Chez Pazienza best known on the internets as the CNN producer fired for blogging without CNN’s permission has written a rather long and quite scathing commentary on who and what caused WTVJ to fail and the station’s sale to Post-Newsweek.
Chez is a South Florida native and worked in various capacities at WSVN, WPLG and WTVJ until 2000.
If you’ve read DeusExMalcontent you know when it comes to criticizing the media, or anything, he’s not holding back. Below some excerpts. You can read Into Thin Air yourself here
On the deal:
This is a business deal in every possible connotation, and with the harsh reality of that firmly in mind, the only logical and cost-effective move WPLG’s management has is to completely dismantle WTVJ’s newsroom and sell syndicated programming to advertisers in the space where the station’s newscasts once ran.
This makes the most sense. It’s what’s most likely to happen. And it’s fucking criminal.
On WTVJ’s demise
When I left WTVJ to move to Los Angeles in 2000, the entire organization was preparing to relocate to a new state-of-the-art facility that would put it leaps and bounds ahead of its competitors in terms of technology. The future didn’t just look bright for the station, which was consistently placing at or near the top of the ratings; it seemed as if the very best days of its storied tenure were ahead of it. What wound up happening, however, could literally be written up as a how-to manual for those curious about the most effective means of running a television operation right into the ground: Arrogance trumped execution; a seemingly incompetent general manager — a woman named Ardy Diercks — was hired and began making one inexplicable decision after another; true journalists were trampled underfoot or let go altogether while pretty faces were pampered; opportunities were squandered; morale plummeted in conjunction with falling ratings and the feeling that the station’s glory days were fading into the collective rearview mirror; as it so often does, failure bred failure. In the words of a fellow ex-employee of WTVJ — a former co-worker of mine — the station died years ago, it just took this long for someone to finally put it in the ground.
On WPLG GM David Boylan
On the front line anyway, Boylan is in charge of facilitating Post-Newsweek’s takeover of WTVJ. His official title is Vice President and General Manager of WPLG, which to all but the most inherently distrusting betrays nothing of the pitch black reality of who Dave Boylan is, what his responsibilities are, and the legacy of scorched earth that he’s left in his wake as he’s honed his reputation for being one of the most admirably skilled corporate hatchet men in the business of local TV. Boylan represents, quite frankly, everything that’s wrong with, and utterly deplorable about, today’s television industry — all wrapped up in one slick, discomforting package. If you could figure out a way to slap a threateningly charming Cheshire grin on a locust — or any creature which travels from place to place, consuming every resource the locals hold dear, then moving on — you’d have Boylan. What’s worse, he and those who think like him stand as the unavoidable future of market-level media.