Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Power Of Two

OMW hears that yet another local TV type is about to leave his station, due to a contract non-renewal.

We hear that Scripps Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS/5 "NewsChannel 5" weather forecaster Jeff Mackel will exit the station soon, after the station declined to renew his contract.

We don't know when Mackel's last day is, but as our subject header hints, his exit will leave the station's weather department with just two forecasters - Mark Johnson and Jason Nicholas.

WEWS made a similar move in the sports department recently...declining to renew the contract of sports reporter/anchor Sue Ann Robak, which also left that part of the "NewsChannel 5" operation with just two on-air members...sports director Andy Baskin, and anchor/reporter Terry Brooks.

We understand the timing of contracts, but this would appear to be a particularly bad time to reduce your weather staff to two people watching over that "Power of 5" radar. It's been a fairly calm spring for severe weather in Northeast Ohio, but that can change in a hurry here.

And with the station's focus on, umm, "disruptive" weather, it'll stretch Johnson and Nicholas to the limit. "NewsChannel 5" is not the kind of operation that sits by and watches when severe weather breaks out. And unlike in its sports department, WEWS offers weather segments in all newscasts, including mornings.

OK, so Mark Johnson, especially, seems to enjoy seems to us that he's disappointed if he's not pointing out a funnel cloud north of Mansfield, or a big storm system in Chicago that has Northeast Ohio "under the gun" in a few hours.

But unlike the other day, when the station deployed both Jason Nicholas and Jeff Mackel on "Good Morning Cleveland" when that storm system in Chicago headed for Cleveland, the move means we're certainly not likely to see two forecasters on the air on "NewsChannel 5" at the same time...


Anonymous said...

Perhaps this is why Channel 5 bucked the trend of its two primary competitors about having a digital sub-channel dedicated to weather, with snippets from the on-air personalities.

Andrew said...

Holy Mackeral is all I can say! That's a shame to see him go. I actually liked the guy because he wasn't off the wall with the weather like Mark Johnson. The higher-ups at WEWS probably said he didn't scare enough people during severe weather, so they were obligated to give him the boot...just my theory;-)

andrew727 said...

Chances are it was an economic and ratings move. A lot of stations are trying to cut staff to the bone - I survived the ax three times at GCC Communications. Perhaps the worst day I ever witnessed is walking into the newsroom at WERE NewsTalk 1300 and seeing five or six news support people sitting on their hands and not looking too happy - found out the axe fell about an hour before I came in for afternoon drive. My time ended over a contract disbute with George Oliva III. I survived, but others kind of fell apart, some went on to other fields and others were able to find new radio gigs. Its possible that WEWS TV 5 may come to the realization that having only two weather people won't cut it and hire a third weather forecaster. Don Webster and Mark Kuntz were a two-man team for awhile, and they handled it. However, that was then and this is now.

- Andrew, -