I don't always like it when I'm right. I was right in June 2005 when I told Patrick Knorr and the Simons family that it would take five to seven years for them to make KTKA a break even operation. They laughed and shook their heads. Patrick planned to have the station turning a profit. I was dumb enough to believe that he could do it.
I wasn't too dumb to stick around to witness the inevitable. Today KTKA was sold to the company that also owns KSNT in Topeka. It was a combination of things that led to the station's demise. What hurt the most was the economic downturn which none of us could have predicted and the demise of newspapers.
KTKA could have worked if the Simons had been prepared to bleed money for five years. I could see after five months they had no idea of what it would take to win or at least make money, and I started planning my exit. They were too worried about tower cams rather than whether we had a working live truck or access to feeds from CNN and ABC News One. The cuts started coming about six months after I left and never stopped.
I feel bad for the handful of holdovers that I brought to KTKA. They're good, hardworking, television professionals. I hope KSNT holds onto a few of them, but in this cut throat business, one never knows. I also feel bad for the Simons. They care about northeast Kansas and had a wonderful vision for building a great multi-media empire. Unfortunately they couldn't see past the elephant in the room; the printing press and all that ink.