News12 Now “As Local As New Jersey Gets”

Cablevision has a funny way of “more effectively and consistently” delivering “high-quality hyper-local news” to Fairfield County viewers.

They’ve gotten rid of the guy who did it for more than 3 decades, and replaced him with someone 2 states away.

The familiar face of Tom Appleby.

Tom Appleby — the steady pro who guided area residents through hurricanes and blizzards; reported on murders, budget battles, zoning issues and lost pets, and since 1984 has been the face of News12 for countless local residents — is the most prominent victim of Cablevision’s new owner’s cost-cutting measures.

In addition to shutting a call center in Shelton and back-office operation in Stratford — affecting 600 jobs — new owner Altice has moved nearly all News12 production work from Norwalk to Edison, New Jersey. Only a skeleton staff of reporters and videographers remains on Norwalk’s Cross Street.

Appleby was more than a familiar news anchor. He served as Cablevision’s vice president, general manager and news director. He helped win many awards, including numerous Emmys.

Appleby is a true pro. A Dartmouth grad — with a master’s and Ph.D. in English language and literature from the University of Michigan — he also hosted a weekend public affairs show, “Focus on Connecticut.”

News12 has served as a valuable proving ground for countless reporters and anchors, just starting their careers. Many have moved on to bigger stations, far beyond Fairfield County.

But through 6 presidents since the Reagan Administration — or, more locally, throughout the terms of 1st selectmen Bill Seiden, Martha Hauhuth, Doug Wood, Joe Arcudi, Diane Farrell, Gordon Joseloff and Jim Marpe — Tom Appleby has been there for us.

He never left for a larger market. He reported stories, delivered news, mentored talent, and — most importantly — cared deeply about all of Fairfield County, and everyone in it.

Now Cablevision has left him.

And left the rest of us with an empty slogan: “As local as local news gets.”

Delivered from right around the corner, in Edison, New Jersey.

37 responses to “News12 Now “As Local As New Jersey Gets”

  1. Matthew Mandell

    Good Luck Tom in whatever you do. Thanks for all the newscasting.

    Somehow I just don’t think the news is going to be as good as it was.

  2. Joyce Joiner

    A very sad day… Can you imagine Walter Cronkite– or any other iconic news reporter— losing their seat because of this? Decisions made solely for trimming budgets are rarely richly rewarded. Thanks for your many years at the helm of the Ch 12 ship!

  3. Altice/Cablevision also upped their rates since the acquisition. The increases were down with limited or no notice to the consumer except for bills get higher each month. But Altice has to cover the purchase of their US CEO’s home in Greenwich Village for $33 MM. Local as local gets.
    Sadly Frontier is so bad that the only choice is Cablevision. Three neighbors have tried Frontier and within three months switched back to Cablevision.

  4. Michael Calise

    Ditch them all!

  5. Peter Saverine

    Oh my, it is sad news to lose our local friend Tom Appleby at News 12. Thank you for the great tribute. Tom has supported every organization, event, cause, school system, town, and individual in our Fairfield County neighborhood for decades as a person who we could trust. On behalf of all, we wish him well and thank him for his years of exemplary reporting and for being a good neighbor who we have enjoyed seeing on the tube and around town. Let’s hope that our local cable news does not go the way of some of our local newspapers, with a local façade and regionally generic filling reported by people with no ties to the community. Fingers crossed.

  6. Beth Berkowitz

    Truly horrible the way Cablevision conducts business and now altice is even worse. It’s never about their customers/consumers who pay so that their high level execs can make more and more money!

    Unfortunately, unless you decide to just watch Netflix and get rid of Cablevision and frontier, there’s not much choice. Dish and direct tv aren’t any better, as we have tried them all and still have dish and Cablevision.

    We will miss the local as local news gets and especially Tom. Good luck to Tom in whatever direction he takes now. I’m sure he will end up better off than with an ungrateful employer for all of his hard work, talent and viewership due to Tom.

    We need some other company that will at least be a little better to come into Fairfield county. Verizon Fios? Comcast? They aren’t a lot better, but they are both better than frontier and Cablevision.

