Ex-Cleveland GM Leaving Norfolk

We got word that a former Cleveland television general manager has left his current gig in Virginia.

But we didn’t remember what Bill Scaffide did here until we did a quick Google search on his name, and found this YouTube video from WKYC:

Yes, that’s then-WKYC general manager Bill Scaffide circa 1994, urging viewers to call the WKYC Talkback line with their comments, input and suggestions about Channel 3 News.

More Google searching tells us that Scaffide was earlier general manager of WUAB/43, and was replaced there by long-time local broadcasting executive Brooke Spectorsky. (Anyone who keeps better track of such history can let us know if we got any of this wrong.)

Anyway, Scaffide has been general manager of Norfolk market MyNetwork TV affiliate WTVZ/33.

The Virginia-Pilot newspaper reports that in an “amicable” split with the TV station, Scaffide has already headed south, geographically:

Scaffide planned to leave Saturday for West Palm Beach, Fla., where he bought a house last year. “I’m done with the 9-to-5, five-days-a-week,” he said, but he may consider consulting work. “My first official duty is to buy a golf cart next week.”

Our WKYC “Director’s Cut” blog colleague Frank Macek notes Scaffide’s move here, and has more videos featuring Scaffide here. Quoting Frank:

Bill was proud of making that station profitable during his 3 year tenure. We have lots of memories of Bill doing the same thing at WKYC and Multimedia when deep staff cuts were made after the station was acquired by NBC.

Ouch…so much for that “we’re building our station around you” slogan heard on the video.

It was an interesting time for Cleveland TV in the mid-1990s. Not that much later from the airing of this promo, the TV network landscape shook.

Storer sold long-time CBS affiliate WJW/8 to Gillette, which sold WJW and the other ex-Storer stations to New World Communications. That triggered a national deal between New World and upstart Fox Broadcasting, which flipped WJW to a Fox affiliation…and the network itself ended up owning WJW until very recently.

Up until that point, WJW had been the long-time news powerhouse in Cleveland, and “NewsCenter 8” was the news standard locally.

Though WJW actually beefed up its news presence after changing from CBS to Fox, the latter network had no national news tradition…and viewers started sampling WKYC, and perennial second-place ABC affiliate WEWS/5’s news offerings.

Eventually, WKYC would actually start winning newscast ratings…but at the time this video aired, before the WJW CBS-to-Fox switch, WKYC was very much an also-ran in news ratings in Cleveland, mired deep in third place…

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