Rumors have been swirling the last few weeks that Strickland was leaving the station. He had not been at the station during that time.
In the memo, Strickland cited the job was affecting his family, life and personal relationships.
"Dave Strickland is one of the country's greatest news directors and a friend for life," former KTRK 13 Undercover reporter Wayne Dolcefino told mikemcguff.com. "He supported my investigative reporting until the very end. He was the brainchild behind the kind of in-depth aggressive news coverage Channel 13 used to be known for. I know my colleagues are devastated as they watch what is happening to a once great television institution."
Strickland was news director for 14 years. He started at KTRK as an intern, worked his way up to sports producer, then news producer. In between his KTRK time, Strickland was news director of WAVY-TV 10 Norfolk, Virginia.
"I hired Dave out of college after he interned for me in sports at 13," former KTRK sports director Bob Allen told mikemcguff.com. "I'm proud of him for turning into a terrific news director. It was an honor to work for and with him at 13. It's a big loss for them. The best news director they ever had, and I worked for all but 2 of them. He'll find out as I did that change can be good. And like me, probably be much happier. MUCH happier."
KTRK general manager Henry Florsheim sent a staff email thanking Strickland for his service and recounting all of the advances Strickland made to the station during his tenure.
No interim news director has been named.
For those not in Houston, Strickland or "Strick" as he was called in the newsroom, was the longest serving news director in the market currently. If you read my blog with any regularity, you will see news directors at other stations come and go every few years. KTRK on the other hand, has had a consistent management team for a very long time. This probably means more changes will be on the way.
On a personal note, Strickland hired me into his news department in 2001. I learned a lot about television under his leadership. He was a tough, but fair boss. He expected you to work and do a good job. In this public forum, I would like to thank him for the opportunities he gave me.
Here is part of the nice email that GM Henry Floresheim sent to the staff about Strickland:
It’s almost impossible for me to express the impact Dave Strickland has had on Eyewitness News over the nearly decade and a half he has served as News Director. During his tenure, he’s overseen the greatest and most rapid expansion of news programming in the station’s existence. He has guided coverage of unique once in a decade -- or even once in a career -- news events and has helped positioned Eyewitness News for the future as we evolved from analog tape to HD to digital news production.
Dave’s tenure covers a highlight reel of the top news events in Houston and around the country/world. He arrived just in time for Tropical Storm Allison. He directed coverage for the station and the Station Group during Hurricanes Rita and Ike. He dispatched crews to New York on 9/11 and sent reporters and photographers to Kuwait and Iraq to cover the War. He watched one Texas Governor run and become President and a second fail to go to the White House. Dave put us live in Chicago when the Nation elected President Obama and shivered with the Houstonians on the Mall when President Obama took the oath. Dave witnessed the first Houston Texans football game, the Astros first World Series appearance, and the birth of the Dynamo. Under Dave’s direction, Eyewitness News was live in Rome for the selection of two Popes, in Mexico and Cuba for Papal visits and in London for a Royal Wedding.
When Dave returned to ABC 13 in early 2000, the first newscast started the day at 5:00 am. There was a half hour newscast that played coming out of a Soap at 11:30 am and Sally Jessie Raphael at 4:00 pm led into the 5:00 pm newscast. On weekend mornings, news ended at 7:00 am so the station could clear kids programming; and no station produced one hour late news on Saturday or Sunday evening. Amazingly, Dave has overseen the creation of an additional sixteen and half hours of news a week.
Dave led the surge through the alphabet as we moved from iNews to ENPS to Ignite. Today we Tweet and post on Facebook and live shots move around the World on 3 and 4G Networks.
Perhaps most importantly, Dave has connected with all of us at the station. He stood in the newsroom at 2:00 am dealing with the latest crisis. On far too many occasions, Dave was the first at the ER to help a colleague in stress. Over the years, he has touched all parts of KTRK-TV -- hiring new team members, directing coverage, and lending support to other departments around the building. I’ve come to rely heavily on his even-tempered approach and sound advice.
As he steps down, I can’t thank him enough for everything he has done for the station, the members of Eyewitness News and the support he has given the rest of the building. Please join me in wishing Dave the best in his future endeavors.
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