Longtime Director of Sales Michael Strickler was named interim general manager of WALA FOX10 earlier this month, replacing Corey Hanson, who has moved on to a similar position in Oregon.
Strickler’s elevation to interim GM was announced three weeks ago by Meredith Corp’s president for local media, Patrick McCreery.
“Michael is a collaborative coach and mentor who has demonstrated success in nurturing strong teams, developing new business and driving market share. I’m thankful for his years of service to WALA and look forward to everything he will accomplish for the station and the community as our interim GM,” McCreery wrote in a press release.
Strickler recently celebrated his 25th year with WALA. He joined the station as an account executive in 1996, became regional and national sales manager, and has been director of sales since 2009.
Strickler takes the helm at WALA as it is in the midst of being sold to Gray Television. Gray agreed to purchase Meredith’s 17 local television stations for $2.7 billion earlier this year, according to published reports. Following the acquisition, Gray Television will own stations in 102 markets that collectively reach 25 percent of the country’s television households, according to its website.
Dad to the bone
Former WKRG-TV News Director Chris Best checked in this week to let us know about what he’s been doing since he left the local CBS affiliate in May.
Best decided to leave his “six-figure job to ride motorcycles and tell stories,” he said on his website. In other words, he’s decided not to jump on the next corporate journalism job and instead, use his passion for motorcycles and journalism to bring unique stories to his viewers.
A six-show run of the “Biker Dad” TV show began running this past Sunday at 9 a.m. on WXGF-TV 35 in Pensacola, but Best says you can always check it out on YouTube as well.
The Alabama-based think tank and lobbying organization Alabama Policy Institute officially announced last week it’s getting into the news business. API claims it is launching a statewide news organization called 1819 News that will provide “hard-hitting news from a team of seasoned beat reporters and investigative journalists.”
1819 News President and CEO Bryan Dawson said in a press release the organization will hold leaders and politicians accountable while also celebrating the positive things Alabama has to offer.
“I couldn’t be more excited to build this caliber of multimedia company for the state of Alabama,” Dawson said. “There’s a huge gap in the state for in-depth journalism that holds our leaders and politicians accountable. There is also a lack of content that celebrates what is good, true and beautiful about the state. We are creating a media platform that will address both of those issues.”
While those all sound like terrific goals, I can’t help wondering how a lobbying and public policy firm and a hell-raising investigative news website are going to live together in harmony. API has roughly 40 board members as well as a number of big-money donors who give capital in hopes of influencing public policy. It’s pretty hard to engage in investigative reporting in Alabama that doesn’t step on toes inside the expensive shoes favored by API board members.
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