Notes left on the cutting room floor from my Sunday story on Channel 4 senior correspondent Rich Newberg, whose final newscast is at 5 p.m. today:
The Sunday story was long enough. But believe it or not, I trimmed a good deal from the first draft because there was a lot to say about Newberg’s 46-year broadcasting career.
In those trims, Newberg talked about his friendship with former Channel 2 anchor and senior reporter Rich Kellman, pay cuts and TV salaries, his marriage of almost 30 years and a ghost story
Let’s start with the ghost story.
Newberg did a story about ghosts that people in Western New York think they’ve seen after he was named senior correspondent in 1995. I was pretty critical of it.
“I agree with you,” said Newberg. “You were tough and had every right to be. Not that I hated it because there is very little that I hate about Buffalo folklore or traditions. I just felt out of the box as a senior correspondent that chasing ghosts was not the best way to start. But I have to tell you I had some fun with it.”
The salary cuts as the country went into recession and the Buffalo market fell out of the Top 50 weren’t fun.
“It was a sad reality,” said Newberg. “Huge cuts. It was hurtful but across the board for everyone. I accepted it as a reality of the times. It was tens of thousands when we took that huge cut. I love this town so much. I never aspired to go to network, never wanted to leave Buffalo and whatever it took to keep working and continuing to do what I love I was willing to do it. Money was never the main issue to me.”
“In the Buffalo market, you are not going to be rich by being a main anchor,” added Newberg. “But then again, with the cost of living here, you can live very well on an anchor salary and on a senior correspondent’s salary.”
It may surprise some to learn that Newberg and his wife Lori celebrated the announcement of his Channel 4 retirement in November with Kellman and his wife.
“He is one of my closest friends,” said Newberg. “He was my mentor in a sense… I always had a lot of respect for his reporting. We became fast friends. We have similar interests, people stories, people against the odds, I accepted an Emmy for him in New York City when he couldn’t be there. Lori said, ‘get up there and represent Rich.’”
Newberg's immediate plans after his Channel 4 retirement were pretty simple. They involve his wife and their two sons. David, 29, produces cartoons for Cartoon Network. Michael, 26, is a field producer for CNBC in Los Angeles.
“My goal is to get to know my wife a little bit better,” said Newberg. “It is tough for a spouse to be married to somebody in the media because you are always thinking about the next project. Or you run into people together and there is a great story there. You drift off into journalism. Now it is time to give her more time. And to get to know my two kids even better.”