Randy Borden, who has been a fixture on the local television scene in Lakeland, Fla., for many years, has announced his departure from the Lakeland-based station, where he joined in 1997. In an internal memo, he cited personal reasons, but also noted that a “majority of the staff has been let go” at his-shows Liberty Channel 40, Pax TV and LKLD TV.
Randy Borden, in his last in-studio interview.
“I was under the impression that Liberty Channel 40 was locally owned and controlled,” he wrote in his farewell note, “and to be honest with you I assumed it was a lot safer to jump on this boat then to risk being left behind when my host, Dad, was dumped.” He went on to say that “the current owner of Pax TV has decided to close these operations and fire more than half of the staff. He has also offered to rehire only one of his hand-picked co-hosts to talk about building homes.” Borden’s father, Pete, founded and owned the station.
Randy’s longtime colleague, Tommy Cornett, had this to say about the announcement on his Facebook page: “Pete’s LKLDTV dream team of Randal and I have the privilege of getting this here in Lakeland — bringing home the Golden Mic to Lakeland — it truly was a blessing. It was not enough, but our family is tremendously blessed to have been a part of this special place in its 105th year. Thank you LKLDTV for your sweet support and dedication to this city. I promise you I will miss it.”
The station was launched in 1914 and, in its time, broadcast many of the most famous games of all time, including the World Series, Super Bowls, Final Fours, and the Olympic Games. At the close of its 2016 season, it was named the No. 5 sports station in the nation by TV Guide, which credited it for hosting 113 different MLB, NFL, NBA, MLS, UFC and golf broadcasts, as well as team and school sports.
WTVT-CBS6 in Tampa is reportedly interested in taking over Liberty Channel, which, with a nationwide reach, could give the station the ratings muscle to draw a much wider audience.