Former WNEP anchor Tom Williams joins WBRE-WYOU

By Michael P. Hill Article may include affiliate links

A former Pennsylvania anchor who left a top-rated station to run for state representative will be returning to the anchor desk, but not at the same station.

Tom Williams quit WNEP in ScrantonWilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania March 2022, announcing a run for state rep as a Republican.

He failed to win in the primary in May 2022.

In August 2022, he joined the staff of State Senator Lisa Baker, a Republican, as communications and outreach director.

He’s now signed on to co-anchor “Eyewitness News” mornings at WBRE and WYOU in the same market.

He will replace Sean Coffey, who left earlier in 2023 and now works at ABC-owned WTVD in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Williams will join Kelly Byrne and meteorologist Logan Westrope starting at 4:30 a.m. on WBRE and 5 a.m. on WYOU.

WBRE is owned by Nexstar Media Group, while Mission Broadcasting owns WYOU, but has Nexstar handle management of the station through a local marketing agreement.

The two stations have struggled for decades in the ratings against WNEP’s Newswatch 16, which typically wins all of its timeslots and was once even the highest rated local newscast in the country.

After Williams left WNEP’s morning show, the station named one of its early evening anchors, Jon Meyer, to the spot beside Williams’ former co-anchor Mindi Ramsey.

Since Williams departed, WNEP’s morning ratings have increased slightly, according to sources.

Williams will now go head-to-head with his former morning team on both the NBC and CBS affiliate in the market; the two stations simulcast the same morning newscast, though despite airing on two stations, it typically fails to get even a fraction of WNEP’s viewership.

In 2009, WYOU’s news department was shut down after an experiment with an interactive newscast. The station first moved away from local news but eventually WBRE began producing news seen only on WYOU, as well as simulcasts.

Insiders say that Williams is still well-liked at WNEP and most staffers wish him well in his new role.

Sources who have worked at both WBRE-WYOU and WNEP say that Williams may find the work environment at a Nexstar newsroom to be much different from what he is accustomed to.

While all three stations have made staff cuts in recent years, WBRE’s news department is more significantly understaffed and lacks at least some of the resources WNEP has, according to insiders.

Still others are questioning WBRE’s decision to hire a journalist who so recently ran for public office on a partisan ticket and recently worked in communications for a GOP representative.

WBRE-WYOU insiders secretly aren’t all that surprised, however, given that Nexstar is also behind NewsNation, the cable news station Nexstar launched in 2020 that lost key staff over the purported right-leaning editorial direction the network was taking.