It’s been almost 10 years since Kingsport had an original news program on WKPT and that’s getting ready to change in early 2013.

According to George Devault, president of Holston Valley Broadcasting, the ABC affiliate will begin a Kingsport news program in early January with a brand new cast including the former WJHL anchorman, Jim Bailey.

Last week at the Kingsport Chamber Afterhours, George was standing around a table with me discussing his 52 years in the business. He’s been at WKPT all of those years and is quite the legend at one time noted as the “golden voice of the South.”

He’s excited about the opportunity to bring back a Kingsport broadcast and he’s assembled a good team including a top notch sales team, energetic new personalities and most important, these folks have been doing a good job networking at most every local networking event  – and that’s a refreshing signal.

In 2002, WKPT ended their local news programming and instead began simulcasting the WJHL newscast from Johnson City. That continued until 2006 and then the lights went out on any regular newscast. Last year, there were some short-lived startups, but for the most part, it’s been close to decade since Kingsport had a local news channel covering the community with any regular consistency.

The time is just about right, but he only question now is – what are they going to do that’s unique?

There’s been a lot of shake-ups in the local TV market in the past year, but that’s going to be the norm for local media as everyone wrestles with the disruptive effect of the Internet.

Last year, Warren Buffet’s Bershire Hathaway bought the Bristol Herald Courier from Media General which owns WJHL.

Not long after that, Jack Dempsey the station manager for WJHL announced he was leaving and moved to WCYB.

Daniel Cates (no relation) has been recruited from Spartanburg, SC and he’s the new station manager in Johnson City and they’ve made some interesting changes including a new brand (seperating themselves from the former TriCities.com moniker) and teaming up the sparkling Sarah Diamond with the equally warm Josh Smith for the key anchor positions.

WCYB is making changes too with the departure of both Ann Heibel and the local legend Johnny Wood at the end of this year.

Now, the landscape is set for a good grudge match to see what happens on local television. With WKPT lighting a fire in Kingsport, we’ll start to see more diverse media coverage and that’s a good thing for the region. Whether or not, they’ll pay attention with the current media avalanche coming from the Internet and social networks is another question altogether. That’s gonna take some real effort to build an audience.

I have no doubt they’ll make some sales and that’s the life force of any business. Television advertising, like radio still has  credibility especially to baby boomer businesses, but at the end of the day – results will make the difference in any form of advertising as Google, Facebook and a thousand flowers continue to bloom moving forward.

George has had an amazing career at WKPT. He started when he was 15 years old. Since then, he’s attracted plenty of talent. In fact, I commented that an alumni roster of WKPT personalities would include many familiar faces – including myself and my brother Keith who works at WFLA in Tampa, Florida.

So stay tuned folks. Kingsport will once have a new perspective for our mountain home and we wish George and his team the very best in the coming year – stay tuned.