Wednesday, November 21, 2007
WTVR, WWBT to Switch Owners
Big news that I just read last night-- my old TV station-- my HOME STATION WTVR-TV in Richmond is being sold.
This picture was taken in the 1980s when I was an intern (Summer 1989). But, you can see the old WTVR newsroom-- Martha Quinsenberry (spelling?) producing a newscast behind me. I was just finishing my freshman year at Howard University when I got this internship.
As reported in the Richmond Times-Dispatch earlier this month, Montgomery, Ala.-based Raycom Media is purchasing my former competitor, WWBT-TV, which is being sold by Lincoln Financial Corp.
This shot taken in the 21st century shows the Channel 6 set today-- as part of the Raycom Media family.
This might not mean a lot to most people-- even those from Richmond, Va. or IN Richmond, Va. Fifteen years ago (when I was employed at WTVR, the CBS affiliate) if you had told me that we would be up for sale and our arch competitor was going to be bought by our parent company, I would not have believed it.
But, it's a different day and different time. In 1992, there was a passion at the South's First Television Station that perhaps is not there now. In those days, Elliott Wiser was the news director and as tough of a boss as he was, we REALLY competed with our friends/rivals at Channel 12.
Nowadays, when I go home and watch Channel 6, I don't see that same passion. Perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps I've gotten the "big head" after working in larger markets in Cincinnati (WLWT from 1993 to 1995) and Atlanta (WXIA from 1995 to 2000).
Nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprised to read on the Alabama Broadcasters Association weekly e-mail about Raycom Media's decision to purchase WWBT-TV from Lincoln Financial, the latest owner of what were Jefferson-Pilot TV stations, WBT-TV (Charlotte) and WWBT-TV in Richmond.
Hey, it makes sense-- WWBT is s dominant number-one station... in part because of its stable talent. After I left the Richmond market (and sometimes when I was there), my own parents became faithful WWBT-12 News viewers. So, if you own folks don't watch your station, it's no wonder that it becomes a less valuable property.
What will be interesting to watch is WHO will buy WTVR. As the cliche goes, "ONLY TIME WILL TELL."