WRTV-TV General Manager Don Lundy will retire in January after 31 years with the ABC affiliate's parent company.
Lundy, who turns 65 in December, said he is leaving the McGraw-Hill Cos. Inc.-owned station because he “is of retirement age.”
He isn’t sure of his plans, but said the draw to Southern California, where he has children and grandchildren, “will be strong.”
Lundy may not be the only WRTV departure. Sources said morning meteorologist Crystal Wicker also will depart soon when her contract runs out. Lundy declined to comment on Wicker’s future. Wicker, a Kendallville native, was not available for comment Monday morning.
It’s been a month of change for Channel 6. Earlier this month, officials there decided not to renew news anchor Todd Wallace’s contract and hired a replacement from New York, Todd Connor.
And on Aug. 30, WRTV plans to expand its 5 p.m. newscast from 30 minutes to an hour, giving it two hours of early-evening news programming.
But Lundy’s departure will be the biggest change for the station that has long lagged its local competitors in TV news ratings—a key measure of a general manager’s success because it is one element local affiliates have sole control over. Ads sold during those time slots generate about 45 percent of the station's revenue.
Lundy has been with New York-based McGraw-Hill for 31 years, the last nine as WRTV general manager. Lundy started his career at McGraw-Hill as WRTV production manager, before departing for 19 years to work at TV stations in San Diego and Bakersfield, Calif. He returned to WRTV in 2001.
McGraw-Hill officials have launched a nationwide search for his replacement, Lundy said.
“They’ll look at candidates from outside the company as well as some from within,” Lundy said. “That’s why I wanted to make my announcement early, so they have plenty of time to find a suitable replacement.”
Lundy is confident WRTV is ready to improve its local standing. WRTV completed a major brand study of its station and newscasts last year, and Lundy and his staff have been working on changes to improve ratings ever since.
“The brand of our local news is good, the viewer feedback we’ve been getting on Todd Connor is strong, and our other anchors are solid,” Lundy said. “Everything is in great shape and we have a great plan to move ahead.”