Two of the four Indianapolis television stations are without news directors after WRTV-TV Channel 6 parted ways with industry veteran Kevin Finch, less than two years after hiring him.
A WRTV spokesman on Thursday confirmed that Finch was no longer with the station, but declined to provide details, citing station policy that prohibits commenting on personnel matters.
WISH-TV Channel 8 is also without a news director after terminating Patti McGettigan in August after 17 years with parent company LIN TV Corp., which is based in Rhode Island.
Finch, a longtime TV news director and producer, arrived at WRTV in April 2011 and was one of the first hires for the station’s new general manager, Larry Blackerby.
Six months later, media company The E.W. Scripps Co. bought WRTV and eight other TV stations from The McGraw-Hill Cos. for $212 million in cash.
Finch did not return a phone call seeking comment Friday.
Rick Gevers, a locally based agent for on-air news people, said Scripps will need to provide stability at WRTV for the station to have success. The station, he said, has had six news directors in the past decade.
“I think the station has had a lot of turnover in the news director ranks,” Gevers said “[WRTV does] have a new owner, and I don’t think that’s [Scripps’] style to have a revolving door.”
Since the departure of anchors Clyde Lee and Diane Willis a decade ago, WRTV has lagged well behind WTHR-TV Channel 13 and WISH-TV Channel 8 in local news viewership.
In the past three years, the station's ratings have grown worse. WXIN-TV Channel 59 has expanded its news offerings to become more competitive and put WRTV into fourth place in several time slots.
Before joining WRTV, Finch wrote and produced documentaries for cable networks at Calamari Productions, a video production house. He previously spent six years at WISH, where he was assistant news director before being promoted to news director in 2007.
He also spent 13 years at WTHR, where he was executive producer of special projects and news co-brands.