Barrick back: Local boy takes news director job

Ric Barrick's first job in television was as a weekend telecaster on NBC Channel 29. Now, after 15 years in the biz, he's coming back to Charlottesville to compete with his old station.

Barrick has been named news director and anchor at CBS-affiliate WCAV-TV, one of two Gray Television-owned stations coming to Charlottesville this year.

"We always look for local people," says Bill Varecha, general manager of the two stations.

Barrick is pretty darn local, despite stints in Salisbury, Maryland, Washington, Richmond, and Philadelphia. He grew up here, graduated from Charlottesville High School, and then from UVA in 1985 with a degree in meteorology.

His father, Richard Barrick, was Charlottesville's commonwealth's attorney for 12 years, and now has a law practice off the Downtown Mall. "We'll be able to have lunch again," says the younger Barrick.

"I remember hunting with my dad in a field that is now Fashion Square Mall," he continues. "We never got anything." While the expeditions for grouse and quail came up short, the field often provided the Barrick family Christmas tree.

It's those sorts of hometown memories that make Barrick so eager to work for WCAV Channel 19, whose motto is "Where community counts."

"We plan to do a lot of community outreach," he says. Reporters will be asked to pick a local charity, and dog-lover Barrick already has dibs on the SPCA.

The CBS station goes on the air August 15– although that doesn't mean everything will be up and running then, acknowledges Barrick. WCAV will start with news at 6 and 11pm, then add weekend and morning news.

CBS is seen as skewing toward an older audience, and that won't be any different in Charlottesville. Barrick predicts more families and more retired viewers, with more substantive news.

The news at the other Gray station, ABC-affiliate WVAW, will have a different focus, according to Barrick. "Think younger audience," he says.

As for how WCAV will differ from his old station, WVIR Channel 29, Barrick prefaces his remarks with, "I think they've done a fantastic job."

But he notes that Channel 29 has not had any competition and has been able to put on news without any comparison to other local stations. "We'll cover wrecks and fires," he says, "but we'll have more serious news, not just spot news."

Barrick is not surprised that his hometown suddenly has a plethora of TV stations, including Channel 9, a new low-power non-network station on the Downtown Mall planning 24 hours of local content. "I've been in smaller communities that have three affiliate stations," he says. "I'm glad to see it."

Least changed in the town that he remembers pre-Downtown Mall, he says, is the Corner.

"As long as Littlejohn's still has their 'Five Easy Pieces' sandwich," he reminisces. "That got me through many a night."

Ric Barrick, who grew up in Charlottesville, is coming home to run the news for the new CBS affiliate, WCAV.