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Anchors

WNBC Cutting Longtime Anchor Sue Simmons

WNBC has reportedly decided not to renew the contract of longtime anchor Sue Simmons.

Simmons, 68, has been a fixture of the WNBC anchor desk for the past three decades.  New York Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams reports that WNBC declined to renew Simmons’ contract, even though the station decided to give her longtime co-anchor Chuck Scarborough, who is also 68, another three years.

According to Adams, Simmons was informed a year ago about WNBC’s new direction.  Around the same time, WNBC brought on anchor Shiba Russell, who many thought would eventually replace Simmons. Read more

Earthquake Shakes KGO During Morning Newscast

Most San Francisco residents were asleep yesterday when a pair of earthquakes struck the Bay Area around 5:30 a.m. But Kristen Sze and Eric Thomas, the co-anchors of the early morning newscast on KGO, were wide awake.

“I believe we’re feeling an earthquake right now,” Sze said, interrupting a report on an education rally (video above). “In fact, a pretty big earthquake. The studio is shaking.”

“Good jolt, lasted for a few seconds,” Thomas responded. “In fact, it might have felt like what appeared to be two jolts, a smaller one and then a larger one. The lights were shaking pretty good in here.” Read more

Anchor Shelley Kirk Leaving WEHT After 23 Years

Longtime anchor Shelley Kirk announced yesterday that she is leaving Evansville’s WEHT at the end of this week.

Kirk, the station’s evening anchor, joined the ABC-affiliate in 1989. Her final appearance at the anchor desk will be the 6 p.m. newscast on Friday.

“I’ve known Shelley for 22 years, 18 of those years I’ve been honored to share the anchor desk with her,” co-anchor Brad Byrd said in a statement. “Shelley’s contribution not only to this station but to the Evansville TV market has been phenomenal.”

WEHT merged operations with WTVW in December. A number of on-air staffers at WEHT were eliminated as a result of the merger, but Kirk and Byrd were retained.

Kirk will join Fifth Third Bank in Evansville as marketing director.

Kris Pickel Joins WKYC as Evening Co-Anchor

Kris Pickel has been named co-anchor of the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts at Cleveland’s WKYC, general manager Brooke Spectorsky announced today.

Pickel joins the NBC-affiliate from KOVR in Sacramento, where she is the weekend evening anchor. Beginning in April, she will co-anchor with Russ Mitchell, who joined WKYC from CBS News in January.

In a statement, news director Rita Anderson said it was “imperative” to give Mitchell a co-anchor with strong reporting skills.

“Kris is a skilled and tenacious journalist who is as strong in the field as she is on the anchor desk,” Anderson said.

KETV Anchor Sentenced to Jail Time

KETV anchor Adrian Whitsett was sentenced Monday morning to 30 days in jail, following his recent DUI arrest.

The Omaha ABC-affiliate reports that Whitsett pleaded guilty to one count of third-offense misdemeanor DUI.  In addition to 30 days in jail, which can be served as house arrest, Whitsett received two years supervised probation.

Whitsett is currently on a leave of absence from KETV.  He remains an employee of the station.

“I shouldn’t have been doing this. It almost cost me my job,” Whitsett told the judge in the case. “I don’t plan on doing this again.”

After 15 Years as Morning Co-Anchor, Greg Warmoth Moving to Evenings at WFTV

Changes are coming to the anchor lineup at Orlando’s WFTV as Greg Warmoth leaves the morning anchor desk.

Warmoth is shifting to evenings, where he will replace Josh Benson as the 5 and 6 p.m. anchor. Benson is leaving WFTV, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Warmoth and Vanessa Echols have been morning co-anchors for 14 years. WFTV’s weekend anchor, Jamie Holmes, will replace Warmoth on the newscast.

“I’m looking forward to working with Jamie Holmes and am confident our viewers will embrace him as well in his new role,” Echols said. Read more

KDKA’s Susan Koeppen to Undergo Heart Surgery

KDKA anchor Susan Koeppen, who suffered cardiac arrest last November while out jogging, will undergo surgery next week to repair a faulty heart valve.

“The countdown is on…” Koeppen tweeted on Thursday.  “Heart surgery next week! Yikes! Wish me luck.”

Koeppen, 39, joined KDKA last fall after working as a correspondent for CBS News.  She currently co-anchors KDKA’s 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts.

Koeppen took two months off after her cardiac arrest, returning to the KDKA anchor desk at the end of January.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that she expects to be back at work in May following the surgery.

Jodi Leong Leaving KITV for University of Hawaii Job

After more than 20 years in the television business, anchor Jodi Leong is leaving KITV to join the University of Hawaii as director of communications.

Leong began her career as a producer, reporter and weekend anchor for the Honolulu ABC-affiliate in 1991. She rejoined the station in 2006 after six years at rival KNHL, the NBC-affiliate in Honolulu, where she was weeknight co-anchor.

“Jodi Leong’s long career in broadcast journalism and strong professional connections to members of the news media in Hawaii will be of great value to our reach and effectiveness,” University of Hawaii associate vice president Lynne Waters said in a statement.

Leong’s first day at her new job will be March 15.

Craig Wolf Discusses His Lawsuit Against WBBH with Market Rival WFTX

“There’s no doubt in my mind that this was a retaliatory firing,” former WBBH anchor Craig Wolf told WFTX this week, speaking about his dismissal from the NBC-affiliate last year.

Wolf recently filed a lawsuit against his former employer, alleging that he was fired for blowing the whistle on the station for its “extremely unclean” newsroom and studio.

WFTX reporter Mike Mason recently caught up with Wolf while he was in town for a charity golf tournament, and on Wednesday the Fox-affiliate aired its second story in as many days about Wolf’s current plight. Read more

After 32 Years with KSNF, Anchor Jim Jackson Leaves to Run for Office

Longtime KSNF anchor Jim Jackson bid farewell to viewers on Wednesday after 32 years anchoring the NBC-affiliate’s 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts.  Jackson is leaving TV to run for public office.

“I’m going to march down to the Newton County courthouse,” Jackson told viewers, discussing his plans for the rest of this week and the rest of the year.  “And I am filing for Newton County commission in the second district, on the Republican ticket” (video here).

Predicting a “good, clean campaign,” Jackson highlighted that the election is in August.

A graduate of Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Jackson joined KSNF, which covers Joplin, MO and Pittsburg, KS, after serving six years in the U.S. Navy.  [h/t The Turner Report]

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