Well, it’s an interesting day back in my old home, the Tri-Cities market. Not a lot has changed there in the media landscape, until now. Today, the parent company that employs me and Greg, Media General, announced that they have secured an agreement with ABC to take over the affiliation from WKPT, owned by George DeVault and Holston Valley Broadcasting as of February 1st, 2016. It will operate on WJHL and be on Channel 11.2 as of that date.
WKPT-TV has been with ABC since it signed on the air for the first time on August 20, 1969. Prior to that, you were lucky to see ABC programs at all on any station in the area. Either WJHL or WCYB had to air them, and more than likely they were at odd times to keep the pristine time slots for more popular CBS or NBC shows, respectively.
The Kingsport Times-News is reporting that WKPT-TV will no longer do local news after the move. My heart hurts for all of the people in their news and production departments that will be losing their jobs (more than likely) at the end of the month.
I totally did not think this is how this would go down in that market. Greg and I have discussed in the past that if WKPT-TV would ever want to become a major player in that market, they would have to be bought out completely by some other entity, seeming as how Bonten or Media General would be restricted from doing so. Quite honestly, the production value of the news that they were doing left a lot to be desired, but then again, on the probably minuscule budget that they had, you can only do so much. They were lucky they had anything at all. It goes without saying that a company with the resources and the diversity to be a major player could have made a third newscast competitive in that market.
Let’s face it folks, the era of Mom-and-Pop Broadcasters has come to a sad end. Conglomerates have been and will continue to be the way of the future. It’s sad it had to end this way for a small town station in the market I grew up in, but given the realities of today’s world… I’m not surprised, not in the slightest.