:
"Our people have done an incredibly professional job. The reality is they were up against three 900-pound gorillas."
True Dat. I just hope the newsies I know who are out of a job can quickly regain their footing. Among those in my thoughts are two icons of local newsgathering: reporter Leonard Simpson and photographer Bill Welch. Leonard is a gentleman in a cad's business - expertly-versed in all things Piedmont-Triad and well respected for it. Bill Welch isn't as well known to viewers, but anyone whose done time at a Greensboro crime-tape convention knows the tall, balding smart-ass in the ball-cap. If you think I got stories to tell; spend a few minutes with 'Mr. Bill'. Both he and Leonard have forgotten more than most newsgatherers around here know yet, and I can't think of any competitors I'd rather hang out with at the trainwreck/council meeting/shoot-out. Surely both will soon be gracing the airwaves of their choice - provided they still want to play this silly game. As for me, I'm just glad I've had the honor of learning from them both. Here's wishing the best of luck to everyone at UPN 48 now facing a less certain future.