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Ch.4′s Peck Has No Second Thoughts

Paul Peck: Was Aware Murphy Might Leave

Inquiring minds want to know: Would Channel 4 sports reporter-anchor Paul Peck have stayed at the station to become sports director if it became known that John Murphy was also leaving the station? Would he reconsider now that Murphy is leaving?

During a telephone interview Monday night, Peck said the answers are ”no” and “no.”

The questions I’ve been asked recently wrongly presupposed that Peck didn’t know that Murphy was leaving before the sports backup first announced he was exiting  the station to work in the financial services industry.

 “He had given some indications that he was considering some options,” said Peck of Murphy.. “My decision (to leave) wasn’t based on that possibility (of becoming No. 1 after Murphy left). It was based on other factors I’ve talked about, the opportunity that was presented and the chance to do something different. I didn’t hesitate at all (to leave).”

Channel 4 officials also were aware that Murphy might leave when Peck told them he was leaving. Did they ask Peck to reconsider so the station would at least have one of its experienced sportscasters left?

“I made it clear that I was committed to what I was going to do,” said Peck. He agreed to stay until almost the end of this month. Murphy is expected to leave at the end of May.  

Speaking of Murphy, the radio voice of the Buffalo Bills will be on Channel 4 for about two more months before he joins the National Football League team full-time and does a radio show on WGR focused on the team.

That raises a couple of journalistic issues. How can Murphy cover the Bills during the NFL Draft this month objectively when he is about to be a full-time employee of the team? How critical can he be?

Well, that ship has sailed. As the Bills voice, Murphy never was very critical of the team on Channel 4 anyway. It isn’t an ideal lame-duck situation, but his hiring by the Bills is extremely unlikely to change how he handles his TV duties and viewers are aware of it

Besides, Channel 4 already established a precedent on a more serious conflict when it allowed reporter Lorey Schultz to remain at the station for a few weeks after she agreed to take a job in Mayor Brown’s administration.

The second question about Murphy’s plans concerns whether WGR radio – which has talk show hosts who have been extremely critical of the Bills during their extended playoff drought – will soften its criticism now that it is the radio home of Bills broadcasts.

At the very least, Murphy’s nightly radio show should balance all the negativity that listeners have come to expect from morning and afternoon talk show hosts. But I can’t see Jeremy White, Howard Simon, Mike Schopp and Chris Parker going completely soft on the Bills if they don’t live up to heightened expectations this fall.

Inquiring minds also want to know if WBBZ’s schedule of New York Yankees games will be carried in high definition this season as promised by station owner Phil Arno last season.

Bob Koshinski, the executive in charge of production and promotion for WBBZ, said the plan is to carry them in HD. He added: “But our engineer is still working on a receiver issue with the provider and we should know in a day or two what the outcome of that will be.” The first game on the station is a week from today.

Channel 2 won two New York State Emmy awards over the weekend. Reporter Michael Wooten won for a report on fracking. Reporter Scott Brown (with photographer Scott May) won his ninth Emmy in eight years for a story on a 17-year Lancaster boy born with Spina bifida who was on the gold medal U.S. Sled Hockey team at the Paralympics in Vancouver.


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5 responses to "Ch.4′s Peck Has No Second Thoughts"

  1. P says:

    Did Lorey Schultz cover any stories involving Brown during her last few weeks at the station? If not, I don’t think there was any conflict of interest — but I genuinely don’t know what she covered because I was working in another state at the time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending Channel 4. Just curious.

    I find it a little amusing how everyone’s piling on Channel 4. Most of the criticism is fair and accurate… but I just wonder how it’s perceived from station management. Either they’re totally clueless… or incredibly irritated as the rest of the WNY media gossips gleefully about how far the mighty have fallen.

    I wonder why everyone seems so happy to dismiss 4 as a sinking ship with little chance of salvation. If Channel 2 has a period of, say, 3-5 years of clear dominance, will everyone be so excited their downfall? Is it a case of being the biggest target because you’re on top… or is it something related to Channel 4 specifically? What was the reaction when 7 started going down?

  2. Rob says:

    A response to P while wondering where in the world is Stewart Dan:

    Great point on Lori Schultz and to add to that; Scott Brown has been back on the air since leaving a political job so does that make for a conflict of interest as well? It’s not like either one of these two have an influence on what gets aired and from what perspective.

    Everyone is piling on 4 because I don’t think we have seen this mass an exodus from so many in such a short time. Station management, or their bosses, must be living in a cave to not know how this has negatively impacted their ratings and reputation currently.

    I would have to disagree on people being happy that 4 is a sinking ship with little chance of salvation. If WGRZ can rise from the ashes after a generational number three station to its status today than anything can rebound. I don’t think people would be excited to see WGRZ have a downfall at all. I think people like you and I are just stunned that people in management get paid to make decisions that don’t pass any sanity test while it’s clear to viewers what the right moves are. We are seeing a shrinking commodity right before our eyes called broadcast news

  3. Gman says:

    In these times, I see no need for a local sports anchor. Most local sports reporting is stale at best. If I want a sports score, my smartphone is readily available. I truly see the day when local newscasts will no longer be 1/2 hr programs. No need or them anymore, with more and more TV’s becoming Internet ready.

    • Mark Scott says:

      I strongly disagree with you, Gman. By your logic, why do we even need TV newscasts? I learn most of my breaking news by surfing news websites. Rarely am I learning about a story on the 6:00 news unless it’s breaking at that time. I watch TV news for interviews with the newsmakers and to see video of the news event. The same holds true for the sports. Yes, I know the score. But I tune in to hear player interviews and to see game highlights once again. Plus, I enjoy hearing the sportscasters perspective. You could argue player interviews and video highlights are on the Web. And I would respond that I’d rather watch on my big TV screen as opposed to my 7 inch tablet. So, I would say sports remains an important part of local TV sportscasts.

  4. buk says:

    Just thinking back to when Lin Brodcasting showed their disdain for viewers by pulling their signal from TWC. Poor management decisions then….. Like nothing’s changed. I still don’t watch their newscasts.

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