WWAY GM Andy Combs: ‘I Understand What We Are Doing Makes People Uncomfortable’

By Andrew Gauthier 

“I understand what we are doing makes people uncomfortable,” WWAY general manager Andy Combs told StarNewsOnline recently about his station’s newfound commitment to muckraking.  “People in this market have not seen this by any news outlet in decades.”

In a profile of WWAY’s in-your-face reporting under news director Scott Pickey (pictured), who joined the Wilmington CBS-affiliate in January 2010, StarNewsOnline points out that WWAY has had to develop a different approach to local news reporting in order to compete with perrenial ratings powerhouse WECT.

“I can’t create an anchor that has been in this market for 30 years or afford an anchor with a six-figure salary,” Pickey told StarNewsOnline. “We decided we would focus on content and making a difference that way. We saw a huge opportunity to dig a little more. We’re going to focus on real stories that may have a harder edge to them.”


One example of a story with a harder edge is WWAY’s much-publicized investigation into the questionable business practices of a private waste removal company that had won a major contract with the local government.

WWAY was relentless in tracking the whereabouts of R3 Environmental’s CEO as the company faced growing scrutiny.  The station even kept a tally on its website of how many days the chief executive had been MIA.

After engaging in a war of words with WWAY on Facebook, R3 Environmental eventually skipped town and its government contract was terminated.