The unthinkable is about to happen! While I was in Danville a couple of weeks ago getting a therapeutic phlebotomy for my hemochromatosis, a young lady with a camera and a microphone asked me if she could ask me a few questions, that is… if I didn’t mind being on camera. I told her I thought I could do it, so she clipped a mic on me and rolled tape. Actually, they don’t “roll tape” anymore, but the expression is still used… ok… I still use the expression. Anyway, she’s doing a story for WDBJ7 on the area’s critical shortage of blood and after the interview, being the humble and shy person that I am, I asked when the segment would be on TV.
“Might be 4pm, or 5pm, definitely 6pm, and possibly 11pm” she said.
“Sheesh!” I exclaimed! “Do you guys do anything other than local news anymore?”
“Of course,” she says, “but you’re right, we’re all doing more local news these days.”
“Well, nothing’s coming in the way of Andy Griffith at 5:30pm” I say with a confident air.
She looks at me with a cracked smile and says, “There’s going to be a log of angry people when our contract runs out.”
“Contracts,” I thought. “She’s just saying that.” Not long after the Andy Griffith show ended, WDBJ7 started running reruns at 5:30pm in the afternoon. Right before their 6pm newscast. Which is why, I always thought, they had the most-watched local newscast in the region. Can’t beat that Andy Griffith. And no-way are they not going to renew that contract!
Well, they didn’t. Sort of. WDBJ now has a second channel. Since October of last year, they also have WZBJ. So, the plan is to go full local news on WDBJ from 4pm to 6:30pm and play nothing but Andy on WZBJ from 5pm to 7pm.
I’m sure they’ve analyzed this thing to death and have it all figured out, but personally, I’d rather watch Andy at 5:30pm, local news at 6pm, national news at 6:30pm and then I’m done. Instead, you give me 2 ½ hours of local news on one channel and 2 hours of Andy on another. That’s too much of both. I don’t want to watch that much of either.
“Oh sure,” you say. “Why don’t you watch a half-hour of Andy at 5:30pm and then a half-hour of local news on WDBJ at 6pm?”
Surely I could, but I suppose I’ll just watch Andy when I feel like it from now on. I think I have most of them recorded anyway, and I’ll catch the local news when there’s something going on.
Too many choices, too much of everything, all the time or as they say at WDBJ, “This is a logical progression for Your Hometown Station.”
(For those interested in a little broadcast history, the new WZBJ is actually the old WBTM-TV of Danville. In my lifetime, it has become WDRG, WDRL, WEFC, WTLU, WFFP, and now WZBJ.)