WKYC Revamps 7, Adds Robin

As we expected early Thursday afternoon (and hinted on our earlier item), big chances were indeed afoot at a Cleveland TV newsroom, though the news hit earlier than we expected.

By the time Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 announced that it would overhaul its 7 PM newscast, bringing aboard a high-profile personality to co-anchor it, the news had been bouncing around the market like a child’s bouncing ball.

Yes, former Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8” personality Robin Swoboda is returning to news anchoring, where she’ll join WKYC as co-anchor of the 7 PM edition of “Channel 3 News”. Joining her at the anchor desk will be WKYC reporter Chris Tye, who has filled in as an anchor from time to time.

And where does that leave current anchors Eric Mansfield and Monica Robins?

Back where they started from, it appears. Quoting WKYC news director Rita Andolsen:

“When we moved to a single anchor format with Romona at 6 and 11 p.m., we took two of our strongest beat reporters off the street and moved them into a different role at 7. The opportunity to hire Robin coincided with our realization that we needed to reinstate resources for our medical coverage and Akron/Canton content.”

We don’t know if, for example, Akron resident Eric Mansfield will return directly as bureau chief of the station’s now-mostly unused bureau at Main and Market in downtown Akron…but it sure sounds like he’ll once again keep a closer eye on his hometown. (His wife, Lisa, is a member of the Akron Board of Education.)

So, why make the change?

The following is our own speculation and guessing, only, and is not based on anything we’ve heard out of 13th and Lakeside, or any other TV news operation in this market.

To us, this would seem to be summed up in one sentence – “Robin’s available…where can we put her?”

Upon learning of Swoboda’s exit from her show on WJW, WKYC had to do something to put her on the air, somewhere.

Romona Robinson is firmly in place as a solo anchor at 6 and 11 PM, and the station is unlikely to want to do anything to the Mark Nolan/Hollie Strano combination in mornings.

Plus, Robin has made it clear many times that she wants to work while still spending time with her kids, and a half-hour at 7 PM (and whatever work surrounds that) would likely not disrupt that routine.

And “Good Company Today”, up against the coming replacement for her old WJW show (“New Day Cleveland”) at 10 AM, is also not an option…which brings us to an interesting line in the WKYC press release: “Most recently, she was the program host for ‘The Robin Swoboda Show,’ an advertiser friendly show on WJW.”

In her quick exit from “Fox 8”, Swoboda made it clear that she wasn’t happy with the direction that the station wanted her show to take… with more advertising-linked content.

And “Good Company Today” is, well, an advertiser’s paradise, with all but small chat sections of the show attached to sponsors.

Though Robin Swoboda notes that “my first love has always been news, and I feel that’s where my strongest contributions will be”, we wonder if this show is just a starting place until WKYC figures what her ongoing contribution will be.

Meanwhile, incumbent 7 PM anchors Eric Mansfield and Monica Robins will once again have ongoing contributions to Akron-area coverage and medical news, very strong areas for both…but we can’t help but feel sorry that Eric and Monica had to be moved out of the way.

The release says Swoboda will start on-air in “early March”.

We’re well aware that she is a polarizing personality in the market, and the comments on the WKYC item (and our own feedback from readers over the years) bear that out.

Some would nearly walk on broken glass to watch her…and others would run away from her at top speed. (We’re pretty much in the “meh” category here at your Mighty Blog of Fun[tm]…Robin neither enchants us or annoys us to any great extent.)

We would reprint some of those comments here, but we’re sure we’ll get our own sampling after posting this very item.

The tale for WKYC will be told in the Nielsen ratings…at 7 PM, or whatever time slot where Robin ends up being featured…

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2 Responses to WKYC Revamps 7, Adds Robin

  1. Becky Schaaf says:

    I’m just disgusted with the whole mess! It’s all about the bottom line.

  2. Clay Benjamin says:

    This is a great addition for WKYC Chanel 3. We live in Medina and we are fortunate to have Robin as a resident here.

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