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Heather Van Nest Leaves WTSP

heathervannestWTSP evening anchor Heather Van Nest has left the Tampa CBS affiliate.

Peter Roghaar, WTSP news director, told TVSpy, “Heather has decided to leave the station to spend more time with her family. She will be missed.”

“While I enjoyed working with my friends at 10 News, I am excited for new work opportunities that allow for more flexibility in my family life. Working until midnight with a 1-year-old son, 3-year-old daughter and husband at home is not ideal,” Van Nest posted on her facebook page. “I am eager to explore new opportunities as I continue to search for that unicorn we call “work/life balance.”

The Tampa Bay Times reports Van Nest hadn’t been on-air for a few days before the announcement, giving rise to rumors her contract wasn’t renewed.

Van Nest’s bio has been removed from the station’s website. She started her career as an editor, producer and anchor at WAOW in Wausau, Wis. She worked at WJXT in Jacksonville before coming to WTSP in 2002 as a morning anchor.

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WISH Announces Local News Expansion

WISHCBS recently announced that it would move its affiliation in Indianapolis from WISH to WTTV. We reported that the switch resulted in a huge loss (as much as $100 million) for WISH’s parent company, LIN Media.

Now, it appears that WISH is making a major investment into local news programming, adding four more hours of news each weekday beginning in January 2015.

“Daybreak” will expand by two hours, airing from 4:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. News 8 at Noon will expand by 30 minutes to 1:00 p.m. The early newscast will be expanded by 30 minutes to 7:00 p.m., while the late newscast will expand one additional hour, from 10:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

“The investments we are making further enhance WISH-TV’s 60-year commitment to localism and local news,” WISH general manager Les Vann said in a statement. “The additional 20 hours of news per week will allow us to deliver more breaking news, investigative journalism, sports and weather coverage, across all screens, and in new time periods for our viewers.”

Vann also announced that the station will debut a new entertainment program-line up in the coming months.

Gannett Completes Acquisition of Cars.com for $1.8 Billion

gannett-article

Gannett announced today the completion of its previously announced acquisition of the remaining 73% interest in Cars.com, for $1.8 billion.

In August, Gannett announced its decision to split its broadcasting and newspaper businesses, which includes 46 television stations and 81 local U.S. daily publications, as well as its flagship brand, USA Today. Acquiring Cars.com (which gets around 30 million monthly views) doubles the company’s digital portfolio, which also includes CareerBuilder.

“We are thrilled to be the sole owner of Cars.com – a business that we know extremely well, and one with terrific growth characteristics,” Gracia Martore, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “With full ownership of Cars.com, we will be able to drive even faster growth as marketers and advertisers continue to shift more of their spending toward digital solutions. This acquisition represents another pivotal step in our ongoing transformation, positioning us well for Gannett’s planned separation into two publicly-traded companies, which is expected to be completed in mid-2015.”

St. Louis News Director Leaving Station

ksdkThe St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, KSDK news director Mike Shipley has announced he is leaving the St. Louis NBC affiliate.

The Post-Dispatch says Shipley told staffers this morning he would stay until a replacement is found. He was named news director in 2000.

>UPDATE: A station spokesperson told TVSpy Shipley is retiring. He has worked in broadcasting for 41 years, 35 of those at KSDK.

After a years-long run of being the top local station for newscasts, KSDK has slipped in the ratings, being passed at times by KMOV (Channel 4) and KTVI (Channel 2).

“He had a No. 1 legacy station here, and he let it slip,” said one source in local television. Read more

‘I’ve Got Stories to Write,’ WFLA Reporter Gets Noticed for Haunted House Demeanor

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper added a local news reporter to his “Ridiculist” last night. Anthony Allred, from Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA, didn’t catch Cooper’s attention for something shameful or embarrassing, he was noticed for his ability to let the ghosts and goblins at a local haunted house know that they just don’t compare to the amount of work waiting for him when he gets back to the station.

Said Cooper about the footage of Allred walking through the haunted house, “It looks like the Blair Witch Project. Except for that lady with snot running down her face, our hero is a local news reporter who doesn’t even break a sweat. No matter what they throw at this guy, he doesn’t even flinch.”

When one ghoul asks him to “come and play” Anthony keeps walking and tells her, “I’ve got stories to write.” Check out Allred’s story on WFLA after the jump. Read more

Exotic ‘Super Cat’ Appears in San Francisco Anchor’s Yard

Super CatThere may not be “news in the newsroom”, but sometimes it does wander into your backyard. Ken Bastida, anchor at San Francisco CBS station KPIX, discovered an “exotic hybrid cat” roaming in his yard. “I live near Mt. Diablo and see mountain lions and bobcats all the time… this is different.”

