Former local broadcasters Bill Murphy and Victoria Lim return to TV on Bright House Networks' cable channels
On Aug. 1, he’ll join cable provider Bright House Networks’ Tampa Bay On Demand selection of video-on-demand programs, presenting a series of profiles on local entertainment establishments called Murphy’s Hot Spots.
Piggybacking off his expertise developed filming WTVT’s One Tank Trips segments, Murphy expects to film a couple of 12-minute segments a month in downtown St. Petersburg, Ybor City, Sarasota Lakeland and Pasco County, among other locations.
“I went to the doctor, and he diagnosed me with Brett Favre syndrome,” said Murphy, 63, who left WTVT on Jan. 4 2008 -- starting his Florida Day Tours travel service just as the sinking economy was battering tourism in the state. “After a year and half away, I’m not ready for full-time shuffleboard anymore.”
And Murphy isn’t the only area broadcaster joining the cable company. Victoria Lim, a former consumer reporter at WFLA-Ch. 8, will join the Bright House Sports Network (once known as the Catch 47 sports channel) on Aug. 17, serving as an investigative reporter and occasional anchor for the expanding channel.
Controlled by the family-owned Advance/Newhouse company, Bright House presents news channels with twin purposes; generating advertising revenue while also serving as an inducement for subscribers to buy the cable TV service.
Terry Dolan, vice president and general manager at Bright House’s Bay News 9 cable channel, noted that even as local broadcasters have laid off personnel and cut back, “we’ve had no layoffs, no furloughs and people are getting raises . . . We provide significant value to Bright House past the advertising revenue”
Lim left WFLA in November 2007, before the recent, crushing wave of cutbacks and layoffs which have buffeted the NBC affiliate. Back then, ready for a new challenge after 20 years in a newsroom, she said her dream job would be tackling investigations for HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel.
“I currently play sports, I'm a fan, and I'm a journalist,” wrote Lim, e-mailing the St. Petersburg Times from Hangzhou, China, where she is teaching multi-platform reporting. “Sports isn't just a form of recreation and entertainment. It's business. It also brings people together in times of tragedy, it crosses cultures, it teaches life lessons. How can you NOT want to be a part of something like that?”
“It’s a natural progression for us as we grow into a regional sports network,” said Paul Kosuth, station manager at BHSN. “We’ll look at sports stories we want deeper coverage on, and she’ll work on those ideas.”
For Murphy, his part-time work at Bright House offers a way to keep his hand in television work at a time when jobs are scarcer than ever. “And if this all works out," he said, laughing, "I might hit them up for free cable.”