BANGOR, Maine — Craig Colson never left the Bangor media market, but he says being named the new news director for Bangor TV stations WVII and WFVX feels like a homecoming.
Colson, who spent nearly 25 years working at Bangor TV station WABI, Channel 5, will back in the Bangor television news picture soon as news director and anchorman for sister stations Channel 7 and 22.
“I’ve always loved TV news. That’s what I was trained to do,” said Colson, 46. “I pretty much spent my whole adult life doing it and I thought at some point along the line I’d be back doing TV, so I’m excited about this.”
For the last 3½ years, Colson has been the news director for four Brewer-based local radio stations now owned by Townsquare Media.
Colson worked his way up from an 18-year-old photographer when he was hired by WABI-TV in 1985, to field reporter, weekend anchorman and evening-late night anchorman before being let go as part of a staff downsizing and budget-cutting move by the station in April 2009.
“I didn’t like the way things ended with my last job in TV,” Colson said. “This is kind of like a new beginning for Channel 7 news and me. It’s a great opportunity and the people there have been so welcoming already.”
Mike Palmer, general manager of WVII and WFVX, couldn’t be reached for comment, but said on the stations’ website, “We are very excited about Colson and look forward to working with him.”
Colson’s official on-air start date has not yet been determined.
“I’m going to work for radio two more weeks and help train someone to get ready,” Colson said. “I plan to start working TV on Dec. 26, and maybe start on the air in early January.”
Colson replaces Cindy Michaels, who resigned as news director and anchorwoman on the air during a newscast last month after six years with WVII-TV.
“I think this is exactly what this market needs. Competition makes everything better,” he said.
WVII has historically finished third in the local TV news market ratings. In the most recent Nielsen ratings for the Bangor Designated Marketing Area taken last July, WABI-TV ranked first in average viewers, ages 18 and older, for 6 p.m. Monday-Friday with 36,000. WLBZ-TV, Channel 2, had 20,000, and WVII-TV had 2,000. In average number of adult viewers (ages 25-54) from 6 to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, WABI ranked first at 10,500; WLBZ at 6,300; and WVII at 500. WFVX joined the market in 2003 as a Fox affiliate and WVII’s sister station.
“They’ve struggled for a lot of years, having their little niche at No. 3 and now they want to get more competitive with the news, especially their 10 o’clock report,” Colson said of WVII. “ They’re making an investment in it. They’re serious about it, and if they weren’t I wouldn’t be interested in this position.”
Colson said he still gets comments from local viewers who tell him they miss him on TV.
“Everywhere I go I hear that. It’s not as frequent as it used to be, but I still hear it,” Colson said. “I think it’s great that people are so supportive.”