Friday, July 25, 2014

KTRK abc13 news director Dave Strickland resigns

mikemcguff.com exclusive: After 14 years, KTRK abc13 news director Dave Strickland announces resignation

Dave Strickland
Dave Strickland
This afternoon, KTRK abc13 news director Dave Strickland announced to the staff in an email he is leaving the ABC owned station.

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.


Stay tuned to mikemcguff.com for more...




33 comments:

  1. Dave Strickland is a very smart guy. He paid close attention to the rapid changes in News technology in the past decade. Techies appreciated him.

    mike whatley

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  2. As long as they don't let go of Ilona Carson, i'll still watch.

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  3. "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."
    When I worked on the KTRK-TV Account back in the 70's and 80's, I remember the Wall Street Journal had an article on KTRK-TV as it was the "Most Profitable Television Station In The World". Sad to see that it is no where near that now.

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  4. He was and will always be a prick. Not a good guy, quit kissing his ass.

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  5. David, I've always been so prou d of you and for you. You are one of the few who really came up through the ranks and showed the rest of us Bearkats that news was an honorable profession, if we chose to keep it that way. I'm very sorry to see you go. I wish you the very best in life personally and professionally

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  6. Agree with above poster... What a bunch of ass kissers!! But then, that's the way the biz is... Kiss ass to whomever is in a hiring position no matter how big a prick lol...

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    1. Anonymous my name is Sherri Williams. You hide behind a fake name. Whatever Axe you have to grind is your own problem. I've never asked Dave for a job. You're the chicken shit prick IMHO. Just shut up no one cares.

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  7. Dave had his supporters and detractors. There were things 13 did very, very well under his direction, there were other things that were questionable. Regardless, he basically hired everyone in the newsroom (in front of the cameras and behind the scenes) except for Dave, Melanie, Tom Koch, & Don Nelson. Regardless of who replaces him, his shadow will be long.

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    1. There will be a new ass to kiss, and Dave will be yesterdays mashed potatoes in two days.

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  8. I am sure that Dave had some deep Disney contacts, so the rumors that Disney is selling all the owned and operated ABC stations just grew. If this turns out to be true--look out for these Corporation broadcasters...they are only here to make a profit and could care less about anything local.

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  9. Anon, wondering if Disneyland sells the ABC-owned stations, will they undergo changing logos, etc., ?

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  10. "He supported my investigative reporting until the very end."
    "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."

    It sounds like he's trashing his "friend for life" in each of these statements.

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    Replies
    1. That's Wayne for you!

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  11. I have been told that Disney really doesn't see any future in owing a local stations, that model really never worked for them. They make movies and produce TV shows, that is not the same thing as selling advertising and producing local content, now that locals do mostly news, Disney wants to get rid of the local TV ownership and focus on Production.

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  12. Dave is a arrogant asshole know it all. I know for a fact that Disney invited him to leave is bigger than just steeping down.. His wife told my sister in law that, as they are good friends. And more of the dead weight in the newsroom will be lifted. Some of these old money makers will be invited to leave or retire.

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    1. WOW......outing your sister in law......and such an unnecessary low class comment. #tooeasytofigureoutwhoyouare.

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  13. Dave Ward will die on the job (see Marvin Zindler). An institution for Houston news media.

    Melanie Lawson , on the other hand, could be talked into retirement because she's been there for over 30 years at Ch. 13.

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    1. Scott Toschlog7/31/2014 02:04:00 PM

      That would be a shame, as Melanie is one of the most credible voices in Houston news-- truly a class act.

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    2. Shit, she will turn the lights off.

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  14. An aside... now from this memo we know that it's Ignite that's been melting down when they miss a newscast. Fitting.

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  15. Amidst the "snark" and "rumours" and "speculation" (and various "assholes" and "low class" comments).... there is one omission here. Being a News Director (or any job in media) is not a Job for Life. No matter the reason Dave Strickland (arrogant or not) is leaving......14 years is waaay longer than the average tenure of a top 25 market News DIrector. (Which is about 5 years. Source: RTNDA)

    So while Mr. Green's remarks harken back to the distant past of Television News' glory days and others fret over new ownership rumours....in the words of a great analog era journalist : "...And so it goes...." Lloyd Dobyns NBC News

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  16. I agree with you. I just don't tolerate people calling someone I have known since college a prick. I'm done. I am glad to have found the blog.

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  17. Musings, let's say Disney does sell the ABC O&O stations and someone else owns them.

    I can't see the new people keeping those dumb infomercials around and will start getting rid of them as well as those boring shows in the weekend afternoons.

    Wouldn't be surprised if they bring back local station movies such as "Million Dollar Movie" or "Friday Night Movie".

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  18. I worked for him and truly did not like him. He can kill a career like a certified sharp shooter. His day of reckoning is at hand.

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    1. I'm taking it that you're happy Strickland is gone from Ch. 13 ?

      The big question is who'll replace him?

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    2. His replacement is not in the building.

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    3. I guess I was wrong about that, she is worse than he was.

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    4. Wendy is not well liked, you'll see a rush to the door. Why would Henry give that position to Cruella de Vil?

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