Is Andy Wise About to Be on The Competition’s Side?!!!!!!Wait Let Me Now Add Breaking News!!!!!

THIS IS A JOELARKINS BLOG UPDATE!!!!!!!(Roll the Breaking News Open)


*****This following is an excerpt from AW’s farewell letter to his co-workers:

I submitted my resignation to Ron and Bruce this morning, effectively at the expiration of my contract Dec. 31. I have accepted a position at Action News 5 to start Jan. 1. I will be able to discuss more details about that at another time very soon.

This is an opportunity to take what I do to the next level — and to produce appointment-television segments based on ideas I have created, ideas that haven’t seemed to gain traction at News Channel 3.

Here is the official news release from WMC:

MEMPHIS, TN December 21, 2007—The Mid-South’s premier newscast and best known Investigative Reporter are joining forces in an unprecedented move: Investigative Reporter Andy Wise is leaving WREG to join WMC-TV and Action News 5.

Wise is a long-time consumer investigative specialist who is instantly recognizable to Mid-South viewers as a no-nonsense, hard-hitting reporter. With Wise joining “The Action News 5 Investigators” there can be little doubt that WMC-TV5 has cornered the market for television investigative reporting.

“For generations, Mid-Southerners have trusted the tradition of broadcast journalism at Action News 5. They grew up watching it. Their parents grew up watching it. Now in the age of HDTV, I am thrilled to be a part of producing ground-breaking segments for WMC-TV and that will set a new standard for consumer protection in this generation,” said Action News 5’s Andy Wise.

Andy Wise began his broadcast news career at Raycom Media sister station WLOX in Biloxi, Mississippi, in 1991. He eventually took over the investigative unit at Raycom’s WLBT in Jackson, Mississippi, before moving to Memphis in 1997.

“Mid-South viewers know exactly what they’re going to get when they see one of his investigative stories on television: hard nosed, relentless, top notch reporting, aimed at helping our viewers. He’s a perfect fit for our news team. We’re extremely proud to welcome him as another addition to our great team,” WMC-TV 5’s News Director Tracey Rogers comments.

WMC-TV5 Vice President and General Manager Lee Meredith said, “We’ve admired Andy’s work for years. We know people in the Mid-South look to Andy as a leader because of the way he helps them deal with many different types of consumer problems. We have a great team of journalists at Action News 5, and Andy’s abilities in consuner reporting are a perfect complement to our established strengths.”

Mr. Wise will begin his duties at WMC-TV5 on January 2, 2008; however due to existing contractual obligations, Wise will produce consumer investigative stories behind the scenes throughout 2008 and will be seen and heard on Action News 5 beginning January 1, 2009.

There’s little doubt that one of the best known TV reporters in the Memphis market is Andy Wise. His “IN YOUR FACE” reporting style and “I’LL WRING ANSWERS FROM YOU NO MATTER WHAT” interviews have attracted viewers from the get-go. Some watch because they believe in Andy. Others watch because they’re waiting to see someone “clean his clock”. Word has it that AW is moving across town. Word has been circulating this past week that WMC was picking up somebody in the market but it wasn’t clear who that was. If AW does goes to WMC, then score a major coup for the folks on Union. I liked AW when I worked with him although our paths didn’t cross that much. He is a focused individual and will tell you (his bio used to, I don’t know if it still does) that he considers what he does as part of a ministry. AW was named employee of the year by the NYTimes a couple of years ago. You do not want to stand between AW and where he wants to go be it a bad guy or a goal. That’s one of the reasons he’s been successful in the Memphis market. And his name recognition is about as good or better than most of the anchors at the local level. What about a non-compete you may ask? Anybody who really wants somebody will either pay it off or put them in a behind the scene’s position to work off the N-C. A year is nothing. The competing stations were willing to do that when they were bidding for Joe Birch to get him away from WMC a few years back. It’s not personal, it’s just business.

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29 Comments on “Is Andy Wise About to Be on The Competition’s Side?!!!!!!Wait Let Me Now Add Breaking News!!!!!”

  1. Doug J. Says:

    WOW — it would be a coup for 5 to get Wise (“get wise” — I made a funny!)… I remember asking the ND who hired Andy whether he worried about someone making him a better offer… He told me that he had the Wise-man signed to a long long-term deal.

    It’s been my experience that it’s hard to reporters to become well know in a market — even with years of experience — anchors, who get so much more camera time, are usually much better known. It’s a testament to Andy that he’s become so well known — not only through promotion, but through the force of his personality.

