Kirk Montgomery leaving 9News, latest station to target an entertainment reporter

Today brings word that Kirk Montgomery is leaving 9News, where he's worked since 2001. And while he's landed on his feet, albeit in a smaller market, the decision of 9News not to offer him a contract is indicative of an ongoing trend in the economically challenged TV-news business that threatens to turn Montgomery's specialty area -- entertainment reporting -- into a thing of the past on a local level. Montgomery's Facebook page lists his new station as WILX-TV in Lansing, Michigan, where he'll reportedly anchor a 4 p.m. newscast after not being offered a new full-year contract by 9News.

He also confirmed his departure on his Twitter via two messages. Here's the first....

...and the second, which quotes the Bible and/or the Byrds:

Once upon a time, every station in markets the size of Denver or larger had an on-staff entertainment reporter. But as budgets tightened and revenues shrank, such journalists have been increasingly viewed as dispensable. Witness the January departure from CBS4 of Greg Moody, who'd been at the outlet for a quarter-century. Like Montgomery, he wasn't offered a contract.

At the time, Moody told the Denver Post he had no intention of leaving the Denver market, and he still makes the area home. But since then, he's been unable to find a full-time gig. His Twitter account describes him as a "freelance writer/producer." After Montgomery's announcement, Moody offered a tweet of support:

With both Montgomery and Moody out, the only entertainment specialist left on local Denver TV is Chris Parente of Fox31/KWGN, who's managed to make himself more intrinsic to the outlet by hosting Everyday, a lighthearted, chat-heavy morning program. But the sort of arts-and-culture reporting that was a trademark of Moody and his predecessors over the years is little seen these days. Note that Montgomery's highest-profile segments on 9News of late have been updates about the ins and outs of contestants on The Voice.

Like movie critics at newspapers, entertainment reporters on local TV are a rare breed -- and becoming rarer with each passing day.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Media archive circa June 2013: "Photos: Denver TV personalities' goofiest Facebook pics, 2013 edition."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts