Topic: Robert Mak
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December 4, 2012 at 7:43 AM
Robert Mak, whose half-hour Sunday political show on KING-TV was canceled after 11 years, confirmed Tuesday he opted to leave the station rather than accept its offer to stay on as chief political reporter.
“I appreciate the offer to stay, and after considering it seriously I simply decided it was time to start something new,” Mak said.
Mak said he hopes to stay in Seattle and in journalism. “I have a lot of ideas and interests that I would like to pursue, but I’m keeping an open mind,” he said.
The final “Up Front with Robert Mak” aired Sunday
When KING last month announced the cancellation of the Emmy-winning show, Executive News Director Mark Ginther attributed it to an advertising slowdown that forced cuts throughout the station.
Ginther said the news staff was being cut by seven positions, through a combination of layoffs and not filling vacant jobs.
Mak had been with KING since 1992 except for a two-year hiatus working for former Mayor Greg Nickels
On his weekly show, Mak regularly interviewed top elected leaders and other newsmakers, moderated candidate debates and dealt with some of the region’s thorniest political and social issues.
Mak said he’s thankful for the chance to work with “talented and wonderful people” at KING. “And I’m forever thankful to the viewers who shared a half-hour of their valuable time with us every Sunday.”
November 21, 2012 at 4:11 PM
Bad news for Washington political watchers: KING-TV has canceled its long-running Sunday political program, “Up Front with Robert Mak.”
KING Executive News Director Mark Ginther confirmed the decision Wednesday, attributing it to an advertising slowdown that forced cuts throughout the station.
The Emmy-award winning show will air its final segment Dec. 2, ending an 11-year run as one of the region’s best known and most in-depth TV programs covering politics and government. Mak regularly interviewed top elected leaders and other newsmakers, moderated candidate debates and showed a deft touch in explaining some of the region’s thorniest political and social issues.
Mak has been offered “a role to continue on as our chief political reporter,” Ginther said. He said he expects Mak to stay on but has not heard a formal reply. Veteran Up Front producer Mike Cate also will be retained. Some of the material previously covered on Up Front may now be folded into an extended Sunday-morning newscast. Mak did not immediately return a phone message Wednesday.
Ginther said it wasn’t so much Up Front’s ratings that led to the decision. “The ratings were OK,” he said. But he said KING couldn’t sell enough advertising for the show to justify the amount of staff work that went into producing it every week.
The Seattle advertising market “isn’t performing as robustly as we had hoped,” Ginther said, even with the political season’s ad boom. In a round of cutbacks last week, Ginther said the KING newsroom was reduced by seven positions, through a combination of layoffs and not filling vacant jobs.
October 19, 2012 at 3:19 PM
With ballots mailed and negative ads airing on TV, congressional candidates Suzan DelBene and John Koster laid into each other this morning during a taping for KING TV’s political talk show, Up Front with Robert Mak. The show will air Sunday, but KING let me sit in, and the debate between the candidates veered quickly off the usual talking points and got heated fast.
“John Koster has crossed the line. He has been sneaking around my house taking pictures,” DelBene said, referring to a photo on the Koster campaign website of her house in Medina. “It’s frankly creepy.”
Koster barely had time to deny it before they were on to the next round. The two argued about DelBene’s wealth (“Not such a middle class life as perhaps portrayed,” Koster said. DelBene responded: “I’ve been through what people have been through all through our district.”) They tussled over each other’s voting records. They discussed abortion rights, which DelBene supports and Koster, though opposed, said he would uphold since it’s the law.
DelBene brought up a piece I wrote about a speech Koster gave last year in which he said too much government assistance contributes to “slothfulness” and “laziness.” Koster said on KING that unfilled fruit-picking jobs in Eastern Washington are proof that “people take advantage of programs” like welfare.
Koster brought up a whistleblower’s accusation that the state Department of Revenue did a $2 million favor for a politically influential taxpayer during DelBene’s tenure there as director. DelBene called the claim, which the state auditor’s office is investigating, “a baseless accusation from a very desperate campaign at this point.”
The newly redrawn 1st District, which runs from Redmond to the Canadian border, is nearly evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.
Up Front airs Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. on KING, at 10 a.m. on KONG, and at 8 p.m. on Northwest Cable News.
As for the photo of DelBene’s house, it appears to have been taken from a boat. DelBene’s spokesman says the position of the umbrella indicates the photo was taken this summer. Koster’s assistant campaign manager said they didn’t take the photo, but found it on the Internet.
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