Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The "New" Morning News Anchor in Town

Local TV news is serious business in Cleveland. With ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC all having affiliates here, the competition for viewers is a very big deal. Every channel has news 4 times a day, an early slot (5:00 – 7:00 AM), noon (12:00 – 12:30 PM or 1:00 PM), late afternoon/early evening (anywhere between 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM), and evening (starting at 10:00 or 11:00 PM). Each has the requisite local and national news, weather, traffic, and “light” news segments.

It takes a lot for a local channel to stand out or be different, and grab viewers.

Recently, WKYC Channel 3 (owned by Gannet, and affiliated with NBC) made a change that seemed to take viewers by surprise. When John Anderson, long time morning news anchor, took his leave to anchor Good Morning Philadelphia for Fox29, the morning anchor slot became available. It was announced a short time later that Mark Nolan, chief meteorologist and weather forecaster, also with Channel 3, would make the leap to morning news anchor. (He'd now have to be awake long before 5:00 AM, the start of the show.)

It was a smart move for Mark. While weather is a big deal here in Cleveland, it hasn’t been a career path to the big time – or anything for that matter - since Al Roker left in 1983 to head to WNBC in New York City. (Al later went on to national fame on the Today show.) Weather people are virtually a dime a dozen in Cleveland, with most stations having several regulars on staff and a few waiting in the wings for temporary fill ins.

Mark was an adequate weather forecaster, but really shined when he hosted “Lake Erie Beyond the Surface”, a high definition series for WYKC. He exhibited good camera presence and his relaxed style was a perfect fit for the topic. Mark began his stint on the morning news show in early November. So far, he’s made a smooth transition to the anchor desk, along with his new co-anchor Abby Hamm. The measure of his success will be how well he can grab onto, and hold, ratings. It make take some time before we know the results.

Best of luck, Mark.

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