WKNI looking to serve Covington County

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2003

WKNI Owner Eddie Knight said he is on a crusade not only to provide area residents with another local news source, but also to provide a fair and unbiased newscast. Not to mention he "knights" outstanding achievements to persons in the community.

So far he has only knighted two individuals with the "Knight Sword," Sirs Shane Shane Shane and Bobby Cleveland, who both raised money for charity during lawnmower races.

Over the past couple of weeks Knight has been a one-man show at the originally internet-based station.

"I use some expensive equipment, and lately I've been producing the daily programs by myself," he said.

One of Knight's main assistants, Sallie Dozier, was in a wreck more than two weeks ago and rushed to a hospital in Dothan, where she remained in critical condition until recently. Knight said she should be released sometime today from the hospital.

"Sallie said she will be ready to come back to work on Monday," he said. "But I know she still has a long road to full recovery ahead of her. I want to thank the community for the prayers and support of Sallie during her recovery, and no one will ever fill her seat here."

Knight, who said he recently turned down offers from some big-money stations, commented he doesn't plan on losing his locally-owned operative status.

"We try to provide local news in the Covington and Andalusia area, especially Andalusia," he said. "We are not affiliated with cable TV, nor our we affiliated with other stations. We are absolutely independent, but things are in the works for the future and we may expand."

Knight called his station's broadcast "a video-newspaper," because of the depth he puts into the reporting.

"The Andalusia Star-News was the only media outlet in the area which detailed stories," he said. "Someone asked me why I didn't get with the cable company about being broadcast on TV, and I went with the idea."

Knight's TV broadcast comes on cable channel 12, and he said live shows come on the air about twice a week.

"We have been respectful and fair in our reporting," he said. "Our job is to inform people on what is going on, and from there they can make an informed decision on what is going on."

Knight said knowledge of events is important, and he is happy to enlighten people on current events.

"People need to know what happens, because without knowledge, people become scared, and a group of scared people could result in mayhem," he said.

Knight said he is unhappy with most of the media, post-9/11 tragedy.

"The majority of the media has let the public down," he said. "They have gone to a 'shock and awe' way of reporting, in which they give viewers only 15 seconds of a story. We don't give 15 seconds, we give 15 minutes. We don't add or take away any information, but we do provide all the information involved in a story."

Knight said the only way to gain respect and integrity from the community is to treat the public with fairness and respectfulness.

"We get local respect from agencies in the area that way," he said. "The camera is not a way of invading privacy, but a way of opening eyes to situations which may involve local citizens. It's also a good way of documenting particular events historically. We never infringe on someone else's life, though. Respect is a very important aspect of the business."

And the respect is growing, according to Knight. The website has 13,000 unique, or new, listeners every week.

"The internet is a great way to outreach to the world," he said.

Knight said he has proof the outreach is strong, because he received emails from soldiers in Iraq in response to several of his broadcasts.

WKNI broadcast weekdays at 7 a.m. and again at 5 p.m.