Bastida told the station’s website the cat appeared to be a trendy hybrid:

Bastida confirmed with experts that the cat is likely a very large “super cat” derived from breeding a domestic house cat with an up to 40-pound African serval to create a designer breed known as a “Savannah.”
The anchor took to social media and Craigslist to try to find the rightful owner of the full-grown female, adding that it appears she may have recently given birth.

He’s seen the animal for the past few weeks, being elusive, but not elusive enough to evade his camera. She is not wearing a collar, and is very large compared to a house cat.

FCC Looking to Woo Broadcasters to Participate in Spectrum Auction

fcc sealThe Wall Street Journal reports the Federal Communications Commission wants more broadcasters to participate in the upcoming spectrum auction.

The auction is meant to meet growing demand by wireless carriers for more spectrum. Broadcasters who auction off their airwaves will either go dark or be moved to a new channel.

The broadcasters have thrown up roadblocks throughout the process and are currently challenging aspects of the FCC’s order in court, though they say they are fine with the auction as long as it remains voluntary.

To win them over, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is making the case that the auction is a unique opportunity for TV broadcasters and has hired an investment bank, Greenhill & Co., to prepare a pitch document that it will send to every eligible TV station in the country. The document attempts to spell out how broadcasters stand to benefit from participating in the auction—including dollar estimates in every market.

“What we’ve been saying is, you know what, there might just be a higher and better use for that spectrum that will put more money in your pocket,” Mr. Wheeler said in a phone interview.

The auction represents in many ways an existential threat to the broadcasting industry, as it could result in dozens of stations going off the air. The latest information from the FCC indicates the auction could affect more stations and markets than initially thought, partly because of the high projected prices stations can expect to receive for their spectrum in large urban and suburban markets.

Orlando Station Admits it Was Wrong

perry wftv croppedOrlando ABC affiliate WFTV has apologized to viewers after the Orlando Sentinel called out the station for a conflict of interest.

Monday, WFTV had former Chief Judge Belvin Perry, Jr. on set. Perry joined the station as its legal analyst in September. During a segment questioning the content of an ad against Amendment 2, the amendment calling for the legalization of marijuana, the Sentinel said Perry “ripped into” the ad.

The Sentinel’s TV critic Hal Boedeker pointed out WFTV didn’t tell viewers Perry works for the amendment’s biggest backer. Tuesday, the station apologized.

“The fact that he [Perry] works for Morgan & Morgan should have been disclosed, no question about that,” WFTV news director Matt Parcell told [Boedeker]. “It didn’t cross anyone’s mind. We looked at him as the judge.”

Perry is known widely as the former chief judge of Orange and Osceola counties. Parcell said his staffers didn’t remember that Perry works for Morgan & Morgan.

“We hired him for his brilliant legal mind,” Parcell said. “The Morgan connection is irrelevant to why I’d want him to be part of our team. But we have to remember it and acknowledge it.”

Sarah Bascom, spokesperson for the “No on 2″ campaign told the Sentinel, “This is a shameful example of reckless journalism and the one-sided bias clearly promoted at WFTV,” She added, “So the moral of the story here is: If you want both sides of a story or responsible journalism, you better get your news from somewhere other than WFTV-Channel 9 in Orlando.”

Todd Gutner Officially Back at WCSH

gutner croppedTodd Gutner has officially returned to WCSH.

Gutner left the Portland, Me. NBC affiliate in 2007 for WBZ in Boston. In August, Gutner announced he was going back to WCHS.

“Never underestimate the power of this amazing state to woo talented people,” said news director Mike Redding. “Todd is coming home because this is where he and his wife want to raise their kids. Mainers win because they get a brilliant meteorologist and a good person to boot.”

Gutner will begin working on the morning show a week from Monday.

Kevin Mannix will slide his schedule to cover weekdays,” The station wrote in a press release. “Joe Cupo will cover weekday evenings and NEWS CENTER at 11pm.  Tom Johnston and AJ Burnett can be seen weekend mornings and evenings respectively.  Steve McKay is watching the skies in Bangor on weekday evenings.”

L.A. Anchors Bring Authenticity to Jake Gyllenhaal Crime Film

If you want to make a movie about Los Angeles and news, you could do a lot worse than having Pat Harvey and Kent Shocknek showing you exactly how it’s done. Shocknek, who just retired from KCBS-KCAL, and Harvey, who has co-anchored the 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts at KCBS since 2010, were selected for the film by director Dan Gilroy. The film, Nightcrawler, stars Jake Gylenhaal as a freelancer covering the dark world of L.A. crime.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, no actor could quite match the real thing:

“We wanted to cast real anchors in our film because actors often can’t capture exactly what it is that news anchors have,” said Gilroy, speaking ahead of the European premiere of Nightcrawler at the Zurich Film Festival. “(But) I didn’t think any anchors would want to be in our film because they would read the script and say ‘you’re killing us.’ But they all said yes.”

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