  7. Arline Gertzoff

    A real pity as Tom knew the local sene and had a lot of passion for his workNew owner has made a big mistake and should bring Tom and his Eye on CT politics back at inception Subscribers should write or call them as he is a treasure.

  8. isn’t someone in my old hometown rich enough to start their own cable venture, and put Tom in charge ?

  9. Jann Colabella

    unbelievable!!

  10. Hey let’s not forget Becky Surran! She was at News12 as long as Tom Appleby..from Day One. Co-ahchored the news with TA for decades. I guested on her business show many times. A true news professional but also a genuinely warm, lovely person. Mother of four as I recall.

  11. Becky was there truly from day one. The news director at the time was Nate Gibbons now with the Westport fire department. I worked in customer service when Cablevision fired up the system in 1981. On the first night, there were 12 subscribers and only two phone lines going into the customer service department. 🙂 The newsroom was on the Post Road just east of Birchwood country club in the basement of a smaller two-story building. The system was a whopping 52 channels, a lot for that time. 🙂 But Cablevision did build the system to transmit data to the head end and back out to the subscribers. Charles Dolan had the vision to think that far ahead.

  12. Sandra Lefkowitz

    Unfortunately as the technical era has progressed the personal era has retreated and the big guys don’t spend enough time thinking about anything other than the bottom line. A strong local presence was part of the success of Cablevision; they just haven’t learned that yet!

  13. One of the new anchors screwed up the other night. I’m not sure if anyone else heard it but she said “Thank you for watching News 12 New Jersey”!

  14. Nina Streitfeld

    This loss of Tom Appleby and Rebecca Suran is appalling. They were the heart of News 12: highly competent, and personally very appealing. Their dependable delivery of the news was a premier reason I stayed as a Cablevision subscriber for all these years. Now I will be taking another look at the huge fees I have been paying Cablevision, and wondering what similar services are available elsewhere.
    Good luck, Tom and Becky! May you have every success in your endeavors in the future.
    Nina Streitfeld
    .

  15. Margit Buonicore

    Really!!! Won’t watch 12 any longer.

  16. Patrick Church

    I will not be watching 12 again as of today. This is another example of a company being greedy and stuffing their own wallets.

  17. A sad day indeed. Tom truly knows our area and that insight showed during his broadcasts.

    • Patrick Church

      I am urging all Westporter’s to boycott Ch. 12 in solidarity. We have to keep local actually local.

  18. The corporatization of the news business is a national tragedy. Altice’s actions is remarkably similar to actions by many newspaper chains to, for example, establish regional copy desks, cut local reporters, and — especially fraught with danger — limit coverage in the state houses of America. At the same time, the only solution for genuine local papers and national-quality papers is for good people to continue subscribe to inform themselves. Much as local news has collapsed, and although there are plenty of alternative sources, there is something to be said for a subscription — even a digital subscription at $10 per month — to the Hearst Connecticut paper of your choice: The Connecticut Post, based in Bridgeport, or the The Hour, based in Norwalk.

    There are also quality alternatives. Of course, http://www.06880danwoog.com and Westport now.com, serve Westport, and http://www.DailyVoice.com is proving an excellent service with coverage throughout Fairfield County.

    On a state basis, for keeping up with Hartford as well as significant political and policy events from Greenwich to Groton, the not-for-profit journalism cooperative Connecticut Mirror (www.ctmirror.org) is superb and opened with leadership from Westport’s own Julie Belaga. An excellent source, especially with the legislature in session, is Connecticut News Junkie, at http://www.CTnewsjunkie.com.

    News12 is strangely addicting, even though in routine times it often repeats its newscasts. And the quality of its local reporters and, I must add, the video editing of its news, has been in many cases superb. If quality should suffer, the information-hungry citizen can be assured there are alternatives.

    I fear for the loss of “Local News As Local As Local Gets.” I watched Tom’s extended interview with the state transportation commissioner a week ago and it reminded me of the way he brings out information. Tom’s departure is a loss for all of us, but we have resources to recover. If we don’t watch News12 as much, we can only hope advertisers take notice and punish Alice through decisions to buy time elsewhere. That would be fortunate.

