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Q2 Earnings: Gannett Broadcasting Revenue Up 88%

gannett logoGannett Broadcasting reported $398.3 million in revenues for the second quarter of 2014, an 88 percent increase compared to the year-ago quarter. The increase was a reflection of Gannett’s acquisition of Belo, as well as higher retransmission revenue and political revenue “across all of our stations,” according to the company.

On a pro forma basis, broadcasting segment revenues were up 13.4 percent and retransmission revenues were up 66.6 compared to the year-ago quarter. Pro forma digital revenues were up 15.2% compared to the second quarter of 2013.

“Our expanded broadcast portfolio drove overall company margin expansion during the quarter, as we continue to transform Gannett into a higher margin, higher growth business,” Gannett CEO Gracia Martore said in a statement.

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Andy Alford Named GM of WFLA

andyalfordMedia General has named Andy Alford VP and GM of Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA.

“This is a very exciting opportunity and I look forward to working with the talented group of broadcast professionals at WFLA,” Alford said in a statement.

Alford, who starts at WFLA on August 1, comes to the station from WTEN in Albany where he was named GM in 2010 by Young Broadcasting. He will continue in his role as VP of Sales for Media General.

Alford has also worked at WGCL in Atlanta, working his way up from general sales manager to station manager to general manager in the seven years he worked there. He has also worked in Orlando, FL, and Syracuse and Rochester, NY.

Jon Skorburg Named VP-GM of WOI

woi logoNexstar has appointed a new general manager of WOI, its recently-acquired ABC affiliate in Des Moines. Effective immediately, Jon Skorburg has been named vice president and general manager of the station and its associated digital operations.

It is a move within Nexstar for Skorburg, who has been vice president and general manager of Nexstar’s WQRF and Mission Broadcasting’s WTVO in Rockford, Ill., since 2011. Before that, he was the president and CEO of WNWO, the NBC affiliate in Toledo.

“With his local broadcasting expertise, strong client relationships, and dedication to the local Midwest communities that he serves, we are confident in Jon’s ability to provide effective leadership and to build upon the success of WOI-TV,” Nexstar Broadcasting COO Brian Jones said in a statement.

Skorburg replaces Russ Hamilton, who has been general manager of WOI since 2011.

Grand Forks Viewers Want Local Newscast and Anchor Back

wdaz_abcFargo ABC affiliate WDAY and Forum Communications are hearing from viewers angry about the decision to take over the production of the 5:00 p.m. newscast on sister station WDAZ in Grand Forks, ND.

One viewer started a petition at change.org which, as of this writing, is 156 signatures shy of its goal of 1,000. The petition calls for the station to bring back the Grand Forks version of the 5:00 p.m. news along with anchor Terry Dullum.

Fargo NBC and CBS affiliate KVLY and KXJB reports on its website:

A call today to WDAY/WDAZ General Manager Mari Ossenfort was not returned and WDAZ News Director Julie Moravchik has been told to not comment on the matter.

In a published interview Ossenfort defended the decision saying she believes the station should concentrate on producing more content instead of producing more shows. Ossenfort also claimed she has received some positive feedback on the change however most comments on WDAZ’s Facebook page regarding the switch has been overwhelmingly negative.

Former anchor Terry Dullum wrote on his blog Monday about the change that “The decision was not made by anyone in Grand Forks. Certainly, not by me.” He went on to say, “A long-time broadcaster said it best to me years ago. He said television will break your heart. Every time.” Read more

Jenn Bernstein Rejoins Hartford’s WTIC

jenn bernsteinJenn Bernstein is returning to WTIC, Tribune’s Fox affiliate in Hartford-New Haven, as a reporter and anchor next month.

“We are thrilled Jenn is rejoining our team. As a Connecticut native, she knows the state well and I’m sure our viewers will be happy to know such a talented journalist and multimedia innovator is back in our Newsroom,” WTIC news director Coleen Marren said in a statement.

Bernstein previously worked at WTIC from 2010 to 2012 as a multimedia journalist. She left the station to be a reporter at KYW, the CBS-owned station in Philadelphia.

