I'm Leaving WIBW-TV in Topeka... Thank you one and all...

By: Mark Ewing
By: Mark Ewing

I've been trying to avoid people making a fuss over my departure from WIBW-TV, but since it made the local "Topeka Capital-Journal" newspaper, many of you have asked me about it.    So, I think it's time to let our loyal viewers and friends know what I'm doing.

  I'm heading to Wichita, at the end of this month of July,  where I will become the local programming manager of Cox Communications.  Part of, but not the entire responsibility, will be to develop a strategy for what they want to do in regard to local programming.  Some of it will involve some local sports programming.  It will also involve broadcast partners in Topeka and Wichita. WIBW and KAKE-TV in Wichita are the current broadcast partners with Kansas Now 22.   It will also require me to hire outside venders.  My ultimate goal is showcase my great home state in a list of broadcast vignettes to be determined.

    What my involvement is in regard to continueing to broadcast is also to be determined.  If I feel like it's best for the project for me to be on camera, then I will.  If I feel like it would be better if somebody else was the lead broadcaster, then we will go that way.   Regardless of what we come up with, I want it to represent Cox Communications to its serviceable area in a manner that we can all be proud of.  The rest of my job will involve public affairs, and advertising.

   I want to thank a number of people... starting with our great athletes.   I would say the best part of my job has been the assignment of getting the real story from the athletes involved.  From little kids, to the college athletes, to the pros... it's been a blast.  Your kids have been my kids.  Thank you for lettting me tell their story.

   I want to thank the coaches.  From Bill Snyder to Roy Williams to Marty Schottenheimer and to the long list of current coaches.   Thanks for allowing me the time to bend your ear on a number of subjects.  Of course, you know about the local big names of coaching, but let me also express my appreciation for the hundreds of high school coaches who let me in to their world.  We have awesome prep coaches who don't get nearly enough credit for their talents as mentors for our young people.

  I want to thank the athletic directors.  They are the ones who primarily called in their scores to me.  Not a single one of them ever complained about me calling them after hours.   They have, for the most part,  made their teams and athletes available even under difficult circumstances. 

  I want to thank K-U and K-State, WU and ESU sports information directors.  They are the ones responsible for keeping me informed. They are true pros, who allowed me to pitch my request, even when the subject matter was sensitive in regard to their schools.  Not one of them ever told me to get lost.

  And... I want to thank our support people here.  From the bosses, to the anchors, to the photographers, technical people, and engineering staff.... I'll bet every single one of them took time out of their day, and took a score, a phone number, a request, dubbed a tape, shot an interview, game, and hundreds of other things that they weren't obligated to... just because they know how important sports is to our viewers.  And, there's no harder working crew in any station anywhere in the country... I absolutely guarantee that!

   Which brings me to you folks out there.  I've heard a hundred nice things from people since the word got out that I'm leaving here.  Without passionate sports fans, I would not have a job... period.   Other stations have tinkered with the idea of getting rid or, or reducing their sports departments efforts.   You have made it known that you expect not only good sports coverage, but a high level of it.  In that regard, I've always taken the tradition of WIBW-TV in account when making decisions.  Fair, balanced, objective... all sports... a little something for everybody.. viewers dictate coverage.  I'm fully aware that this television station built its reputation around its sports coverage long before I showed up. .  I know that the names that have made it what it is are on a first name basis in the households in this area, forever.   So, to Dev, Max, Fred, Gary, Ron, Greg, Steve... and the long list of talented sports people who have worked under these call letters... let me say I've fulfilled a lifetime goal by hopefully, living up to what they started.... and, I also feel like my predecessors really carved out a name for themselves in the list of great sportscasters after they left here for other responsibilities.   I would love to step into their level of respect, someday.

     So... to you ... Together we turned to the new century ... through lots of changes... many to this job title.  I hope I've lived up to your expectations because it's been my pleasure to have this reponsibility on my watch for the past decade.   Good-bye everybody.


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