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Merrill Knox

Merrill Knox is Senior Editor of TVNewser and TVSpy. She joined Mediabistro in 2011 after four years working for "Your World with Neil Cavuto" at Fox News Channel. When she's not reading or writing, Merrill is most often found trying to anticipate the next plot twist on "Homeland." Follow her on Twitter @merrillknox or email her at merrill@mediabistro.com.

On the Move, 8/18/14

Michael Schwartz joins WPIX in New York City as local sales manager. Schwartz comes from rival WNYW, where he had the same title.

To report a move, send an email to tvspy@mediabistro.com with the subject line “On the Move.”

Scott Dean Joins WWAY as Chief Meteorologist

ScottDean2Scott Dean has joined WWAY, the ABC affiliate in Wilmington, N.C., as chief meteorologist. Dean joins the station after seven years at WTVD, the ABC-owned station in Raleigh-Durham.

Dean replaces Jerry Jackson, who is joining WNCT in Greenville, N.C. as chief meteorologist.

“It was important to us to find an experienced meteorologist who understands the kind of weather we get here in the Cape Fear,” WWAY news director Kevin Wuzzardo said in a statement. “When we got Scott’s application, we knew instantly he was who we were looking for. We are very excited that even while losing a veteran member of our team in Jerry, we immediately gain in Scott the most experienced meteorologist in the Wilmington market.”

Dean will appear on the 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts on WWAY and the 10 p.m. newscast on the Wilmington CW affiliate, which is a subchannel of WWAY.

WMAQ Launches 11 a.m. Newscast, Shuffles Meteorologists

byron mirandaWMAQ, the NBC-owned station in Chicago, is making changes to its morning programming. Beginning September 8, the station will debut an hourlong 11 a.m. newscast that will replace the current half-hour noon newscast.

“A lot of news breaks during the day. Our expanded news at 11 am will allow us to even better serve our viewers with the latest news and weather information,” WMAQ vice president of news and station manager Frank Whittaker said in a statement.

Anchoring the 11 a.m. newscast will be Stefan Holt and Marion Brooks, alongside meteorologist Byron Miranda (pictured), who returns to WMAQ after more than a decade away. Most recently, he has worked as the weekend evening meteorologist at KNBC, the NBC-owned station in Los Angeles.

In addition to Miranda’s hire, there are further changes to the station’s weather team: Robert Feder reports weekend meteorologist Cheryl Scott is leaving WMAQ when her contract is up next month. Scott is exploring options “to work as a meteorologist on a network or local level,” according to Feder. Read more

Veteran Buffalo Meteorologist Switches Stations

andy parkerLongtime Buffalo meteorologist Andy Parker is switching stations, returning to ABC affiliate WKBW after 11 years at NBC affiliate WGRZ. Parker previously worked at WBKW from 1993-2000.

“We are thrilled to have Andy Parker coming home to 7 Eyewitness News,” WKBW general manager Michael Nurse said in a statement. “Knowing and understanding the changes in Buffalo weather is critically important to our viewers. Andy’s addition to our already strong team of meteorologists gives us a clear advantage in continuing to provide lifesaving information to our dedicated viewers.”

Parker will join WKBW, which was recently acquired by Scripps, in the fall. He will be the station’s fifth meteorologist.

“This is a great opportunity for me to return to 7 Eyewitness News, the place where I began my career,” Parker said. “With the new Scripps ownership, there are many exciting changes coming to 7 Eyewitness News, and I definitely want to be a part of it.”

Stations Ramp Up Political Coverage Ahead of Midterms

local newsroom_304x200TVNewsCheck has an in-depth look at how station groups are preparing for the midterm elections. “Debates, roundtables, aggressive campaign beat reporting and political fact-checking will be more prevalent on-air between Labor Day and Election Day than they have in the past,” Diana Marszalek writes:

It’s particularly notable that the activity is occurring in a mid-term election year, since local TV has traditionally paid little attention to non-presidential politics long considered “dull and boring to a lot of stations,” says RTDNA Executive Director Mike Cavender.