Maybe It’s Time We All Stopped Touching People’s Stuff

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I’ve done it, plenty of times. As a reporter, I’ve sifted through the aftermath of fires in Colorado, tornadoes in Alabama and hurricanes in Florida. And often, in the process, I’ve touched plenty of people’s stuff–teddy bears, notes, family photos. Often, it makes a great standup or liveshot, and it makes the bosses happy. They love it when reporters touch things and pick things up. But maybe it’s time to call it quits, and just agree that from now on, we’ll leave families’ things right where we find them. Look, but don’t touch.

Sky News reporter Colin Brazier clearly crossed the line with viewers when he took items from the suitcase of an MH 17 passenger–a liveshot that infuriated victims’ families. ‘It’s sick and the worst example of news journalism which is sensationalising an appalling human tragedy,” said Thomas Mayne, whose brother Richard was killed when a missile brought down the Maylasia Airlines jet. A media professor told the Daily Mail the Sky News report was “a horrible moment for journalism.”

Even Brazier has second thoughts, saying in his report “we really shouldn’t be doing this, I suppose.” And he’s certainly right about that. Not only was it insensitive, but we generally avoid altering crime scenes–whether there are investigators there or not. But I can understand the urge to touch. In newsrooms it’s drilled into our heads as an understood fact: viewers love it when reporters reach down, grab things and hold them up. Consultants and newsroom managers pout when reporters resist a chance to turn people’s stuff into a prop in an active standup or liveshot.

Read more

Jon Huffman Set to Retire From WGNO

jon huffman wgnoWGNO morning anchor Jon Huffman will retire from the ABC affiliate in New Orleans next month. Huffman has been on New Orleans television since 1990 and has anchored WGNO’s “Good Morning New Orleans” since 2008.

“Jon was a fabulous mentor for new employees on Good Morning New Orleans. His easy going nature helped them make the transition to waking up in the early morning hours a little easier. He’ll be missed,” WGNO news director Rick Erbach said in a statement. “Sleep in Jon. You’ve earned it.”

Before WGNO, Huffman worked as a reporter and anchor for WVUE, the Fox affiliate in New Orleans. He will officially sign off from WGNO August 1.

“I will deeply miss my co-workers at WGNO and the fun spirit of ‘Good Morning New Orleans.’ But I certainly won’t miss the alarm clock going off at 2:30 in the morning! It’s time to move on to a more relaxed—and relaxing—phase of my life,” Huffman said.

WLS to Add Assistant News Director

burke wlsWLS has announced Sarah Dunlap Burke will join the ABC owned Chicago station as assistant news director August 25.

Burke comes to WLS from WBZ in Boston where she was the acting news director.

“Sarah Burke is a strong news leader with impressive experience,” WLS VP and news director Jennifer Graves said in a statement. “Sarah understands the Chicago market’s love of news because she grew up here, and that’s a great plus for us too.”

Before joining WBZ in April 2013, Burke was an executive producer at WCBS in New York. She also worked at KCNC in Denver.

Reporter Explores the Curative Properties of Smelling Farts

Last week, WJZY reporter Jon Dick took a look at a study that claims smelling farts can cure cancer.

During the story, the reporter for the FOX owned station in Charlotte, NC, faux farted into a wine glass then smelled it.

“I think this might be…” Dick wrote on his facebook page. “The best thing I’ve ever done.”

While TVSpy likes a fart joke as much as the next blogger, We want to know what you think. Watch the story, then post your response on our facebook page.

[TVNewsCheck]

Orlando Reporter’s Book to Become Sandra Bullock Movie

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Leave it to WESH reporter Bob Kealing to tell a story so compelling, it’s slated to become a Sandra Bullock film. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sony has acquired Kealing’s book about Central Florida businesswoman Brownie Wise, who made Tupperware into a major brand in the 1950′s:

Tupperware was originally developed by Earl Silas Tupper but took off in the 1950s when sales exec Wise came up with the idea of having Tupperware parties. Soon those gatherings were sweeping the nation, and Wise became as popular as the product she was selling. In 1954, she became the first woman to appear on the cover of Businessweek.

The film is set to star Bullock as Wise, and be directed by Tate Taylor, best known for directing “The Help”. “I’m honored that two artists at the top of their careers like Sandra Bullock and Tate Taylor are embracing this story,” Kealing told The Orlando Sentinel on Saturday.

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