A relative calm has descended upon the newsroom at WLUC.
Steve Asplund, the hardest working man in the news business, has been named the news director at the station. Rather, re-named. He was news director for a few years back in the mid-90’s, as well.
And don’t worry, he’ll remain as the 6 pm anchor. What most viewers don’t realize is that Asplund’s most important work has always been done off-camera, as assignment editor, producer, writer, photographer, editor, fill-in engineer, snow plow operator. Hell, if TV6 had a cow out back, Asplund would be milking that in his spare time.
He works 70-80 hours a week. No lie. He loves his work, he loves the station.
That’s why it was almost criminal what he had to endure for the last two years during the tenure of the former news director, Regena Robinson. For some reason, Robinson locked Asplund, the assistant news director, out of the entire decision-making process in the news department. The hostility was palpable.
Maybe it was a personality clash. Regardless, it was a waste of Asplund’s skills and enthusiasm, and it made for a very uncomfortable newsroom because Asplund was universally liked and respected by both the veterans and the youngsters in the news department.
But he kept his head down, worked his 70-80 hours a week, and now he’s got the job he deserves. WLUC is the better for it.
(Full disclosure: I was the WLUC news director from 2004-2011)
Meantime, a former TV6er, Rick Tarsitano, who was surprisingly terminated by Robinson a year ago, is in negotiations to become the new news director at ABC10.
He’s been a reporter at ABC10 for the last year, but in the wake of Cynthia Thompson’s resignation as ND, Tarsitano was appointed interim news director and has done a creditable job. Now management wants to make him the permanent news director.
No one could quite figure out why he was forced out at TV6. Another personality clash? The fact was, Tarsitano was one of the most talented reporters in Marquette when he was let go.
Now we’re going to see what kind of management skills he has. He’ll be facing a stiff challenge: ABC10 doesn’t have nearly the money or resources that WLUC has, and it’ll be facing a brand new competitor when WJMN starts its UP newscast in the next month or so.
And who is WJMN’s news director and anchor? That’s right, Cynthia Thompson, formerly of both ABC10 and TV6. TV news in the Upper Peninsula is a never-ending merry-go-round.
It’s been a weird season at Marquette Mountain.
The best snow in years and yet the numbers are down. Way down.
Vern Barber, the GM, figures the mountain has attracted almost 30% fewer skiers and snowboarders this season.
Go ahead, take a guess why.
Yep, it’s too freaking cold even for skiers. When you consider that the thermometer has climbed above 30 degrees for only a few days in the last three months, and has generally stayed below 10 degrees, it’s easy to understand why we’ve stayed off the mountain.
The only thing that’s kept Marquette Mountain afloat this season has been its ever-expanding race schedule. Teams, young and old, come here from all over the Midwest to race. And unlike the casual skiers, the racers don’t have a choice; even if it’s minus 10 and the wind is howling, they’re going to be racing (and spending money in Marquette) because they’ve already registered and paid the fees.
Barber says this is the coldest winter he’s experienced in his 32 years on Marquette Mountain. Sounds about right.
You got a great story to tell?
You’ll get your opportunity to tell it and preserve it for posterity when National Public Radio’s StoryCorps trailer rolls into town this July.
StoryCorps brings people together–parent and child, brother and sister, friends, teacher and student, neighbors– to sit down and tell their stories.
It might be a childhood memory, it might be a hunting story, it might be something traumatic.
But the stories are usually evocative, poignant and fascinating.
StoryCorps is hoping to find 200 such stories in the U.P. A couple of them will likely end up being broadcast on NPR nationwide. The rest will be taped and stored at the Library of Congress. They’ll become a part of this nation’s history.That’s pretty cool.
Participants will also be given a copy of the interview–something to hand down to your grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Public Radio 90 will be announcing in the next couple of months how you can sign up for StoryCorps.
You got news? Email me at email@example.com