    Either way, good for him. I’ve always liked Andy — and he’s always said pretty good things about me — so if he moves to Midtown — I’ll watch him there.

  2. joelarkins Says:

    This is an FYI for readers. The previous post by Doug J. came in before the departure of Andy was confirmed and before he was escorted from the station DOTR>

  3. Richard.... Says:

    This is just another reason for me to start watching WMC more often.
    I like Andy myself and wish him the best!

  4. James Says:

    I am so sad to see there is a non-compete clause here. Andy is sooooo good at what he does. It is the viewing public that really pays the price here. Joe, did you have a NC clause? What are your thoughts. Would they go away if everybody refused to sign them or is it a requirement to get in the door or get the job. What about weather and anchor people? Do they know what their coworkers make and if they have NC clauses?

  5. joelarkins Says:

    Non-competes are a fact of life in many businesses including the broadcast industry. At most stations it is primarily the on-air people who are required to sign N-Cs although a growing number of videographers and producers are required to sign them as well. The station managers figure that they invest money in training and promoting people, especially those on-air folks and they don’t want them to waltz across town. In fact, in most cases those who leave a station end up leaving town because they need to support themselves and/or a family. The way the broadcast NCs I’m familiar with are set up means a competing station can buy out a NC which is usually equivalent to a couple years’ salary or they can hire the on-air person to do stuff behind the scene. That;s the case with AW. This is one of the only times I can think of in recent times that a station has so wanted someone in Memphis that they’d do that. Scoring Andy is a big deal for WMC. He has ten years of heavy promotion behind him from WREG. To answer your other question, I don’t know of anybody on-air in Memphis who doesn’t have a NC. As to whether they know what their co-workers make, I can’t answer that part. Will non-competes go away? In some states they’ve been ruled illegal and efforts to achieve that in Tennessee failed in the state legislature. Some GMs say not having a NC for talent would prompt them to pay talent less. I’m not so sure about that. I think it’s whatever the market will bear and if someone is highly sought after, they’ll pay what they need to pay.
    And finally, did I have a NC? Yes and when I was offered some work on a channel carried not locally but on a satellite channel, I asked if that would cause a problem with the folks DOTR who replied that it would. An attorney told me I could fight it and more than likely win but the corporate folks have deep pockets and I don’t so I passed on the project. I think some corporations abuse the NCs knowing most average news people don’t have the bucks to challenge it and they keep them scared. It worked on me.

  6. Richard.... Says:

    So with Andy going to work behind the scenes, can he take his “segments” such as “Does It Work….” and do them at the other station with someone else doing the commentary?

  7. joelarkins Says:

    I’m sure that WMC would like to take the “Does It Work” moniker. However, while WREG may not have that copyrighted, they may some sort of rights to it. This in light of the fact that after WREG built the Storm Team brand and did not copyright it, WMC I believe under the direction of Bill Applegate did register the name and promptly served WREG with a cease and desist order which as you might imagine chapped some serious management rears DOTR. I doubt if the folks DOTR would get caught twice with their corporate pants down.
    Besides, whatever they call it at WMC, they’ve still got AW who, thanks to WREG’s promotions and marketing and sweat equity on the part of AW is very very powerful. This kind of reminds me of when David Letterman switched over to CBS from NBC. Still, keep in mind that no matter how good somebody is, he or she can always be replaced. Don’t believe me? The cemetery is full of people who “couldn’t be replaced. ”
    I also found some interesting reading on the Mediaverse blog about the AW move. One post supposedly from a former co-worker of AW indicated that Mr. Wise’s ego is out of control and that a steady supply of Advil should be purchased now by the folks at WMC. Sour grapes? Perhaps. Or perhaps it goes back to the old adage: Sometimes it’s better to want something than to have it.

  8. Kristin Says:

    “One post supposedly from a former co-worker of AW indicated that Mr. Wise’s ego is out of control and that a steady supply of Advil should be purchased now by the folks at WMC.”

    Maybe it wasn’t his ego, rather an open display of emotion and annoyance that had previously been bottled up. I’ve seen it happen with loyal, longtime employees in a couple of companies I have worked for(not a media person here) and upon departure they were also classed as jerks. A stifling corporate attitude can turn the nicest guy into a completely different person.

