Mark Higgins, a relative newcomer to Hartford’s WTNH Channel 8, has decided that enough is enough. According to TVSpy, Higgins told non-renewed meteorologist Geoff Fox that he would not be returning to News 8. This comes after initial reports that stated Fox would continue to remain on-air until his contract expired.
Higgins has been the general manager of WTNH and their sister station WCTX (MyTV9) since June 2009. Since his hiring, the station has made numerous changes, including the decision to drop longtime branding NewsChannel8 in favor of a simpler News8 moniker. The station has also made an array of talent shuffles, with Fox being most notable. According to Fox’s blog, Higgins stated that Fox would not return to the airwaves because “all of this has become a distraction.” Hit the jump for reaction from Fox himself.
Many Channel 8 viewers, outraged at the station’s decision to drop the 26-year veteran of the station, began a Facebook group to protest the move. Keep Geoff Fox on Channel 8 attracted nearly 10,000 fans, but the effort was not only unsuccessful, but counterproductive. Fox posted a message of gratitude on his blog, stating:
Don’t think your voices weren’t heard. They were. They have had a most profound effect on me and my family.
People are let go from jobs every day, but few are blessed with the kind of warm and loving outpouring you have given me. You have made this awful situation bearable. In many ways your response has made it all worthwhile!
Some of you told me how I’ve touched or even became part of your family. The more I read the more I understood the depth of your emotion. It’s a two-way street. I care just as deeply for and about you.
I had 26 years at 8 Elm Street. That’s a helluva run. Nothing can take that away.
As anyone with that kind of tenure can tell you it wasn’t always perfect, but it was very good. Up until my last day on-the-air I was treated with respect. I will have nothing bad to say about WTNH and LIN.
Fox also stated that he has been in talks with other local stations as well as searching out-of-market for a new job. The btvn forum highlighted the group’s efforts over the weekend, but the waves of change that have effected the industry as a whole were too much for viewer support.