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Atlanta News Boss Resigns: “It’s Been a Great Ride”

There are those stations in local news where a news director seems attached to the foundation of the place, and in Atlanta, "longtime WAGA news director Budd McEntee" is one of those people.  He's been the news boss at the station since 1991, which is a helluva long run for anybody in this biz.  But by the end of the week, he'll be "former WAGA news director Budd McEntee."

"It's been a fascinating opportunity and a great ride," McEntee told the AJC's Rodney Ho, hinting the departure--coming weeks after WAGA GM Gene McHugh's--may signal behind the scenes shifts at a station that's been "remarkably stable."

Ho talks to WAGA vet Angeline Hartmann, who describes a conversation she had with McEntee about Channel 5, and how it's more than just another TV station:

“He was passionate about being first, getting it right and getting it on the air,” said Angeline Hartmann, who worked at WAGA-TV from 1996 to 2005 and is now a correspondent at “America’s Most Wanted” in Washington D.C.

She said for people he knew were loyal to WAGA, he treated well. And even when she left, he would joke to her, “You’ll always work for me.” Years later, he would still call her for tips and would ask her when she was returning. (”When you leave WAGA, you have a little 5 carved in your heart,” McEntee added. “It’s a special place where people take care of each other and turn out some of the best storytelling and reporting I’ve ever seen.”)

“The longer you’re there, the more you can appreciate him,” Hartmann said. “I’ve had my share of him calling me into his office letting me know he wasn’t happy about this or that. But he made me a better reporter and helped me develop a thick skin.”

She said she was shocked he was stepping down: “We always thought he’d die there!”

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  1. Budd — Good luck and great job! Karen Burkett ’94 to ’97 when we went from CBS to Fox.

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