  9. Sudsy Says:

    The fact that WMC-TV5 Vice President and General Manager Lee Meredith can’t spell “comsuner” has “set a new standard for consumer protection in this generation,”

  10. Matt Says:

    Non competes are some of the weakest legal clauses out there. So many on air folks are scared of litigation yet no company in their right mind would EVER take someone to court over it. TN is a right to work state and how do you argue that an individual is not allowed to work wherever they please? A manager might threaten legal action, but at the end of the day it’s not in the company’s best interest to throw a bunch of cash to some lawyers for a case they KNOW they will lose. NC’s should be a thing of the past, it’ll just take a couple of gutsy, intelligent on air folks to take on the system and Andy would be perfect for this role. He should take some time off with his family for the holidays and then churn stories for the first of the year.

  11. ned Says:

    Sorry folks, but WREG won’t be hurt by Andy’s leaving. I work with him. (Make that worked with him.) There’s nothing about corporate attitude that created Andy’s Ego.
    He claimed many times he was “97 percent responsible” for WREG winning. Yet he has been able to do less and less over the years. Why? Because he’s gone way overboard. The former press secretary for Mayor Herenton had a restraining order out on Andy, prohibiting him from getting within 50 feet of her. The County Mayor refused to talk with him because of e-mails Andy sent where he indicated that in his opinion, the man was not fit for office. His fight with the serial drunk driver this year was really the last straw. Raw tape showed Andy stalking this guy for block after block…creating the tension that finally erupted. For all you so-called media experts who think Andy’s leaving will hurt consider this. 30 year vet Jerry Tate left WREG. The very next book after he left, the station became number one. Wise is a creation of his own promotion.
    He’ll be off the air for a year…and he’ll be out of sight, and out of mind for most viewers.
    And frankly, there wasn’t one single person in the newsroom upset when we heard he was leaving. The same can’t be said for the folks on Union Avenue.

  12. Andy Wise Says:

    I can’t just sit here while “Ned” or “Deep Throat” or whoever this anonymous coward is disparages me, so here goes…

    I never, ever said I was “97 percent responsible” for WREG being number 1. I simply never said that. WREG’s success is a total team effort, and I have always believed that.

    Gail Jones Carson has never had a restraining order against me. That simply isn’t true. She and I had our problems and our run-in’s, but there’s never been something as ridiculous as a restraining order. You just made that up.

    Concerning Mayor Wharton: three years ago, I was researching a potential story in the wake of the Tom Jones conviction…remember, Jones was a mayoral aide who went to prison for charging more than $40,000 in personal expenses on his county credit card. I had been in an on-going e-mail dialogue with a county source. Shortly after former mayoral aide Bobby Lanier and county press secretary Susan Adler Thorp betrayed Mayor Wharton and fixed the paperwork so that Jones would be able to retain his county pension despite his felony conviction, Mayor Wharton asked for their resignations…then promptly placed Lanier on his re-election campaign payroll. I had written to that source that Wharton putting Lanier on that payroll “…was a reason to vote against him.” That e-mail was leaked to Wharton, and the mayor confronted me at a county commission meeting about it. I told him to his face that I support what I wrote…I believed it was inproper to place a man who betrayed not only him but also the county taxpayers on his campaign payroll. I voted for Wharton twice, and I told him as one of his constituents, I felt betrayed. I should be able to have that kind of dialogue with my elected officials, period. To this day, Mayor Wharton and I still enjoy a steady dialogue and professional relationship. I’ve done many interviews with him since my statement. Again, “ned’s” statement is untrue.

    The only reason I followed Ronald Woods for so long after departing the courthouse that day was because my photographer and I felt it was important to visually document how he left downtown that day. He is a court-declared habitual DUI offender whose license had been revoked. We both felt it was not only journalistically responsible but also socially responsible to videotape whether he left in his own vehicle because if he DID drive off on his own, he would be in violation of his bond in the attempted murder of the police officer. That’s my job. I didn’t go looking for that fight…I want to go home to my wife and kids. He’s the one who led us on a wild goose chase, which made us both believe that he WAS alone and didn’t want to be seen leaving in a way that would violate his bond conditions.

    So…”ned”…you are a liar and a coward. Get your facts straight…and scare up enough courage to put your name to your comments. Andy Wise.

