Pamela Martin and Bill Good to leave CTV B.C.
Published Thursday, December 9, 2010 9:11AM PST
Pamela Martin and Bill Good announced today they are stepping down from the CTV British Columbia anchor desk after nearly 10 years. The award-winning duo broke the news this afternoon to staff gathered in the newsroom at Robson and Burrard streets in downtown Vancouver. They plan to pass the torch at the end of the year.
Both say they have been thinking about the decision since hosting top-rated CTV News broadcasts during the Olympics in February, and they cite that experience as a key highlight of their storied careers.
Good says he wants to lighten his workload and focus exclusively on hosting his radio show, while Martin says now is the right time for a change. She insists she has no intention of slowing down and will continue her community and charity fundraising work.
They leave the anchor desk after delivering ratings, credibility and awards to a fledgling station that wooed them almost a decade ago.
"Bill and Pamela established CTV as a news leader, and we are deeply grateful," said Tom Haberstroh, vice-president and general manager for CTV British Columbia. "They made us players in this market overnight, quadrupling our ratings in the process."
With Martin and Good at the helm, CTV News at Six has been repeatedly named the best local newscast in Canada by the Radio and Television News Directors Association of Canada (RTNDA). The duo has also been front and centre as CTV British Columbia marked several major broadcasting milestones, including the launch of Chopper 9, the first news helicopter in Western Canada, and last year's transition to high definition as the station became the first -- and still the only -- in B.C. to broadcast news in full HD.
CTV British Columbia says a new anchor team for CTV News at Six will be announced on Wednesday.
END OF AN ERA
As Bill Good and Pamela Martin wrap up their run as the anchors for CTV News at Six, they leave behind a legacy of journalistic excellence. But above all else, they'll be remembered for transforming a fledgling newscast into a trusted, award-winning ratings contender. And they did it almost overnight.
THE GREAT HEIST
It began with what is now remembered as "The Great Anchor Heist of 2001." VTV News had been around since 1997, and while the staff consisted of a dream team of reporters, producers, photographers and editors hand-picked from across the country by the legendary Cameron Bell, what the organization needed was credibility with a notoriously skeptical and highly habituated news viewing public. The first big step in that direction came just after the turn of the millennium when CTV decided to make the station at Robson and Burrard its West Coast affiliate and took that status away from Burnaby's BCTV. The most recognizable and successful news brand in Canada had suddenly landed smack in the middle of downtown Vancouver. But to really seal the deal, the newly formed CTV British Columbia set its sights on two of the most recognizable and successful news anchors in the province.
In 2001, Bill Good was already a B.C. broadcasting legend, with a number one radio talk show on CKNW and more than two decades at the CBC covering the 1972 and 1976 Olympics, Hockey Night in Canada and anchoring the CBC Evening News. He was also a regular on CTV's Sunday Edition and the anchor of BCTV's Canada Tonight. The announcement that Bill Good was leaving BCTV to anchor the new CTV News at Six captured a lot of attention. The biggest shakeup in the history of B.C. broadcasting was on. Suddenly, a new game was in town: a brand everyone recognized, fronted by one of the most trusted names in the business. And that was just the beginning.
If Bill Good was already a legend in 2001, Pamela Martin was already a pioneer. Since 1975, she'd been breaking down barriers in a male dominated industry. After brief stints as a talk show host in Victoria and a beat reporter at CKNW, she was hired as a television reporter for BCTV in 1977 and never looked back. After paying her dues chasing stories across the province for the tough and highly respected Keith Bradbury, it wasn't long before she made history as the first woman to anchor The News Hour. By 2001, Pamela Martin was a powerhouse name in local news and the perfect match for Bill Good. When CTV announced she was joining him as co-anchor of CTV News at Six, the stage was set.
The impact of the dynamic duo was immediate as ratings shot straight up. CTV News at Six vaulted past established news broadcasts at CBC and City TV and settled comfortably into the number two ranking for local news. It hasn't been challenged for that position since. With Bill Good and Pamela Martin, CTV News at Six has frequently held the unique status of being the only television newscast in the market with an audience that is growing, not shrinking, according to the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement. They didn't reach number one during their tenure at CTV, but Bill Good and Pamela Martin put a lock on second, building a rock solid foundation for the next team to reach for the top.
With the ratings came the awards. Soon after Bill and Pamela arrived, The Radio and Television News Directors Association of Canada (RTNDA) declared CTV News at Six the best local newscast, not just in B.C., but in all of Canada. Then it gave Bill and Pamela the national award again. And again. It was an unprecedented triple crown. Then the Edward R. Murrow Foundation in Washington DC took notice and named CTV News at Six the best local newscast in its international category three years running. While Bill and Pamela deserved full credit for being the presenters of the best local newscast around, they also shared in the editorial side of the honours for taking an active role in debating and deciding the content that went into their show. As a radio talk show host, Bill is uniquely qualified to weigh in on which stories people are talking about, and so is Pamela, who frequently drew on her extensive experience in TV news to help the editorial team make tough decisions. Bill and Pamela were also singled out for prestigious individual awards. In 2009, Bill Good was honoured with the Jack Webster Foundation's Bruce Hutchinson Lifetime Achievement Award. A year earlier, Pamela showed she hasn't lost her touch for reporting when she won the RTNDA Award for the best feature story in Canada.
Besides solid ratings and a packed trophy case at the CTV British Columbia studios, Bill Good and Pamela Martin leave behind a legacy of changing the way local news in B.C. is presented. Change is a concept that doesn't come easy in the TV news game. Managers are typically reluctant to try anything new, preferring to stick to the old mantra of, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." That's why, for generations, local news anchors in B.C. only ever appeared inside their studios, sitting down at their familiar anchor desks. But when Bill and Pamela came to CTV, they were keen to try new ideas. The most revolutionary concept: when big news happens, anchors should be on the scene. For the first time in the history of B.C. broadcasting, CTV established a regular tradition of sending the anchors of a flagship newscast to cover major stories. From the forest fires that devastated Kelowna, to the floods that almost washed away Squamish, Bill Good and Pamela Martin anchored the news on location whenever the story demanded it. This groundbreaking step was only possible with two anchors capable of performing outside of the traditional news comfort zone. That's why, when the 2010 Winter Olympics came to town, Bill and Pamela were poised to do something extraordinary. With the biggest story in the world at their doorstep, Bill and Pamela moved outside, with a special news set built right in the middle of Robson Street. The effect was immediate. The CTV News Winter Games Edition set, with Bill and Pamela there every night during the games, became the epicenter of a street party that changed Vancouver forever. Tens of thousands of people made CTV News an essential part of their Olympic experience, thanks to the extraordinary ability of Bill and Pamela to connect to their community.
In the end, however, perhaps the greatest contribution of Bill Good and Pamela Martin is how they've used their high profiles to help others. Bill and Pamela are passionate spokespeople for some of B.C.'s worthiest causes. Raising awareness and money for organizations like the Salvation Army, The United Way, Big Sisters, and The Run for The Cure, just to name a few, has been a shared passion.
When it comes right down to it, Bill Good and Pamela Martin are CTV in British Columbia. The credibility, the profile, the ratings, the innovation, the community initiatives, everything that CTV News represents in B.C. today can be traced back to that shakeup almost a decade ago, when two of the biggest names in news took a chance on turning the new kid in town into a contender. Mission accomplished. For that, Bill Good and Pamela Martin can be very proud. For that, CTV News is very grateful.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Managing Editor Ethan Faber
Do you have a fond memory or farewell wish you would like to send to Pamela and Bill? Please leave your comments below.