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Meet John Doe: We’re losing both ‘Erics’ at WREX … but why?

February 6, 2014

By Paul Gorski

The local news world received a double-whammy of startling news recently. First, Eric Sorensen, chief meteorologist for WREX TV, announced he would be leaving his position with WREX by July, if not earlier. Then, it was announced Eric Wilson was no longer employed as a news anchorman at the same station. Both “Erics” are well respected within their fields and are local TV fan favorites.

Reader comments at “Eric Wilson leaves WREX” posted online Jan. 30 (http://rockrivertimes.com/local-news/2014/01/30/eric-wilson-leaves-wrex/) and “Eric Wilson comments on departure from WREX” posted online (http://rockrivertimes.com/happening-now/2014/02/03/eric-wilson-comments-on-departure-from-wrex/) indicate strong support for these mainstays of local television. Some readers have posted their opinions why Eric Wilson was no longer at WREX, but apparently only Wilson and WREX know the full story.

You didn’t even have to be a regular WREX viewer to know these guys. Wilson had been with WREX nearly 20 years and Sorensen 10 years. You might recognize them just from periodically scanning the channels. They’d show up at all sorts of local events, too, both being very involved in the local community.

Public response to this news has been so strong because we volunteer who to watch, who to let into our homes, who to listen to for local news and weather. When you take our choice away, well, we get irked.

I met Wilson years ago during an early political campaign, and I seem to remember him asking some blunt questions, not just softball stuff. If memory serves me right, I think he told me, “You’re a long shot.” My reply was, “And that’s why I’m news.”

I had a friend, “Big Bob,” who was a local NOAA weather spotter. He didn’t watch local TV weather news usually, as he’d proclaim, “I have a direct connection to the source!” But I do remember Bob saying he thought Sorensen did a better job than average with his weather predictions; that was high praise coming from “Big Bob.”

So, with so much love and praise being heaped on the two “Erics,” why wouldn’t you do whatever you could to keep them at your station? I don’t have the answer to that. I like all the local television stations, but news staff turnover is a fact of life. We are a small market. Many reporters and meteorologists get a start here, but then move on after a few years; that’s by design.

However, the two “Erics” don’t fit that mold or pattern; both could have retired here. I hope they both stay in town.

Post your comments, best wishes and other kind thoughts online below.

Paul Gorski (paul@paulgorski.com) is a Cherry Valley Township resident who also authors the Tech-Friendly column seen in this newspaper. Read “Tech-Friendly” at: http://rockrivertimes.com/?s=tech-friendly.

Posted Feb. 5, 2014

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