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One viewer started a petition at change.org which, as of this writing, is 156 signatures shy of its goal of 1,000. The petition calls for the station to bring back the Grand Forks version of the 5:00 p.m. news along with anchor Terry Dullum.
A call today to WDAY/WDAZ General Manager Mari Ossenfort was not returned and WDAZ News Director Julie Moravchik has been told to not comment on the matter.
In a published interview Ossenfort defended the decision saying she believes the station should concentrate on producing more content instead of producing more shows. Ossenfort also claimed she has received some positive feedback on the change however most comments on WDAZ’s Facebook page regarding the switch has been overwhelmingly negative.
Former anchor Terry Dullum wrote on his blog Monday about the change that “The decision was not made by anyone in Grand Forks. Certainly, not by me.” He went on to say, “A long-time broadcaster said it best to me years ago. He said television will break your heart. Every time.”
The downsizing has been part of a trend to remove newscasts from WDAZ in favor of producing them in Fargo. The WDAZ morning and weekend newscasts are already produced by WDAY in Fargo. The reduction in newscasts brings down the total number of newscasts produced out of WDAZ to only 10 per week.
It is unclear if anyone will lose their jobs in the latest downsizing, however, sources tell Valley News Live that financial constraints are forcing the elimination of up to twelve jobs across the entire Forum Communications business unit. Valley News Live covers the northern valley everyday with multiple crews and is a competitor to WDAZ/WDAY.