On February 12th, WBIR General Manager Jeff Lee made an announcement that has shaken the Knoxville area, as well as those areas and counties surrounding their viewing area. The announcement was, that WBIR has decided to end production of The Heartland Series in September.
This has set off an alarm with thousands of people in the region. This is something that is being fought tooth and nail by the many viewers of WBIR that feel they are being alienated by this decision. They feel that The Heartland Series is a show that means too much to too many people. For many people, this show holds a special a place in their hearts. While Mr. Lee at WBIR has made it clear that old re-runs may still be shown, the thousands of fans pulling for the show believe that there is still far too many stones still left to be unturned, and in this day and age, this is the type of show that can ill-afford to be lost. The fans feel that if a show is going to be taken out of production, it does not need to be the one that means the most to the viewers.
WBIR is one of the few stations that still show quality local programming, and The Heartland Series is the best of the best when it comes to local programming. It's a show that embraces our past, and is proud to teach all about where we came from, and how our ancestors built their lives here in East Tennessee and in Appalachia. The show has become an important part of our local history. As much a part of our history, as the history itself that the show depicts. It is a unique part of this region. It goes a long way in preserving the past for our future generations. To take it away would be a travesty. There are far too many stories left to tell and too many pieces of Appalachian history that have yet not been told.
While the fans and viewers of the show understand that economic times are hard, they also believe that you do not "bite the hand that feeds you." Viewers believe this is exactly what WBIR is doing with this ill thought out decision. The Heartland Series continues to boast fairly large ratings, and is part of the reason WBIR has been so successful over the years. It is what sets WBIR apart from the other stations. It has shown that WBIR cares about the community, and is willing to go against the grain and show something that is so important to the heritage and lives of the thousands of viewers supporting it. The Heartland Series is a show unique to WBIR and in talking to viewers, it is THE reason that a lot of people watch WBIR- not just for it, but because of it. A lot of people have long patronized WBIR and been willing to watch them over the other stations simply because of their "Straight from the Heart" commitment to show things like The Heartland Series.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.