Shakeup at WCSH-TV Unrelated to Prostitution Case
By Al Diamon
O’Brien ouster update: Last week, the Portland Press Herald fueled the rumor mill by running a story that indicated the abrupt departure of Maureen O’Brien as news director at WCSH-TV in Portland was somehow related to the decision to let Channel 6 meteorologist Joe Cupo do an on-air interview in which he denied being one of the johns in the Kennebunk prostitution case.
I’m not sure where the Press Herald got that idea, but in talks with several people, both at WCSH and elsewhere in the industry, it seems clear there was no connection between the two events.
According to one person with knowledge of what went down, O’Brien had found herself increasingly in conflict with upper management in recent months. “Even though she’s been at the station forever,” said the source, “every time there’s a change at the top, it’s like everything you’ve done before doesn’t count. You have to start all over to prove yourself to some new boss who doesn’t know a thing about you or the market.”
Another source confirmed the disagreements came to a head last week, coincidentally right after the Cupo story aired.
“[O’Brien’s] leaving was unrelated to all that,” the insider said. “The timing was just unfortunate.”
The ousting of an established news director has had repercussions at WCSH, where stability has long been a hallmark. “People are edgy,” said one staffer. “There’s a sense things are going to change, but no one seems to know how.”
LaMarche on the loose: Pat LaMarche went on the air on Nov. 15 and announced that it was her last day as morning co-host on Stephen King-owned WZON (103.1 FM) in Bangor. LaMarche, a former Green Party candidate for Maine governor and U.S. vice president, had been at the progressive talk station since 2011. She didn’t say what she plans to do next.
West End news from the east: As noted here a couple of months ago, the West End News, a neighborhood monthly covering the Portland peninsula, ceased print publication with its November issue. Owner Ed King made that decision because he’s moved to Russia, where his partner has a teaching job.
But WEN isn’t quite gone.
Last week, King put out the first edition of an online version called the International West End News, promising to somehow cover his old neighborhood from Volgograd.
King said he’ll continue to do that while seeking a buyer for the paper. He’s asking $20,000. I’m not sure what that comes to in rubles.
Bangor boxes in Portland: The Bangor Daily News has taken another step in its efforts to attract readers in southern Maine. Last week, the Bangor paper put street boxes in Portland’s Monument Square. The boxes offer the BDN, which normally sells for a dollar, for free.
Spilled beer: The Nov. 12 issue of Mainebiz contained its annual listing of the state’s largest breweries. Shipyard Brewing was, as usual, number 1 by a wide margin.
Actually, a little too wide.
In an oversight that even beer goggles can’t explain away, Mainebiz neglected to include Allagash Brewing, the state’s second largest producer.
Maybe the editor doesn’t like Belgian-style ale. Or maybe somebody had a bit too much while proofreading.
Al Diamon can be emailed at email@example.com.