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Unclebarky.com cancels itself, goes into reruns

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It’s time for me to go.

Not from the mortal coil just yet. After 40 years of covering local and national television, though, I’m retiring unclebarky.com because it’s finally the right thing to do for me. The nicely symmetrical year of 2020 also seems like a good end point.

It’s been an experience. After 26-and-a-half years as TV critic for The Dallas Morning News, I left in September 2006 and immediately launched my one-person, tin can website as an unfettered vehicle for news and views that no longer could be expressed in full at the newspaper that gave me my big start. The “Why I’m Here” page, which served as an opening declaration of independence, further elaborates the particulars. In all modesty, it was a pretty bold move at the time.

From the start, unclebarky.com has been a labor of love, not a moneymaker. But over the past several months, I started hitting a wall as the ripened age of 72 closed in on me. The enthusiasm waned. So much “product” out there. Too much time spent on trying to find new ways to critique it after hours and hours of watching. And it’s just one voice anyway, no matter how experienced. The old saying, “Everybody’s a critic,” has come to full fruition during the duration of this website.

In the near future at least, I’ll continue to write a column for Katy Trail Weekly and its benevolent editor-in-chief, David Mullen. And perhaps a collection of columns and features is in the future. Or perhaps not. Above all, I don’t want to stay too long at the party. Bad things can befall you when you do.

Many, many people have helped to keep unclebarky.com afloat. All of the networks and latter day streaming services have graciously provided screeners and interview opportunities. Three of D-FW’s major TV news providers -- Fox4, NBC5 and and CBS11 -- also have cooperated and communicated throughout. Thanks to all.

It’s otherwise impossible to acknowledge everyone who has helped me along the way. And some of you would get into trouble if I did. But I do want to single out three people.

My wife, Madeline, has been supportive throughout, never questioning my decision to leave the Morning News and embark on a venture that, to say the least, has not been as financially rewarding.

My stepson, Carl Morgan, helped immensely in setting up this website back when I had the computer skills of a goldfish. I’ve gotten a little better at it since then.

And longtime friend and former Morning News colleague Michael Precker has been a co-conspirator from the start. Those early Uncle Barky shows, featuring live appearances by an array of local media personalities, were largely his doing. They were a long time ago, but all of the posters are still on my office door.

As an entity, the Morning News birthed me as a TV writer and for much of my time there provided a long leash. So yes, I’m grateful for what the paper has meant to me, both professionally and personally. We had a lot of damned good times.

Life without unclebarky.com will provide many more hours for exercising, reading, volunteering and downsizing. At least that’s the general plan.

So again, thanks to all for your patronage, whether you loved, liked or loathed what you read in these spaces. I’ll close with Gus McRae’s dying words to Woodrow Call in the closing chapter of Lonesome Dove.

“It’s been quite a party.”

That it has.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net