To be honest, I don’t know. What I do know is that my old station, WYOU-TV22 in Scranton, Pa broadcast it’s final newscast on April 3, 2009. Reported in the Scranton Times-Tribune The station was in an untenable situation. It was Obestensibly owned by Mission Broadcasting which hired Nexstar to operate the station. Not unusual, except for the fact that WYOU was the CBS affiliate in the market and Nexstar owned the NBC affiliate, WBRE. Mission/Nexstar ripped the heart out of the station and then wondered why it died.
I’m now a piece of history.
It’s a travesty. I worked there in the 80′s when WDAU/WYOU was rebounding from some extreme downtime. We had owners who were involved, and invested and a broadcasting company. Unfortunately the market went from three locally owned affiliates to three owned by investors. Outsiders only worried about the bottom line. Technically Nexstar didn’t own WYOU, it operated it under agreement with Mission Broadcasting. (an argument could be made that they were one in the same.) Mission stripped it down, sold off the building, cut staff down to basically my buddy Dave DeCosmo one cameraman and leased news services from Nexstar which owns the NBC affilliate in the same market. They broadcast out of the same house. Heck, for several years the morning and noon newscast were one and the same, they never mentioned call letters or a station ID.
Scranton Broadcasters, owned by the Megargee family signed the station on way back when, first as WGBI TV then WDAU. They had a deal to sell it that required a move to a downtown location. The station began in the basement of Scranton Prepratory High School. Once they moved, the deal fell through and Scranton Broadcasters stopped investing in the station. A station that had once been the dominant force in the market. Keystone Broadcasters bought the station when I worked there. They invested, got us some more people, better equipment ( I could tell harrowing stories about the gear, but that’s another post) and turned around and sold the station, tripling their money, if I remember correctly. Diversified Communications, a broadcast group bought the station. It owned several others but WDAU was it’s largest market. They changed the called letters to WYOU and invested heavily. They brought in more staff, some very good talent to augment what was already there, a helicopter and the first Satellite News Truck in the market, Spacelink22. DC was a family company and from what I understand they decided to sell off some assets and WYOU was on.
A bit more history
The station I worked for ceased existing when Diversifed sold to Mission Broadcasting. There was no building, no studio, no staff, no ratings. The “Interactive” format they went to in recent years sounds good on paper, but it was just a ruse, a coverup for the fact they had no staff and no content.
Tom Powell was the anchorman who lead WDAU to it’s number one position. He was the news director who hired me. I learned a lot from him. At the time I didn’t realize what an impact he had on my writing and reporting style. I know TP, as we called him, is spinning in his grave. TP had been offered a gig with CBS network when they saw him at those hearings, but he opted to stay local.
This “duopoly” is one of the root causes of the problems in the industry today. They get around FCC regulations, cut to the bone and only worry about return on their investment. that’s not a bad thing, if you do it the right way. When I worked there we were part of the community, Charity softball and basketball games, hosting auctions etc. Now it’s a bunch of out of town carpetbaggers with a scorch and burn mentality.
RIP Newscene22, News22 WDAU?WYOU.
Yes the times are changing, television news must adapt, just as newspapers must adapt to this new paradigm, but it cannot let that get in the way of community, and the basics of journalism.
As an addendum they had a huge film library going back to when the station went on the air. Where is it now? probably disintegrating in some dark corner of the building on Franklin Street in Wilkes-Barre, or already in a landfill.