Former Central New York radio personality, turned television host Jim Reith has been let go by WCNY-TV. The annoucement came Wednesday and the show was not produced for its usual broadcast slot. The public television station started a brand new show hosted by Reith in May 2012. At the time, the station said, "...fans will see and hear him like never before across all of WCNY-TV/FM's television, radio and Internet platforms."
In a statement to CNYcentral, President and CEO Robert J. Daino said WCNY launched the â??Reithâ?? last spring with the intent of drawing Reithâ??s strong radio brand to television and engaging viewers in a daily give-and-take on important issues of the day.
â??The â??Reithâ?? show represented a unique opportunity, but in the end, we found it to be a greater challenge than we anticipated to move Jimâ??s brand from radio to television,â?? Daino said. â??We judge our shows on viewer response, the financial support of our underwriters, and our mission to engage new voices and spur public conversation.â??
Reithâ??s experience as the longtime host of â??The Jim Reith Showâ?? on WSYR radio in Syracuse helped him and the showâ??s producers draw a strong line-up of guests, including government, community and business leaders, an important part of the show since it premiered. The last â??Reithâ?? television show aired Tuesday. WCNY had never planned to bring a Reith show to Classic FM, which is an all-classical music format radio station.
WCNY plans to introduce a new daily public affairs show next year that aims to continue its mission to connect and engage viewers across its 19-county viewing area. The show is still in development, but will take advantage of new production technology thatâ??s part of WCNYâ??s new Broadcast and Education Center, located on Syracuseâ??s Near Westside.
â??We are committed to bringing quality public affairs programming to our viewers,â?? Daino said. â??That mission does not change with the end of a single show. Jim Reith was an important part of our mission and weâ??re grateful for that. We wish him well in the future.â?? WCNY will replace â??Reithâ?? with PBSâ??s â??Nightly Business Reportâ?? in its 6:30 p.m. time slot on channel 24.1.
In a news release earlier this year promoting the Reith Show: "We're going to have fun with it," Reith said. "I would love to make the show a place where people can, in a variety of ways, hang out for a half hour and get informed about local issues and interact with the show through social media."
It was October, 2011 when Reith was suddenly terminated from WSYR Radio in Syracuse. The decision to fire him, and end his long running daily talk program drew heavy criticism from the public and media experts. David Rubin, former Dean of the Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communications told CNYcentral at the time, "You get rid of Jim Reith, the local voice gets fainter, fainter and fainter. Pretty soon the station is no longer the Syracuse station. It can be anywhere USA and as far as I can tell that is a ticket to bankrupcty."
The CNY Radio and Television blog that follows news about the industry in Central New York points out that when WCNY-TV originally announced it had hired Jim Reith, it promised a radio program on WCNY-HD3, but the station said that wouldnâ??t come until the fall â?? though an exact date was never given, and the radio show never materialized.