I see the Buffalo News is getting much faster confirming media stories that are first broken in stilltalkintv.
In the past, it took days, weeks or months to report on stories broken here like Marissa Bailey leaving Channel 2, Melissa Holmes leaving Channel 4 for Channel 2, Channel 2 sports director Ed Kilgore losing his 11 p.m. anchor slot and many others too numerous to mention. At least today.
In only took about five hours Monday for the News to confirm what this blog first reported: That Channel 4 sports anchor and reporter Paul Peck was leaving the station after almost a quarter century to work in the financial services industry. My story also noted that Peck would continue as the play-by-play man of the University at Buffalo football team.
The News story didn’t say what it was confirming. In the old days, journalists routinely credited where stories were reported first. Excuse me, that isn’t the old days. It is still done now out of professional courtesy. Just head to Twitter and you’ll see credit given when it is deserved.
I think I should at least get a finder’s fee from The News for the stories that local stations don’t want reported. The paper is real good at reporting the stories the stations announce. (Didn’t you love the story about Channel 4′s high definition set?)
But that’s enough about me and this site. Now on to Peck, the latest veteran to leave Channel 4. He’s a classy guy and undoubtedly wants a dignified exit. When he confirmed my report from sources Monday afternoon, the Syracuse University graduate admitted it was tough to leave a job he has had for 24 years.
“It’s been my life for a long time,” said Peck. “I’m taking this leap of faith in this new job. I’m excited. I gave it a lot of thought. It is definitely the right time and it’s a wonderful opportunity to pursue.”
Here’s what Peck wouldn’t say. That Channel 4 has devalued sports coverage to the point that it has news anchors and reporters with little or no sports expertise anchor sports reports when Peck or Sports Director John Murphy are unavailable. That Channel 4’s sports staff has been cut in half – from six to three – in a little more than two years. That pay cuts are the norm at Channel 4 because its owner, LIN Media, believes that anchors and reporters are overpaid in Buffalo. According to sources, Peck already took one pay cut and was asked to take another.
News veterans in their mid-50s and early 60s are hanging on in the industry despite the pay cuts. People in their late 40s like Peck (who is 46) and younger have come to the conclusion that it might be difficult to support their families in the news business they love so they look for alternatives.
Peck is joining the same Williamsville firm, AXA Advisors, that former Channel 7 reporter Steve Barber joined after leaving the media. I’m told that Barber has since moved on to another firm.
The point is that many TV stations — even those in a sports mad city like Buffalo – no longer value the expertise of their sportscasters and think anyone can be do it.
So you can’t blame Peck – who is married and has two children — for taking a job in an industry where expertise is still valued to support his family.
In an email to this blog, Channel 4 General Manager Chris Musial said Peck told him that “quality of life” issues were a big reason for his departure. “He missed a lot of time on weekends with his daughters and wife as they were growing up and he doesn’t want to miss out as they grow through their teen years,” wrote Musial. He added there will be a “quick search” to replace Peck.
“Quality of life” issues may have been part of the reason that Peck left, but sportscasters have sports in their blood and their family members know that. The bigger reasons for his departure are spelled out above in this blog.
A few hours before his departure was reported here, Peck accepted an award from Medaille College as sportscaster of the year. As he accepted the award, he said he thought about receiving it as he prepared to leave TV a few days after having so much fun working on the Bills signing of free agent Mario Williams.
“I did think of the irony,” said Peck of receiving the award. “It does look a little bizarre. I guess I owe (the chairman of the Medaille communication department) a telephone call.”