Mitch Perry discusses the importance of the WMNF Evening News, and why heâ€™s departing
Mitch Perry about about 4 years ago
Recently I spoke with former Brandon State Senator Tom Lee about the troubles that journalism, and specifically the newspaper industry, has been suffering from in recent years.
He seemed genuinely anguished that the people in the Tampa Bay Area have been hurt by the dismantling of resources at some of our major media institutions. If you recall, late last year the Tampa Tribune wrote an editorial denying reports that it would be going out of business after this year's Super Bowl. Though there are no such fears over at the St. Petersburg Times, we’ve seen the pages in its Metro section diminish in recent years.
The newspaper industry has been devastated by the drop in advertising revenue over the past few years. Because we don’t rely on advertising (other than about 5% of our budget), WMNF has been immune from such a decline.
But we’re certainly not recession proof, and our fund raising marathons have been a challenge in recent years, because of what’s happening to people here in the local economy.
I write that to tell you what I’m sure you already know: that it’s vital that we maintain as much as we can of WMNF’s News & Public Affairs programming, and in particular, the Evening News.
As you may have heard, I’ll be, as the phrase goes, ‘stepping down’ on September 18th as the Assistant News Director and Anchor and Managing Editor of the Evening News, to work as the News and Politics Editor at Creative Loafing.
Working at WMNF has been the center of my life for nearly 9 ½ years, and the decision to leave this great experiment in community radio was not easy.
But I’m excited about taking what I’ve learned over the years here and tackling a new medium.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you listeners, who have supported me, and more importantly, supported the Evening News since it’s inception in 2003.
I’d like to think that it’s made an impact, a difference, in media coverage in this community. We’ve worked long and hard at it over the years, and it must survive to ensure that you’re able to make informed choices of your world, by getting what some call an alternative flip to commercial and mainstream media.
In that respect, Creative Loafing is another extension of that. I hope that those who have followed me at MNF, will continue to do so at my new endeavor. I’ll be writing in the paper regularly, but also blogging a lot at the paper’s website, and doing podcasts and the like. And hopefully, some of the work I do there may still make it over here to WMNF.
Because I’m not competing with the station. Just as this area needs good newspapers, it needs a good alternative newsweekly.
And it definitely needs to maintain what it’s been lucky to have for the past 30 years, and that is a vibrant, exciting radio station that many places in the country do NOT have. And it’s made it because of your support – some of that financially.
It’s not a cliché when you hear during our marathons how we can’t make it work without you – it won’t stay around, period. These are tough economic times, and thus they require good reporting to keep everybody honest.
I want to thank the folks at WMNF who decided to take a chance on me after they met me back in January of 2000. I’d like to think I’ve made some difference in this town with the show. I hope you continue to listen to the Evening News and support it.
(Listeners can hear my description of how the Evening News came to be at 6:50PM this Friday night on the Evening News).