The last time WTAP had a live, nightly presence in Marietta was in a studio located in the headquarters of the former Dime Bank. Ernie Hartong had the job of broadcasting Marietta news.
"I had a desk and a camera," Hartong recalls. “I would line up the camera, then get behind the desk and hopefully, I was centered behind the camera.. I had no cameraman; I was a one-man bureau."
That bureau was last in use in the 1970s. Now, WTAP is gearing up to do it again with a bureau located at Marietta College.
"With having people on site and, in the community, you get to know what's going on and who to talk to, more so than if you're 12-14 miles away," Hartong says.
Now, a new, more modern studio will be located in Marietta College's McKinney Media
Center. It's linked to the microwave system located atop the Lafayette Hotel, which went online two years ago.
"For the people of Marietta and Washington County, I hope it will be evidence that their lives, their activities, are important not only to us at WTAP, but to everybody in the Mid-Ohio Valley," WTAP General Manager Roger Sheppard said at a news conference Monday.
The purpose of the new bureau is twofold: to expand and enhance our news coverage in Marietta and Washington County, and to provide invaluable hands-on experience to Marietta College students.
"There will be internship opportunities and opportunities for shorter-term employment as well," says college president Dr. Jean Scott, "for students to work with a professional network affiliate, to see how it's done and to have very good experience for their resumes."
It also has a WTAP flavor from the past. Assistant mass media professor Mike McNamara and instructor Marilee Morrow both are former station news employees.
You'll begin seeing live news reports and interviews from the bureau beginning on Labor Day, and we plan to place a reporter there in the near future.