This is a transitional time in Atlanta TV news. Here are some notes.
Paul Crawley. The WXIA reporter is retiring at the end of this month. I’ve been a fan of this guy since I first started competing with him in 1986. As a coworker since 2009, I’ve seen Crawley consistently be the most prepared reporter in the morning editorial meeting, with the best array of story ideas. His anecdotes from our industry, told during slow moments at trials, stakeouts, legislative hearings and in the newsroom, nearly always came with wry insight or a belly laugh or both. His execution and professionalism are top-drawer. Plus, Crawley is the king of screwball comedy. I will be very sorry to see him leave.
Ken Cook. WAGA’s chief meteorologist was arguably the best in town — level headed and charismatic, with the ever-present mustache that evoked Lee Van Cleef’s “Angel Eyes” character in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Cook’s career in Atlanta TV weather set a durability record that may never be eclipsed. Cook was always fun to be around, a guy who welcomed the intrusions of reporters seeking personal forecasts. He was also very good at deflating the weather-coverage ambitions of excitable news managers who overanalyzed the gravity of upcoming storms. But when Cook looked at the charts and said “yeah, it’s gonna be bad,” you knew the threat was credible. WXIA’s Chesley McNeil is cut from Cook’s mold. So is…
Chris Holcomb. The WXIA meteorologist emerged from the fringe schedule to become the station’s chief meteorologist last week. Among the staff’s chattering classes, it was a no-brainer. When the decision was announced, the raucous cheering exceeded any I’ve ever heard in a newsroom. He’s that good, and that good a guy.
Blayne Alexander. The one-woman-band reporter has quietly elevated to WXIA’s fill-in anchor rotation. If there had been a big announcement a la Holcomb, it might have gotten a similar cheer. Our industry is a brighter place with Bleezey in it.