When asked about the disturbing lack of on-air minorities in the Buffalo television market, local general managers have often noted the difficulty of attracting and keeping talent here because of competition from stations in bigger markets.
The accuracy of that defense certainly is on display now that two minority staffers are leaving Buffalo for bigger markets.
Channel 2 weekend anchor Mike Corbin is leaving for Indianapolis. And Channel 7's morning and noon weather anchor, Tracy Humphrey is going to Philadelphia.
Neither was here very long. Corbin arrived about two years ago, Humphrey hasn't even been a full-timer at Channel 7 for a full year.
General Manager Darryll Green confirms that Corbin will be leaving for a similar weekend anchor job at WISH-TV in Indianapolis.
Indianapolis is the No. 25 market in the United States, while Buffalo has slipped to No. 47. Philadelphia is the No. 4 market.
Green said he was in extensive contract talks with Corbin and was disappointed that the Syracuse University graduate was leaving at the end of the month. No replacement has been named.
In one of his final assignments, Corbin was sent last week to New York City to cover the aftermath of the World Trade Center disaster.
He wasn't the only Buffalo television reporter there who is about to leave his station. Channel 7 sent Luke Moretti, whose contract expires at the end of the month.
Humphrey, who officially started as a weather anchor in January after filling in as a weather anchor near the end of last year, is leaving Oct. 17 to be a weekend weather anchor and feature reporter at WPHL-TV Channel 17. It is a WB affiliate owned by the Tribune company.
Humphrey's loss is a big one for Channel 7. While Channel 2 still has the most diverse news staff in town, Humphrey was one of only two on-air minority staffers at Channel 7. The station is owned by a minority-owned broadcasting company, Granite.
Her departure also adds to the instability of "Eyewitness News This Morning." The newscast just lost its co-anchor Kathleen Leighton, who was only in the role a few months after co-anchor Jean Hill left. Both Leighton and Hill left the business. Hill stayed in Western New York and is now a vice president of corporate communications for M&T Bank.
Talk about bad timing. Channel 29 carried an episode of "Seinfeld" Thursday night in which the Fab Four were concerned briefly about an airplane crash. Apparently, station officials didn't realize what episode was set to run. The station apologizes for its oversight to anyone upset over the scene.
All networks and stations have been scrambling to postpone programs that seem unsuitable.
Fox dropped plans to carry the film "Independence Day" last Sunday and American Movie Classics dropped "Towering Inferno" on Monday.
Attention, fans of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Ally McBeal" and "The Practice." Starting Monday, cable's FX will have reruns of the three series on weekday evenings. "Buffy" airs at 7 p.m., "Ally" at 8 p.m. and "The Practice" at 9 p.m.
Jim Lehrer, the PBS anchor who had to postpone an appearance last year, will be the guest lecturer Oct. 18 on Founder's Day at Gow School. The school in South Wales, which is for young men with dyslexia or similar language-based disabilities, is celebrating its 75th anniversary. The lecture is free to the public, followed by a fund-raising dinner.
In light of national events, it seems pointless and petty to criticize the miscues and annoyances in the first week of NFL coverage. But some things will have a season-long impact.
Viewers may have noticed that during the Bills-Saints game, Fox didn't bother to use the technology -- believed to cost about $25,000 per game -- that allows viewers to see how far a team has to go to get a first down. A Fox spokesperson said the network only used the technology last season on its top two games every week.
This season, Fox has added a new visual distraction, moving the score and the clock from the bottom of the screen to the top.
Wondering why CBS' Mike Ditka is such a big Doug Flutie fan on television even though his Chicago Bears cut him? In a conference call, Ditka said a Bears executive wanted to help out New England Owner Billy Sullivan sell tickets by sending Flutie to the Patriots. "And I'm a great humanitarian," cracked Ditka dryly. He made it clear that cutting Flutie wasn't his call by a long shot.
It seems like almost months ago, but I have a feeling we're going to see a lot more this season of Flutie's block on former Bills teammate, Washington end Bruce Smith, during a reverse play in San Diego's opener. Fox's announcers loved it. Earlier, Fox play-by-play man Scott Graham noted that Rob Johnson made a great block on a Peerless Price reverse but he didn't canonize the Bills quarterback for it.