Bay City Television to Cease Operations

By Joe Nelson

   I will be straight forward with you here. I received this notice much earlier today. I held onto it until now.

   My reasons? With it affecting so many people. Hard working people, I wanted all the staff and their families fully aware and not reading it in a column. While I do strive to get you the information first, in situations such as this I cannot allow myself to potentially hurt anyone. Now that I see it is on social media, I can share it now. Having said that, here are some words from the GM of CW 6 Chuck Dunning:

"Lesslye and I returned from meetings with top corporate management last night. As anticipated, we now have the future direction for Bay City we can share.

I wish I had better news. Our corporate ownership has decided that the Channel Six signal and transmission facilities will be used to re-transmit their Channel Nine network effective 12:01am on May 31st. After 64 years, Bay City Television will cease operations.

As we transition to our closing, we will discontinue News programming at the conclusion of our 10pm show on Friday, March 31st. The majority of positions here will end at that time. There will be a small staff retained between March 31st and May 30th to operate the station. We will be communicating with each of you over the next few days.

There are no words that can express my sadness at having to send this email. Senior management and I worked very hard to offer alternative scenarios in the post CW world but corporate has made their decision.

I had a competitor comment recently that we lasted much longer than people thought we would. The reason for that is you, and others that were here in the post-Fox era. We only lived because of your blood, sweat and tears. You produced 43 hours per week of local news on a shoestring budget, understaffed, and with a challenging infrastructure. The many Emmy Awards you won are testament to your peers acknowledging how good you really are in spite of the challenges.

We lived because we had engineers that could perform miracles with duct tape and paper clips 24/7. We had production staff that believed the show will go no matter what. We had a sales department that continually gained a higher share of revenue than Nielsen said they should. We had dedicated people that gave up their nights and weekends to make sure CW6 was in the community. Everyone coped with aging systems and short staffing that challenged you every day. But the job got done. And done well.

As I reflect back on the last 9 years, I'm reminded of something Dan Fouts (Hall of Fame SAN DIEGO Chargers quarterback) said of the Air Coryell era. "We never lost a game. Sometimes the clock just ran out. "
The same can be said for Bay City.

I sincerely hope for each of you that this setback turns into a new opportunity and leads you to even greater things.

What we do over the next 60 days will say a lot about our character. We didn't quietly fade away after Fox and we shouldn't now. This is our chance to try new things. Experiment. Shout. Make the other stations glad they don't have to compete with us after March. We are not going to close the door gently. We're going to slam it.

My door is open. But, I will also be out and around. Happy to talk, answer questions, reminisce, bitch. Whatever.

We didn't lose. The clock just ran out."


Anonymous said…
I am very sad to hear this and was surprised that with the good JOURNALISTS on the air the news will be gone. Not to dis others, but there are just too many talking heads and pretty faces on other shows. Hey, I'm old (63) and I've lived here all my life and I remember what tv news used to be. I just hope the people we've considered our "tv friends" will find new homes locally, but as cheap as stations seem to be, I fear not.
Most of my husband's favorite shows are CW ones and I'm also concerned about where they will end up.
Too much history on 6. Hate to see it go!
Dave Mason said…
Cheers for Bay City Television are turning into tears for San Diego viewers. We're losing another potential signal on TV. Consolidation in media hasn't really helped the situation much. It was a business decision to change XETV -that we can understand. The people being turfed are, just like those who went before them into the land of unemployment, unfortunate victims of a very confusing media landscape. Digital TV gives some stations the chance to expand-at the expense of others. Unfortunately-unless another San Diego station decides to expand its news operation, we're going to lose again. CW moving to a digital sub-channel of KFMB isn't the big deal. The loss of another journalistic outlet for local news IS a big deal.

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