That must have been some afternoon meeting. On Friday, WAVE-TV GM Steve Langford dropped a bombshell on the newsroom — he’s retiring, effective in a couple of weeks.
He’s been there a while (GM since 1998, originally joined the station in 1978), and has been responsible for some innovative programming at WAVE, from being the first in the market to upgrade and carry news online to the most recent launch of a 12:30 talk show, Live at 725. He bounds up the station’s front steps in the show’s opening. Langford’s Hot Button editorials have occasionally gotten the station attention, as Langford has never been shy about taking controversial or unpopular stances.
On the most recent editorial on the website March 3, he was critical of the city’s Landmarks Commission for its treatment of Genny’s Diner owner Frank Faris. On Feb. 21 he praised Mayor Greg Fischer for his handling of the Whiskey Row controversy. On Jan 31 he was critical of the C-J for its coverage of JCPS.
The surprise announcement comes as WAVE completes one of its worst ratings periods in station history, finishing a distant 3rd in every local news time period in which it competes with WHAS and WLKY. And the ratings for the Live at 725 have been disappointing, at best.
Langford has recently overseen major changes in on-air news personnel, primary due to the departures of veterans Tom Wills, John Belski, Jackie Hays and Bob Domine.
So Langford’s retiring at age 58, and says he will spend time traveling with his wife. I doubt he will miss the TV business.
Here’s the station’s announcement to the public:
The man who has led WAVE 3 for the past 13 years is leaving the corner office. Vice president and general manager Steve Langford announced his retirement to the staff during an afternoon meeting on March 4.
Langford, 58, who began his association with WAVE 3 as a sales representative in 1978, called his retirement “a hard decision,” but said “it is the right time.”
As for future plans, Langford said that he would be doing a lot traveling with wife, Melanie.
Before becoming general manager at WAVE, Langford served in the same capacity at WFIE in Evansville. Both stations are owned by Raycom Media of Montgomery, AL.
No announcement has been made about Langford’s replacement.