  13. ned Says:

    Andy you simply aren’t telling the truth. And this isone of your troubles. You weren’t allowed within 50 feet of Gale Carson. I know, because I was in the newsroom the day she called Michele and complained. I’ll gladly play the raw tape of you stalking Ronald Woods for any jury, and see what they had to say. You were less than 4 feet behind him and followed him for several city blocks. It wasn’t journalism. It was ridiculous.
    You were removed from covering politics because your conservative beliefs would often just sort of creep in and color your stories. Andy, best of luck to you at Channel 5. But we know the truth over here. And they’ll learn for themselves soon, what kind of package they’ve received. Now calm down and take a little target practice.

  14. Kevin M. Says:

    I’ll miss you Andy. We had fun.

  15. AN5 Employee Says:

    I can tell you the announcement at WMC was met with disappointment and disbelief. The management may be excited AW is coming to AN5, but the employees overwhelmingly are not. When the note went out, one of the anchors actually stood up and shouted to the newsroom, “Oh my God, that’s crazy.” Andy, you can spin and try to justify your wrestling fight with Ronald Woods all you want, but I can tell you we won’t put up with any antics here.

  16. JD Says:

    Hey Joe:
    I think everyone should lighten up on Andy Wise. He does what he is paid to do no more nor less. He reports what he sees and insures that it ends up in more than just a 10 second sound byte. His reports draw viewers and in the end, that is the name of the game, along with paying sponsors. His work helps pay the bills and the salaries of the station’s employees.

    Ed Murrow once said: “We are in the same tent as the clowns and the freaks. That’s show business.” Television is show business!

    Television has not moved one iota from it’s beginnings. That is to entertain. Period. Andy Wise is not alone out there in being deliberately confrontational toward public figures of the infamous and famous. The term “Antics” has a wide definition. Funny man or Funny Woman anchors and giggly reporters are now the norm. The public is more interested in Anna Nicole pinching a dump before she died or Marie Osmand coming down with crab lice as she danced.

    Ed Murrow further said: “We cannot make good news out of bad practice.” Television news has yet to pick up on this statement of fact after nearly 70 years. If you want the news and to be informed…watch the first 3 minutes. The rest is filled with how much rain is pouring on a mud turtle in Florida or how a Gila monster is getting sun in Arizona.

    Good luck at 5 Andy, and good night.

  17. ned Says:

    JD you even mentioning Andy Wise and Ed Murrow in the same paragraph is laughable. Murrow understood ethics. Murrow realized that as a reporter, he could never confront a politician and tell him why he wouldn’t be voting for him. Andy’s fight with AC Wharton is an example of a reporter whose ego grew out of control. WE DON’T LET POLITICIANS KNOW WHERE WE STAND ON ISSUES. We must maintain being objective. Certainly, each reporter might have a strong opinion on a subject, but we never, and I mean never express that opinion to somebody we cover.

    His talking about his faith on the air, and then blistering those who criticized him shows he cares about Andy and only Andy. If you read his website and saw that he endorsed certain types of ammunition for his gun, shows a man who, once again, has lost his ethics. Andy is a disgrace. And nobody, and I mean nobody here at NC3 is the least bit upset about Andy. We are a much better newsroom without him.

  18. JD Says:

    I can’t argue with you regarding your first hand knowledge of Mr. Wise. I can only relate to the experience of having observed various reporters and the work they do.

    On the other hand, being a lifelong student of “The Murrow Way” I can say in all candor that Mr. Wise does blur the line between reporting the story and becoming the story on occasion. At one time this was not tolerated by anyone, but is now. The reason being…the “bottom line.” People want to be entertained. They want to escape the day to day activity when they turn on the television. They want to be isolated from their existence. They do not want a civics lesson nor a lesson in morals. They will tune in to see a bogus politician or a perceived one, called to task by a reporter. Sponsors know this and will spend commercial money on any show that presents this.

    The way I see it is Mr. Wise draws sponsors and that in turn pays the bills. Your station management sees it that way too. Trust me. If he doesn’t perform…he gets the axe. If he gets no return on the investment…he’s gone. If he goes too far he will get reigned in.

    Norm Brewer’s commentary is about as close as you are going to get to the way it should have been. Note I said should have been. Note how long his commentaries are. His words are short but to the point and make you think. The public wants a short dialogue and that’s it. ( He used to do some tremendous reporting jobs at 5 long ago and I wish some of them were still around for journalism classes) Now the public wants a long, detailed story about how Marie Osmond fought off Cojo’s sexual advances on E.T.

    I tell my pedogogues to give me an arrogant reporter anytime over one that just sloughs through an assignment. (Note I said arrogant and not offensive) Mr. Wise may be gone but who will 3 bring on board next? Somebody much worse (in your opinion) is probably on the horizon at this very moment.

