The most constant thing is change. That old adage is often used to describe the state of the television.
The most constant thing is change.
That old adage is often used to describe the state of the television industry.
Of course, it also now applies to most facets of business and government in this techno-driven world.
And a change that is personally and professionally difficult for me is coming to Channel 3.
Our Sunday morning political talk segment "Between the Lines" is coming to the end of the line.
For those of you who have not been viewers, I've had the pleasure and privilege of hosting the segment for the past 11 years.
We've been the caboose on the end of the Sunday morning news train. Our slot, that now runs for about 12 minutes, makes us the warm-up act for Meet the Press, a niche chosen to connect with that show's politically-oriented viewers.
I've been honored to have appeared in TV spots with the late Tim Russert and David Gregory, cross-promoting our programs. How many local TV reporters can say that?
We tried to bring analysis and background in brief but thoughtful conversations about issues, ideas, officeholders and candidates.
Viewers who wanted partisan name-calling could find it on cable talk shows.
We blended news and insights into the "hows" and "whys" of what was happening. It mixed fact and opinions.
The segment did have its shortcomings.
We started to get traction with a team of me, Democratic former Congressman Dennis Eckart and Republican Cuyahoga County Commissioner Lee Weingart.
But three suburban white guys obviously came up short in the diversity department.
We expanded our rotation of commentators to include get racial and gender balance, including a variety of political insiders and savvy reporters.
The segment was probably too Cleveland-centric. Important issues in neighboring counties got short-changed.
Sometimes the talk was too "inside baseball," leaving many viewers feeling out of it.
And frankly, 12 minutes or less provided only a fairly superficial treatment of important matters.
We did the best we could. Guests often described being on the show as like riding a roller coaster at Cedar Point. You start...and then you're done.
But enough nostalgia. Back to reality and the looming changes it's bringing.
The television business is driven by ratings and revenues, eyeballs and dollars.
And the decision-makers at Channel 3 have decided our segment "under-delivers" on both counts.
So they've come up with a new "work-in-progress" plan that does not include a traditional Sunday morning discussion of politics.
Our last Between the Lines will be Sunday, May 11, after the primary election.
The world is going digital and so will more of our political coverage
I plan to write more on-line columns like this, offering back-stories and insights on politics and how our leaders are performing.
I will also be doing more important, visible and promoted stories in the body of our newscasts, hopefully on topics that will be meaningful to ordinary people, not just political junkies.
The first one runs at 11 p.m. Monday. It looks at accelerating plans to remake Public Square.
I want to thank the commentators who shared their thoughts over the years, including Dennis Eckart, Mary Anne Sharkey, Jim Trakas, Blaine Griffin, Joe Frolik, Mark Naymik, Henry Gomez, Matt Dolan, Judy Rawson , Kevin O'Brien, Bill Patmon, Mike Nelson, Rob Frost and Lee Weingart. Apologies if I left some out.
We hope to find other ways to take advantage of many analysts expertise and opinions.
To those of you who have been regular or occasional viewers, please accept my sincere gratitude.
If I had my druthers, Between the Lines would go on.
But it's a world where more and more people get their news and information from iPhones and tablets. It's been deemed to have run its course.
The media universe is remaking itself with blinding speed. I've learned that doing stories about the difficult changeover involving the Plain Dealer becoming the little brother of cleveland.com.
So, in a business where the harsh rule is change or die, there is only one choice. Call it a new beginning.
I will continue to do my best covering politics and government in places and platforms where hopefully more of you will find me.