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ABC Affiliates

Heartland Media Buys Family Owned Station in Tupelo

wtva logoWTVA, the Tupelo, Miss. NBC and ABC affiliate which has been owned by the Spain family for 57 years, has been sold to Heartland Media.

“We are excited about the opportunity to continue the excellent television service that have been provided for the past 57 years by the Spain family,” Bob Prather, president and CEO of Heartland said in a statement.

Heartland owns WKTV, the NBC affiliate in Utica, NY, and ABC affiliates KEZI in Eugene, KDRV in Medford and KDKF in Klamath Falls, Ore.

Prather is the former president and CEO of Gray Television, Inc. According to the release, “Under Prather’s leadership, Gray undertook an aggressive growth strategy in building a 41 station group, with the largest station in Knoxville, Tennessee (market 51).”

Until the transaction is approved by the FCC, WTVA, Inc. will continue to run the station.

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Nick Nicholson Named VP and General Manager at WFTS

NickNicholsonNick Nicholson is joining Tampa ABC affiliate WFTS as vice president and general manager.

Steve Wasserman, divisional general manager of Scripps Media and GM of WPTV, confirmed the move to TVSpy following an internal email he sent to WFTS staff this morning.

“Nick is a highly regarded media executive with an impressive track record of success in several competitive markets,” Wasserman writes. Nicholson spent 27 years with the Belo TV group, most recently as President/GM of KTVK/KASW in Phoenix. Before that, Nicholson ran WVEC in Norfolk, was GM of the Belo-owned Fox/UPN stations in Tucson, and VP of Sales at Belo flagship WFAA in Dallas/Ft. Worth. Gannett acquired Belo late last year.

Nicholson replaces Rich Pegram who was shown the door last month after 7 years as WFTS GM. Nicholson’s first day in Tampa is Monday.

Arkansas Station Adds Yuna Lee as AM Anchor

lee khbsYuna Lee is joining KHBS-KHOG, the ABC affiliates for Fort Smith-Fayetteville, Ark. as morning co-anchor and reporter.

Starting October 30, Lee will join Ben Wagner and meteorologist Laura Huckabee for 40/29 Sunrise weekdays and also work as a reporter for the station.

“Yuna’s anchoring and field reporting experience is a perfect fit for our team”KHBS-KHOG news director Greg Shepperd said in a statement. “Her versatility will enhance 40/29 News’ commitment to thoroughly cover the entire market.”

Lee comes to the station from WHIO in Dayton, Ohio where she was an anchor and reporter for over 3 years. Before that, she worked at WHSV in Harrisonburg, Va. and WPBF in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Sherrill Barber to Retire from WLOS

barber wlosSherrill Barber has announced he is retiring from WLOS.

“After 37 years of reporting for WLOS News 13, I am pleased to announce I will retire September 30th,” Barber wrote on his facebook page. “Pleased, because I am blessed to have spent an entire career at a job where every morning I woke up and said, “Oh boy!”

The Asheville, N.C. ABC affiliate wrote on its website, “We wish Sherrill and his family well, as they enjoy more time exploring the mountains, which he loves.”

As a young reporter, Sherrill covered the first ever Bele Chere festival in 1978 in Asheville. He has extensively followed the career of Montreat evangelist Billy Graham, traveling with Graham to crusades in Russia, Hong Kong, California, Florida, Texas and South Carolina. He has covered every major story in the mountains over the years, including flooding, the apple crop and elections. As a Polk County native, his knowledge of the area has been a tremendous asset to our news operation.

Robert Burton to Join WJLA

burton katvKATV weekend sports anchor Robert Burton said goodbye to viewers of the Little Rock, Ark. ABC affiliate Sunday night.

Burton is heading to WJLA in Washington, D.C.

Sports director Steve Sullivan wrote up a goodbye for Burton on the station’s website.

I’d be lying if I said that Bob got off to a great start at KATV.

Bob joined us in the middle of the 2011 football season.  His first big assignment was the Conway-Cabot football game.  This match-up between two tradition rich programs was supposed to be our main highlight game. If Bob had the final call, we wouldn’t have any highlights of that game on the news that night. Read more

Broadcasters Warn Lawmakers Over Concerns About STAVRA

broadcastersThe Hill reports, representatives of ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX affiliates wrote to the Senate Commerce Committee to warn that despite the loss of “Local Choice” from the bill, STAVRA still has elements that “would undermine free access … to high quality national network and local broadcast television programming.”

In particular, the stations are concerned about changes made to the system for beaming broadcast channels onto people’s cable and satellite packages, known as “retransmission consent” agreements.

The bill, they wrote, “asserts unprecedented extension of [Federal Communications Commission] regulatory authority over private marketplace negotiations” and unfairly singles out broadcast companies for new limits. Read more

Brian Monahan Leaving Seattle’s KIRO for WSB in Atlanta

web_bio_monahanBrian Monahan, meteorologist at Seattle CBS affiliate KIRO, is leaving the station for Atlanta, where he’ll join Cox sister station WSB. “Finishing up my last morning on KIRO7, and my co-workers sent me off with a signed 12th man flag (of course!),” Monahan posted to Facebook. “I’ll miss these guys a lot as I head to Atlanta!”

Monahan joined KIRO from yet another Cox station, WFTV, the ABC affiliate in Orlando. Monahan followed Bob Jordan from Orlando to Seattle, making the move in 2012.

WTVD Kept Away from NFL Commissioner During Visit to Local High School

Mark Armstrong, sports director for ABC owned Raleigh-Durham, N.C. station WTVD, tried to get close to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell today while the commissioner was visiting a local high school.

As Deadspin first reported, the story of what happened next played out in three tweets.

Armstrong clarified not all media was shooed away from Goodell. “It turns out that the local CBS affiliate’s prep sports web reporter was allowed to attend as well as a columnist, Luke DeCock, from the Raleigh News and Observer.” Read more

Bat Dive-Bombs Anchors During WATE Morning Newscast

There are all kinds of ways for morning anchors to wake up. You’ve got your turbo coffee, your high volume music as you roll through empty streets toward the station, and, in Knoxville, you’ve got a bat that gets into the studio during “Good Morning Tennessee” and dive-bombs the anchors. Trust me, nobody was nodding off.

The bat appeared repeatedly on camera as anchors Bo Williams, Tearsa Smith and meteorologist Julya Johnson displayed varying degrees of live TV freaking out. ABC affiliate WATE reports its employees are working to escort the winged intruder out of the building, with the help of uniformed animal control officers.

ABC Announces All of Its Owned Stations Now Using Rentrak

ABC_304All of ABC’s Owned Television Stations are using Rentrak’s Advanced Demographics ratings info.

The station group announced WABC in New York, KABC in Los Angeles, WLS in Chicago, WPVI in Philadelphia and WTVD in Raleigh-Durham have joined KGO in San Francisco, KTRK in Houston and KFSN in Fresno in using the audience measurement system.

“We believe in providing our advertisers and agencies with the most accurate level of measurement,” Rebecca Campbell, president of the ABC Owned Television Stations Group said in a statement. “We have confidence that Rentrak’s larger sample sizes, along with its automotive and political data, provide us with the information we need.”

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