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Mark Effron Leaving WPIX

mark_effron.03WPIX news director Mark Effron announced to staff today he has made the decision to leave the Tribune owned New York CW affiliate. He said he was staying through the end of October.

Jerry Barmash, who first reported Effron was out at the station, said the news director told staffers in a memo that he told Tribune president Larry Wert, when he was hired, he only wanted to be news director for two years. You can read Effron’s memo after the jump.

Effron told TVSpy the timing has been fortuitous. He said the station’s turnaround came quicker than he expected and he hopes the positive momentum continues for the next news director.

When asked about future plans, Effron mentioned his approaching 65th birthday and said he’s confident he will continue to work in the business. “Its been a terrific career,” said Effron. “I’ve been very blessed both personally and professionally and I’m very excited about what happens next.”

Wert hired Effron in April 2013. Rich Graziano was hired as GM of WPIX later that same year. Read more

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FOX Philadelphia Launches Interactive Weekend Morning Newscast

WTXF, the FOX owned Philadelphia Station, is going to launch a weekend morning newscast centered around smart phones and social media.

According to the station, #FOX29 Weekend will be “an interactive, social newscast with viewer generated news content and regular contributors who are not reporters…but news makers in the market.”

“We are excited to launch a completely different type of newscast,” said Audrey Fish, VP of creative services. “We will bring to life on TV what our viewers are already doing every day- using their phones, and computers to create a dialogue about what’s going on in the world.”

The show boasts a new 360 degree stage for three different newscasts with a view of Center City Philadelphia.

#FOX29 Weekend launches Saturday, September 20 at 8:00 a.m. The show airs Saturdays from 8:00 until 10:00 a.m. and Sundays from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. It will also stream live on the station website.

[TVNewsCheck]

WITI Investigation Helps Prove False Arrest, Sparks Federal Lawsuit

Milwaukee FOX affiliate WITI is being credited for helping a woman prove she had been falsely accused of drunk driving by a Milwaukee County Sheriff’s deputy.

WITI reports, Tanya Weyker recently filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and four of his deputies. Weyker’s lawyer said WITI discovered a key piece of evidence proving police were in the wrong.

The lawsuit comes two months after a FOX6 investigation showed Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Quiles T-boned Weyker’s Toyota Camry and then lied about who caused the crash.

Weyker admitted to having a few sips of a friend’s drink that night — and nothing more.

Her injuries were too severe to perform field sobriety tests.

Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Griffin arrested Weyker anyway — and cited her for driving drunk, even though blood tests would later prove Weyker had no alcohol or drugs in her system. Read more

Kelly Lattimer Named GM of WQRF-WTVO

nexstar_304Nexstar Broadcasting has named Kelly Lattimer VP and GM of Rockford, IL, FOX affiliate WQRF. She will also oversee ABC affiliate WTVO through Nexstar’s operating agreement with Mission Broadcasting.

“With Kelly’s personal and professional longevity in the Rockford market she brings an intimate understanding of the local community to her new role at WQRF-TV,” Tim Busch, executive VP and co-chief operating officer for Nexstar said in a statement.

Since 2008, Lattimer has been the director of sales of Nexstar’s Rockford broadcast and digital operations. She was the GSM of KFXA in Cedar Rapids before joining Nexstar.

What Did They Cover in Buffalo Last Night?

Today we take a look at the 52nd largest market in the US.

Pro sports and their effects on the city were top of mind for stations yesterday. NBC affiliate WGRZ devoted team coverage to questions about the future of the hometown NFL team Buffalo Bills.

Though each station touched on the same stories in their teases, the way each one stacked it show was very different. One interesting note: The WUTV 10:00 p.m. show, produced by WGRZ, was the most crime-centric, concentrating mainly on shootings and resident’s safety concerns.

Dallas Reporter to Leave KTVT for PR

SolisSusy Solis, a reporter at CBS-owned KTVT in Dallas, will leave reporting to join a public relations firm, according to Ed Bark:

CBS11’s Susy Solis, who joined the station in January 2011 after a four-year stay with NBC5, has now opted to join Real News PR, which is run by former Fox4 reporter Jeff Crilley. Her last day at CBS11 will be on Aug. 29th, Solis and the station’s director of communications, Lori Conrad, confirmed Friday.

