I found it really interesting that CBS News anchor Russ Mitchell was making the break back to local TV, signing on with WKYC Cleveland January 16.
Not that there’s anything wrong with Cleveland in the dead of winter, or shifting to a TV station. I just couldn’t think of a recent example of a high profile network anchor moving to a station. (By all means, let me know if there’s one I’m not thinking of.)
WKYC is an NBC affiliate that’s owned by Gannett. Other owners in DMA No. 18 include Fox Local TV (which has leader WJW), Raycom and Scripps.
WKYC GM Brooke Spectorsky told me it was, in part, a family decision for Mitchell, who put in 20 years at the network. Mitchell said as much in an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
“I’ve been thinking about going back to local television for a few years,” Mitchell said. “It’s been a great run at CBS, but I miss the pulse of a local newsroom, and, being from the Midwest, I miss being part of a community. But I wasn’t going to go just anywhere. Cleveland reminds me a great deal of the city where I grew up, and I’m looking forward to bringing my family because I think we’re going to have a really good life there.”
Mitchell replaces Romona Robinson on the KYC anchor desk. He gets a fancy title in Cleveland; besides anchor for the 6 and 11 p.m., Mitchell will be “managing editor of evening news.”
Spectorsky said he wants Mitchell directly, and wholly, involved in the news process.
“I didn’t want to hire a reader. I wanted someone who’s engaged in the product,” says Spectorsky. “I want him to have real authority other than being the anchor.”