Last week, the on-air news staff headed by anchor Tom Morrison said goodbye. Yesterday, Kevin Wing, the station's news director whom the mayors named as interim executive director last November also left. For the first time in 20 years, there's no television news station or service covering the Tri-Valley. Of course, some live programs will continue, including the council meetings in the four cities, several local school board meetings and the "Mayors Report." The weekend sports roundup by Ian Bartholomew and George Baljevich will still air on Fridays and Saturdays, but not weekdays. "Conversations," a talk show with former news anchor Robin Fahr, has moved to the "Live at 4" time slot. San Ramon Regional Hospital's popular "Ask the Doctor" call-in show has been cancelled.
Perhaps the biggest loss for TV30 is Wing, himself. A creative, talented writer and producer, he has an eye for news and had dispatched reporters and camera crews to key events in the Tri-Valley that the San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose stations ignored. Having worked at those stations, he knows the mindset of big city news producers who focus on population centers, major business districts and metropolitan arts, theater and events. It takes the Castlewood murders or a fiery crash on the Sunol Grade to move reporters and broadcast equipment to our area. Add to this the staff reductions at the two regional daily newspapers here, and it's clear, as Wing points out, that the print editions and Web sites of the Pleasanton Weekly, Danville Weekly and our group's newest print and online publication, Tri Valley Views, have increased opportunities and responsibilities to cover and report on all aspects of news and features in the Valley. We're also moving more rapidly into video news reports as part of our online editions.
Of course, for the four cities that can collectively spend a quarter-million-dollars on any number of services and "things," the $63,000 it would have cost each city to keep TV30 news on the air seems almost insignificant. Sadly, though, there's been little interest. The cities, mayors, and we here at the Weekly have received few phone calls, emails or letters moaning the loss of TV30 news. None of the four-city mayors went to TV30 studios last week for the farewell broadcast and somber party that followed. Wing planned to turn out the lights at the station's small studio behind the Pleasanton school district headquarters last night and head to his home in Danville. Fortunately, however, ABC News has been watching, and has hired Wing to start handling Northern California news assignments for the network in mid-July. I wish him well.