    Another thought is the videographer. Do you feel that the reporter and the videographer form a “3rd personality” when they are working?
    You mention Mr. Wise and AC Wharton. Mr. Wharton is a very polished man. Articulate, respectful and a quick thinker on his feet. Never the less, the public relishes it when the gold statue has clay feet and it is exposed. Mr. Wise probably exploited this but, if it was wrong then your station upper echelon should have disciplined him. Did they?

    I paraphrase Murrow again: “We are in the same tent as the clowns and the freaks. That’s show business.” Bear in mind ned, i submit these words in that they may satisfy your mind and leave the identifying of who is who up to you. (I wish you could get a chance to observe Marc Perrusquia of the Commercial Appeal conducting and interview. He has a very unique and extrememly objective way of getting the facts and reporting these facts only. No color/No slant/No dog and pony. He is a “REPORTER”.)

    Sorry about the use of bandwith Joe but I relish a good discourse!

  19. Bob Says:

    The days of any individual making a dramatic impact on local television news ratings are long gone. Look around the Memphis television market. Many of the people who are on the air today were on the air across the street yesterday.

    It’s an interesting game of checkers that has no lasting impact beyond initial promotional opportunities. The “buzz” created is inside baseball that may get the stations’ employees excited, but it has no relevance and little value to the viewer.

    If WMC makes it work, great. However, I believe within a year Wise will be just another brick in the local television news wall. That’s not a criticism of Wise — it’s an observation based on market and television history.

  20. AN5 employee Says:

    I am willing to give Andy a fresh start. He has a lot of experience, he has been successful in Memphis and I think if he treats people the way he wants to be treated he’ll make friends real fast! Bring it on Andy!! Welcome!

  21. Cathy Says:

    I’m just an average Joe from Blytheville and all the girls in this office where I work think that Andy Wise is the greatest. We’ll try to catch him on whichever station he’s working at! Andy don’t let the hater’s get to you. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a big ego–it just keeps everybody on their toes trying to keep up. Keep it real Andy and we’ll keep watching for you!!

  22. ned Says:


    If you and your friends at work base your news viewership on one person, let me say that we at NewsChannel 3 are happy to see you leave. By the way sweetie, it’s going to be at least a year before you see old Andykins on the air. As far as his ego, may you have the joy of spending a day with him in a very small room.

  23. Cathy Says:

    Dang ned–don’t be so negative about some things, be happy for people. Just because you and AW maybe didn’t get along that well doesn’t mean he’s not a nice person and fun to watch on TV, and you’re probably a nice person as well–don’t be so hateful though. And I do like channel 3 news–watch it every day to see what’s going on in Memphis, but I’ll still try to catch Andykins when he’s back on the air. Be nice Ned and Happy New Year.

  24. Richard.... Says:

    Wow! Ned states to Cathy that the folks at News 3 will be happy to see her leave? I guess that applies to me also.
    I’m guilty of surfing the morning news shows from 5:30am till at least 7am and I usually wind up on the Fox News Channel.
    So maybe both stations are happy to see me go?

  25. Jon Says:

    Gee, Ned! I see your the lone spokesperson for all of NewsChannel 3. And, given the hint that you were alone in a small room with him poses the question-are you the guy that fell out of the chair with he tried to tell you it was recalled?

  26. Jon Says:

    Gee, Ned! I see you’re the lone spokesperson for all of NewsChannel 3. And, given the hint that you were alone in a small room with him poses the question-are you the guy that fell out of the chair when he tried to tell you it was recalled?

  27. Another AN5 Employee Says:

    You all seriously need to get off Andy Wise! He was the reason a LOT of people even watched Channel 3!
    I don’t know about you all but he is going to SET… IT.. OFF!!!

  28. Jason Says:

    I’m looking fwd to seeing Andy back in action on ACTION NEWS 5! Oh, and this NED person sounds like a coward and a backstabber. I bet he’s someone that smiles in your face while talks behind your back. Way to go Ch3 for having folks like that! LMAO! What a joke!

  29. michael Says:

    yes Iwill miss andy from the station but a chance to move forward is sometime a move to the other side to the competors .in order tomove forward we has to move .to get to work we has to move to have the things we need in life so andy had to move to advance his ideas and so one else gave him a chance .we all have change jobs even we has change places in which we live .so move andy Iam on your side

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