The faces of TV news in Seattle are changing. A lot.
It’s been a long time coming. As an experienced observer of this market for 40 years, I’ve seen ‘em come and I’ve seen ‘em go. In fact, at one time, I was one of those who went.
The sudden “retirement” of the King 5 Four (really, KING, one more and you could have had the perfect number) was a pretty obvious ploy to young-up their staff and hopefully, their audience. But, to me, that seems like flawed thinking.
You know what’s been going on in that industry. Fewer and fewer people turn to TV for their news. Younger viewers aren’t getting home at night and flipping on the evening news. Geeze, watch the NBC national news at 6 and you’ll see every laxative, high blood pressure medication and skin rash treatment known to mankind.
So, by flushing out the long-time familiar faces in a bulk retirement, viewers will now have the option to scatter or catch up with the world and stop watching the evening news all together. My wife and I are actually down to just occasional viewing, as there is so much negative news and killing that, by the time TV gets around to giving details, we already know them. Radio and online have already filled us in and we just don’t want to hear it all over again.
I’m positive this push out the door was a combination of long-term employee higher salaries and corporate pressure to trim the bottom line. I believe all four will continue to live in the area. They love Seattle, which is what kept them here all those years. When you see them, be sure to say “hi” and thank them for all they did.
I casually knew most, but like you, after inviting them into your home night after night for up to four decades, they feel like family. So now, the Home Team will actually be home.
A few words on each of the KING 5 Four:
Linda Byron–As an investigative reporter, she did her job and did it well. She was the driving force behind the investigation into Sono Bello years ago when S.B. was a client at the agency where I worked. Linda was relentless. I didn’t know her personally, but one of my life goal’s is to see her smile. Just once.
Jeff Renner–My morning show co-host, Bruce Murdock, was buddies with Jeff from his days at KING Broadcasting and we’d occasionally have him on the air. I talked with Jeff on the phone during those group conversations, but other than that, I didn’t really know him. He was Mr. Weather Guy, took it all very seriously and was just always there. It’ll be strange to not see him in the broadcasts anymore.
Dennis Bounds–I’ve met Dennis professionally, but we’ve chatted more via Facebook than in person. The only face-to-face I had with him was the time he read “Twas the night before Christmas” at our final Murdock, Hunter & Alice Show. He came all the way out to the Village Theater in Issaquah to read it on stage and for the live listening audience. As soon as the show was over, the radio station G.M. came backstage and told us our KLSY days were over. I never did get a chance to thank you, Dennis. For those who would like to hear his reading, just click here.
Jean Enersen–I actually have worked with Jean more than any of the others and even then, they were pretty much brief encounters. You’d have to go back to the KING radio days, when I was an intern from the University of Washington and she was the gorgeous blonde news anchor that was always dashing through the radio area. Later, I’m proud to say I got to co-host a couple of “Race for the Cure” events with her. Then, when I met Victoria, our paths at least crossed once because Jean is married to a guy named Bruce, who was the big guy at Zymogenetics where Victoria worked.
This Friday is the group’s final day with the company. They’ll make the break and I hope they make the most of it. If you guys need any tips, look up former KOMO news anchor Dan Lewis. That guy is a role model for retirement. Since he walked away, Dan has been enjoying every single day to the fullest. Hiking, spending time with his sons, going on road trips. I’ve seen him a couple of times since he called it good and he just beams.
Nothing more to say but thank you all for the tremendous effort and for setting such high standards for your successors.