Former Toledo Meteorologist Talks Sinclair Hubbing News, Lay Offs

By Kevin Eck 

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Norm Van Ness was one of those laid off from Toledo NBC affiliate WNWO after Sinclair made the move to hub news operations at its South Bend station in December.

“I think that whatever this thing that we call broadcast news is going to become in the coming years, that Sinclair is going to be one of the major players,” Van Ness told The Blade. “But at the same time, a company and business that size that is publicly traded has to make good financial decisions. Whether or not those financial decisions are good for someone personally, like me, you still have to separate yourself from that and then understand and deal with the consequences of that reality.”

We reported in November a source told The Blade “We’ll be hubbing our news product to South Bend, Indiana. They’re planning to keep a news coverage crew present here, possibly 11 people.” Van Ness says he was let go December 16, two months after his 13th anniversary at the station.

“Station groups are going to do what they think is best for their bottom line,” said Van Ness. “But that doesn’t change the fact that you come into work every day wondering if that’s going to be your last day. You essentially walk about feeling like you have a target on your back.”

He also wonders how viewers will adapt to moving the station’s production to another city now they know what’s going on behind the scenes.

“I think the problem there is the curtain has already been pulled back on the wizard,” said Van Ness. “The general public already knows who is pulling the levers pushing the buttons and screaming through the microphone. I’ll have to leave that to the public and the viewership to decide if they’re comfortable with that scenario.”

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