Mitch Perry discusses the importance of the WMNF Evening News, and why heâs departing
Mitch Perry about about 5 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, weâve 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 donât rely on advertising (other than about 5% of our budget), WMNF has been immune from such a decline.
But weâre certainly not recession proof, and our fund raising marathons have been a challenge in recent years, because of whatâs happening to people here in the local economy.
I write that to tell you what Iâm sure you already know: that itâs vital that we maintain as much as we can of WMNFâs News & Public Affairs programming, and in particular, the Evening News.
As you may have heard, Iâll be, as the phrase goes, âstepping downâ 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 Â½ years, and the decision to leave this great experiment in community radio was not easy.
But Iâm excited about taking what Iâve 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 itâs inception in 2003.
Iâd like to think that itâs made an impact, a difference, in media coverage in this community. Weâve worked long and hard at it over the years, and it must survive to ensure that youâre 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. Iâll be writing in the paper regularly, but also blogging a lot at the paperâs 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 Iâm 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 itâs 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 itâs made it because of your support â some of that financially.
Itâs not a clichÃ© when you hear during our marathons how we canât make it work without you â it wonât 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. Iâd like to think Iâve 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).comments powered by Disqus