Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sad Day for Local TV News: Two Industry Vets Depart Los Angeles

"Stay sexy, Los Angeles!"

I can't quite wrap my head around it: After nearly three decades here in Los Angeles as a top anchor -- on KTTV Fox 11, and before that, KNBC 4 -- John Beard is leaving Los Angeles to do a morning news show in Buffalo.

Sorry, John, but considering considering some of the recent hires in our market, that's unacceptable. We need you here, more than ever.

But alas, our loss is Buffalo's gain. Beard explains the move on his website:

Beginning September 14th I’ll be anchoring the 5-7 and 11 am newscasts at WGRZ-TV in Buffalo. The station has a progressive management team in place that believes in professional news coverage and community service, that was the most important selling point.

In all honesty, my salary is much less than it was in LA…but it’s never been about the money for me, it was always about being involved in a newscast that I was proud of…and that’s a feeling I haven’t had for a long time.

Beard, who spent an early part of his career in Buffalo, said he has still has good friends there, and is looking forward to a change in lifestyle (not to mention the seasons).

MEANWHILE, IT'S ALSO depressing to see the departure of news director Bob Long from KNBC, which had become a bit more hard news-centric under his run. There was a period of time where Long even banned car chases, that L.A. staple, from the station.

But according to KNBC general manager Craig Robinson, Long had always planned to retire in 2009, and will now embark on a teaching adventure in Turkey:

He is leaving on October 1st to teach a semester of journalism ethics at Bahçeşehir University on the Bosphorus, the legendary waterway that divides Europe and Asia in Istanbul, Turkey.

Those of us who have worked with Bob are members of a small and privileged club. Trying to explain the gift of this experience to someone who hasn't is nearly impossible. He taught us something new every day, and every morsel was accompanied by laughter and humor. I had the rare chance to work with him twice and I don't take that privilege lightly.

Bob's professional acknowledgements include numerous Golden Mikes, Emmys and Edward R. Murrow Awards as well as a 2005 Peabody Award for broadcast excellence. These awards speak to his journalistic accomplishments; just as notable is how good he made you feel about doing your job every day. Long was on the cutting edge of digital technology and program content development when he launched “News Raw” on KNBC’s Digital Channel in 2005.

Long's resume included stints at KCOP, KCBS and KNBC in the 1990s; he left for Washington's WRC in 1999 before returning to KNBC in 2003.

KNBC hasn't yet announced Long's replacement.

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