Monday, March 18, 2013
Brad Watson is leaving WFAA-Channel 8 after 34 years
He's moving to PR.
DALLAS Brad Watson turns 60 this year, and the longtime WFAA-Channel 8 reporter-anchor and Inside Texas Politics host says he could stick around till he’s 65 without breaking a sweat. But that’s not going to happen: On Twitter this afternoon, Watson announced that after 34 years on the air, he’s leaving WFAA and going to Luminant to serve as director of communications for the power provider.
The decision to leave wasn’t an easy one, he said in an interview today.
“There’s a strong gravitational pull here,” he said. “I started here when I was 25. I was hired by Marty Haag, and I’ve grown up here, and this has always been my home in so many ways. No, it was not easy. It was not something I was looking for.”
The gig came looking for him, he says — well, Allan Koenig did, anyway. He’s the former assignments editor at WFAA now at Luminant, who called Watson a few months back and asked if he was interested in making a career change. “I’m always interested in listening,” Watson says. So he listened. Then he talked it over with his family and WFAA and Belo Corp. executives. He says he only made his final decision to leave “within the last couple of weeks.”
As Ed Bark noted via Twitter, Watson’s only the latest in a long line of former WFAA-ers to make the leap from journalism to the world of public relations, joining the likes of Craig Civale, Cynthia Vega, Chris Hawes, and Casey Norton. Debbie Denmon should also be on that list: She’s now the spokesperson for the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office. And there have been others.
I asked Watson about making the transition to PR — about being the guy giving the answers instead of asking the questions.
“If you’re fair and accurate and respectful you’ll do alright,” Watson says. “I also carry into this the personal longtime knowledge of what news people need. I think it’s important to confront issues and deal with all sides of that.”
Watson’s resignation comes on the very day that the Pew Research Center notes that TV journalism has ceded much of its news hole to stories dealing with weather, sports, and traffic. Watson says that had nothing to do with his decision to leave.
“WFAA still has an overarching interest and commitment to journalism,” he says. “All industries have changed. This one has, too. But it’s still important to put on good newscasts that are informative.”
Watson says his last day will be around April 15, give or take.
We’ll have more in tomorrow’s Dallas Morning News.