Cavender says he’s not surprised that local broadcasters are ramping things up considering they are serving a progressively more disgruntled electorate. “Stations read that as a heightened interest in how the November mid-term elections turn out,” he says. “So they are going to make them increasingly important.” Read more

Q2 Earnings: Tribune Broadcasting Revenues Up 63%

TribuneMedia_CMYK_pri_LrgTypeTribune Media reported $425.8 million in broadcasting segment revenues for the second quarter of 2014, a 63% increase compared to the year-ago quarter.

Broadcasting segment revenues in the second quarter were up 4.9% pro forma for the acquisition of Local TV, which was completed in December. On the same basis, retransmission consent revenues were up 78% and advertising revenues were down 2.2%.

“I am very pleased with our accomplishments in the second quarter,” Tribune Media president and CEO Peter Liguori said in a statement. “While the core advertising market experienced headwinds in the first half of the year, we continue to be encouraged by the strength of our new broadcast scale, as evidenced in our year-over-year retransmission fee increases, and feel positive about the opportunities presented by the political advertising landscape in the second half of 2014.”

Atlanta’s WAGA Debuts New Set

WAGA 6

WAGA, the Fox-owned station in Atlanta, today unveiled a new set designed by Devlin Design Group. The set features a social media pod, a video kiosk, as well as video presentation towers. According to DDG, the most unique part of the set is the “innovative pivoting storytelling wall”:

Here is how it works: A portion of the LED video wall positions itself at a ninety degree angle from the rest of the video wall to allow the reporter or talent to set up their story, much like the opening of a book cover. After the initial story setup, the intro section of the video wall pivots mechanically and then blends back into the main video wall and becomes part of the continuing story. The storyteller now has the option to share their story while walking along the larger storytelling wall.

More pictures after the jump. Read more

On the Move, 8/11/14

Ingrid Allstaedt has been promoted to the morning and noon weather anchor for WLOS in Asheville, N.C. She joined the station in 2010 as a reporter.

Hope Hanselman joins WLOS from KVLY-KXJB in Fargo. Hanselman will be a reporter at WLOS.

To report a move, send an email to tvspy@mediabistro.com with the subject line “On the Move.”

CBS Switching Affiliates in Indianapolis

CBSEyeCBS has announced it is switching affiliates — from WISH to WTTV — in the Indianapolis market. WTTV, currently the CW affiliate in Indianapolis, will be the CBS affiliate beginning January 1, 2015.

WTTV is the sister station to WXIN, the market’s Fox affiliate. Tribune has owned WTTV since 2002. It has been a CW affiliate since 2006; prior to that, it was an affiliate of The WB and, earlier, UPN. WTTV was the second station to go on the air in the market, in 1949, and was an NBC and ABC affiliate throughout the 1950s.

As part of the shift, Tribune will move the CW to digital channel 4.2, leaving WISH as an independent station as of January 1. WISH had been the CBS station in Indianapolis since 1956. Tribune already has plans to produce local newscasts for the new CBS affiliate. WXIN resources will likely be tapped to get the new WTTV newscasts on the air. Right now, WXIN produces 10.5 hours of news every day.

wttvTribune also announced it has renewed existing agreements with its other CBS affiliates: WREG in Memphis, WHNT in Huntsville, Ala., KFSM in Fort Smith, Ark., and WTVR in Richmond. CBS has also renewed its affiliation agreement with WTKR in Norfolk, which it operates under a shared service agreement.

“This comprehensive agreement further expands our strong partnership with CBS and allows us to provide an array of outstanding programming, including leading live sports, news and entertainment,” Tribune Broadcasting president Larry Wert said in a statement. “Through WTTV’s new affiliation, we look forward to significantly enhancing our sports offerings, local news coverage and commitment to the community.”

Come to Mediabistro’s Intern Party in NYC!

intern-party_304Part of a successful summer internship is making solid connections, which are always a plus in the television news industry (or any industry, really). So we’ve got good news for all the interns out there: Mediabistro is throwing an intern party in New York City next week, and you’re invited.

Please join us at Turtle Bay (987 2nd Ave., between 52nd & 53rd) on Tuesday, August 12 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. On the agenda: networking and conversation with your fellow interns, drink specials, complimentary appetizers, and the chance to win free admission for a Mediabistro course.

Register for the party here, and we’ll see you on Tuesday.

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