Westerly win: Barrick gone to Portland biggie

A year after signing on as news director for first one, then two new television stations, Ric Barrick is out of here.

Barrick, who was not available for last week's story, "Where's Ric? New weatherman off the radar," tells The Hook why he's no longer forecasting for Charlottesville's newest stations.

"My one-year contract is up, and I decided not to renew," he says. Besides, he has a weather forecasting job in Portland, Oregon, that leapfrogs him from the 185th largest television market– Charlottesville– to market number 24.

The primary lure that led the 1985 UVA meteorology grad back to Charlottesville was the opportunity to spend time with his family. His father, attorney Richard Barrick, was Charlottesville commonwealth's attorney for 12 years.

"It'll be tough to leave my parents," says Barrick, but after the year back in his hometown, "I'll have a better relationship with my parents."

Barrick, hired as news director at the new CBS station, WCAV-19, wanted to work on starting up a new station. "I got to do that," he says. And then parent company Gray Television acquired a license for WVAW-16, an ABC affiliate, and this year announced the addition of Fox affiliate WAHU.

WCAV news went on the air without fanfare November 18. "We had to have the news on the air in a period we didn't feel comfortable with, but FCC rules said we had to," he says. "We did the very best we could." WVAW began broadcasting news February 7.

Barrick says he decided to leave in February, but wanted to stay through the Nielsen sweeps in May.

He's not the first new hire to go. Gray had signed Bill Varecha, who owned an NBC affiliate in Grand Junction, Colorado, to start up WCAV and WVAW.

"He's not with the company anymore," says Barrick. "He had a tough job to do, and if he had the chance again, I'm sure he'd do it differently."

Barrick credits new general manager Roger Burkett, who arrived November 6, for "getting it right."

Varecha doesn't agree that choices he made during his start-up stint needed to be changed. "They didn't have to do that," he says. "Everyone has a different opinion on what equipment is needed."

More importantly, says Varecha, "We saved the license under a six-month deadline. We went on the air in a trailer."

Varecha sold his KKCO station in Grand Junction to Gray in February, and he's still buying and selling stations. "I just made an offer on a TV station in Jackson, Tennessee," he says.

Ric Barrick says he's looking forward to heading west. "I have a huge connection with nature, and it's a part of the country I've never lived in," he says.

He declines to name the Portland station until the contract is signed, and says he may do some producing in his new job. And now he can add experience with a start-up station to his resume.

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Former WCAV news director Ric Barrick will take the summer off before moving to Oregon.




Holiday 36