  19. Jack Farrell

    I’ve blocked channel 12 New Jersey or whatever they are.

  20. The Hartford Courant (America’s Oldest Continuously Published Newspaper) offers a digital version. I signed up (not by choice) when they stopped distribution to Fairfield County (May 2008).

  21. Rick Beispel

    Tom was a consummate anchor and trustworthy professional who had the highest journalistic standards. A skill set particularly important in today’s environment. A real loss to the community. He was as local as local news gets. Best of luck in your future endeavors.

  22. Maybe the only silver lining will be the dropping of that stupid, annoying, bullshit slogan that rattles the intelligent mind every 30 seconds.

  23. Bart Goldberg

    Ever since I settled in Westport I’ve come to rely on and enjoy the localized news coverage and the warm, natural and personable delivery that both Tom and Becky provided. On most snow or storm days I had them on all day as they would keep us informed about the pending conditions. You knew they knew the the officials they were talking to and they knew the roads, streets and stores they would reference.
    Many nights I would learn of something new happening locally often including someone I would know. I have often offered the local 12 news service to my friends as one of the strongest reasons to continue their subscriptions with Cablevision. Sadly, I have little hope that local news can be as impactful delivered by unconnected newscasters. I’ll stick with it awhile but expect that I will soon just drop the service.
    THANK YOU TOM AND BECKY FOR YOUR YEARS OF SERVICE AND CARING❗️

  24. Andrew Colabella

    I am DISGUSTED with this move. News is no longer local, in touch with the community or even reporting the good. I don’t care if they have a few skeletons staying here…bring back our team, bring back our home voice, bring back our community speakers and informers.

  25. Joan Kennedy Goldman

    Horrible dealings with this company and to release an OUTSTANDING, REPUTABLE, WELL SPOKEN ANCHOR is another example of arrogant , clueless business management!

  26. Joan Kennedy Goldman

    Just don’t know how we ALL continue to take the ABUSE , overcharges, and NOW, TOM? So many are unhappy with this company, ( since I’m NOT the “firecracker ” , ACTION REQUIRED person I was) Mab some brilliancy ??? IDEAS?? LETS THINK???

  27. We were wondering where all our regulars went! We’ve been debating turning off cable vision but liked chsnnel 12 – this may make our children c easier! Sad!

  28. Kathy Stuart

    All the more reason to dump Canlevision entirely goodbye cable TV you can take back your expensive boxes
    You don’t care about Connecticut
    Not if you’ve left for New Jersey
    Do cablevision, New Jersey then!!

  29. Barbara Weinberger

    I well remember seeing Tom Appleby at ShopRite about 15 years ago. To watch as customers, cashiers and baggers – everyone reacted as if the Pope, JFK and God had morphed into one being and then stopped for in some groceries. It’s quite sad that this is how it ends.

    It has been a slow, painful demise. About a year ago one newscaster made the pronunciation of ‎Cockenoe Island sound like a poisonous cookie that even Monsanto didn’t want to be involved with.

    A few months ago there was a very young woman doing traffic at times. One morning she stood in front of the video and declared that traffic was extremely heavy at exit 8 in Greenwich. At least the video shot was actually exit 8 located in Stamford.

    I avoided News 12 like the plague for many years and then started to watch it on and off, weather forecast was no worse than any other channel including the Weather Channel. At least I would have an idea if it would take 30 minutes or sixty to drive to work 7.5 miles away.

  30. How do we start a new news channel and get Becky and Tom and the rest back on line?

  31. Alba Rodriguez

    I’m not watching news 12 ct anymore.

  32. Nina Streitfeld

    Starting a separate new news channel sounds great. How does one go about it?

  33. Matt Murray

    First you start with buckets of cash…….
    Paraphrasing an old joke: “How do you make a small fortune in cable broadcasting? Start with a large fortune.”

  34. Eleanor Sasso

    Horrible.. impersonal money mongers!
    Would a petition get back Tom and Rebecca?

  35. I will no longer watch channel 12 because of how unfair the new administration is