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Ch.7 GM Ransom retiring, too

By Alan Pergament

For the second time in three days, a local television executive has announced that he is retiring.

Bill Ransom, who has been the president and general manager of WKBW-TV for the last 18 years, will be leaving the ABC affiliate at the end of June.

Channel 4 General Manager Chris Musial announced he was retiring from the station three days ago. Musial, 55, is leaving the local CBS affiliate at the end of May.

Ransom's retirement isn't as surprising as Musial's retirement is because of his age and the fact that he has been telling staffers for some time now that he was considering retirement. Some staffers just didn't expect the time to be now.

"I've been thinking about it for a year and I just decided to do it," Ransom said this afternoon in a telephone interview. "I've been at it for 45 years. I've had a fantastic career and had the privilege of working with some of the best people in the industry."

While the release by Granite Broadcasting, Channel 7's parent company, announcing Ransom's retirement didn't mention his age, the Channel 7 GM is 70. That's certainly retirement age. He has been with Granite for 24 years, arriving in Buffalo from its Syracuse station.

Ransom said his retirement plans include helping non-profit groups and "being a service to the community."

Ransom took over Channel 7 when it was No. 1 in local news. During his watch, the retirement of legendary anchor Irv Weinstein, the loss of Oprah Winfrey's talk show as a news lead-in, Buffalo's entry as a metered market and financial problems faced by the station's owners have all contributed to its slide to No. 3 in news locally.

"The people here at Channel 7 are the best I've ever worked with," said Ransom. "They are talented and bright and love a challenge. With maximum resources, they'll get back to being the No. 1 station."

No replacement has been named. Mike Nurse, who has been a station manager for some time, is the most likely in-house candidate to replace Ransom. However, station staffers were told a nationwide search will be conducted for the new GM.

"I'd recommend Mike Nurse," said Ransom, adding he understands the reason for a national search.

In the release announcing Ransom's retirement, Granite Broadcasting COO (chief operating officer) Duane Lammers said Ransom "has been a positive voice for our company, the broadcasting profession and Buffalo, and will be truly missed."

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