Former Jacksonville Anchor Says New Arrivals Could Face ‘Backlash’

ActionJaxA former Jacksonville news anchor says Cox Media Group’s decision to replace five news anchors at WTEV-WAWS with new talent from outside the market may confuse and even anger viewers.

Marcia Ladendorff was an anchor for seven years at WTLV-WJXX, and says the move not to renew Mark Spain, Paige Kelton, Tera Barz, Mike Barz and Lynnsey Gardner as anchors (Kelton will remain at the station in a new role, as special projects manager) flies in the face” of the relationship-building that happens when anchors have deep roots in a community:

“The people who are sitting at home are like, ‘Wait a minute, I like Paige Kelton. …’ That’s got to be unpleasant, in fact it’s depressing as hell,” Ladendorff said.
As far as new hires for Action News anchors, there could be backlash from the First Coast audience and the first public hire in Bachman could prove severely challenging, Ladendorff said.

“If people in the station and in the community are not appreciative of what Cox is doing, he’s [Bachman] going to be the hired gun in their view,” Ladendorff said. “I would not want his job because I have to assume, because of the longevity of the people who are disappearing in the view of the community, he’s going to be the guy coming in.

David Deeley, an assistant professor of communications at the University of North Florida and former sports talent, said the scale of the personnel shakeup in Jacksonville could be traumatic both for the newsroom and for the audience.

WFTV Reporter Berndt Petersen Leaves for Atlanta

Picture 1Berndt Petersen, known as a voice of reason in an increasingly chaotic local TV world, has bolted Orlando ABC affiliate WFTV for sister station WSB in Atlanta, also an ABC affiliate.

Petersen, who worked at WFTV for ten years, departed earlier this month, according to the Orlando Sentinel‘s Hal Boedeker:

That beaming-up to Atlanta was deserved because Petersen is a gifted journalist. In his career, he noted that has won three Edward R. Murrow Awards, six Emmys and two dozen honors from The Associated Press. He also has worked at stations in Birmingham, Charleston and Paducah, Ky.

I worked with Berndt in Orlando and in Birmingham; he’s a true gentleman, a great reporter and profoundly gifted storyteller. It’s a big loss for WFTV and a nice gain for WSB.

KTVT Anchor Faces Charges After Fight; Accused of Threatening Police

HigginsBrendan Higgins, an early morning anchor at CBS-owned KTVT in Dallas, faces criminal charges in Aspen, Colorado after a fight and allegations the vacationing anchor threatened to kill officers who responded to the disturbance.

According to The Dallas Morning News, Higgins was drunk when “he punched a man in the face and attempted to fight off officers at his hotel on the night of Aug. 6″:

According to the incident report, when police proceeded to arrest Higgins he cursed at them and said, “I will beat you until you are dead.”

Police say he swung at one of the officers, who pushed Higgins toward the elevator doors, causing him to hit his head and “pretend” to pass out on the the floor, according to the police report.

Higgins joined KTVT in 2012 after anchoring morning newscasts for rival station KXAS for several years.

WCHS Reporter Reveals He Has Parkinson’s

BobAaronBob Aaron, a longtime reporter at WCHS, the ABC affiliate in Charleston, WV, said Friday he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Aaron was reporting on the death of Robin Williams, who had also been diagnosed with the disease, when he made the announcement to viewers. “It kind of feels good getting it off my chest,” he told The Charleston Gazette. “It’s not hanging over me.”

Aaron, who has reported for WCHS for more than three decades, said he has no plans to stop. He credits his wife with noticing the early symptoms of Parkinson’s:

“My wife sort of saved my life,” he said. “She noticed things about me I just attributed to getting older. I was walking slope-shouldered, tilted forward. I was shuffling my feet. I lost my sense of smell. I have what you could call ‘senior moments’ when I paused … and my balance isn’t quite what it used to be. I got some shakes … I didn’t really notice it, but she certainly did.”

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