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Birmingham

Longtime Birmingham Meteorologist Takes a Turn as Sports Anchor

James Spann, chief meteorologist for Birmingham, AL, ABC duopoly ABC 33/40, sat in on the sports desk for Mike Raita.

His report didn’t lack for opinion, which TVSpy can only speculate is what prompted the disclaimer by 10:00 p.m. anchor Dave Baird, “The following sportscast does not reflect the views or opinions of the ABC 33/40 sports department or any anchor at this desk.”

Spann, who has over 35 years experience as a TV weatherman and has worked at ABC 33/40 since its inception in 1996 told viewers, “They need another bald headed older guy to do sports. Here I am.”

After More Than 30 Years, Scott Richards Leaving WBRC

scott_richards_wbrcScott Richards, longtime anchor for Birmingham, AL, FOX affiliate WBRC, is leaving the station.

“This seemed like the right time in my life to cut back on the number of hours I work each week, doing fewer newscasts,” Scott said in a statement. “The station and I were unable to figure out a schedule that made sense for both of us.”

Richards started at WBRC in 1981. He began his broadcasting career in 1971 while in the US Army. He has also worked in Louisville, KY.

According to the station, he has “agreed to stay on the air until Friday, Jan. 31. After that, he plans to take some time off and consider new ways to ‘earn and serve,’ as he put it.”

News Director Bill Payer Out at WIAT

wiat logoNews director Bill Payer is out at Birmingham CBS affiliate WIAT. Payer announced his departure in an email to station staffers Wednesday:

 I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your part in was has been an seven of the most gratifying years of my professional life….today, ironically, was the last day of the seventh year.

I regret I did not have the opportunity to express this in person but I truly appreciate the effort, the dedication and the professionalism you all have exhibited over those seven years.  I can only hope I was as supportive of your efforts as I wanted to be.  I know at times it seemed like I was never satisfied, but that’s only because there was so much more potential in each of you.

Payer has been the news director at WIAT since 2006. He has previously worked as news director for WKBW in Buffalo and as assistant news director at KPIX in San Francisco.

Helen Swenson Named GM of WIAT in Birmingham

wiat logo_304x200LIN Media has named Helen Swenson president and general manager of Birmingham, AL, CBS affiliate WIAT.

The move had been rumored after former GM Bill Ballard‘s contract wasn’t renewed.

Most recently Swenson was the senior vice president of Live Programming for The Weather Channel. Before coming to The Weather Channel she was the senior multimedia consultant for Frank N. Magid Associates. She has also held management positions at local TV stations in Pittsburgh, Miami and West Palm Beach, FL, including a stint as news director for KIRO in Seattle.

“Helen is a highly strategic and skilled broadcast executive with a proven track record of achieving growth by developing innovative and superior products that better meet the needs of our viewers and advertisers, ” Scott Blumenthal LIN Media’s executive vice president of Television said in a statement. “We are pleased that she is stepping into the leadership role at WIAT.”

General Manager Bill Ballard Out at WIAT

wiat logoAfter 10 years at WIAT in Birmingham, president and general manager Bill Ballard is out at the CBS affiliate, The Birmingham News reports. LIN Media did not renew his contract, which expired Friday.

“I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished. I wish the station and the people there nothing but the best,” Ballard said.

The Birmingham News reports that a replacement could be announced as early as today. Helen Swenson, a former senior vice president of live programming for The Weather Channel, is reportedly a leading candidate.

WATCH: It’s Not the Size of The Dog, Birmingham Anchor Insults Weatherman

When the morning anchor team for Birmingham, AL, CBS affiliate WIAT were talking about a local doggy dress up contest, anchor Gina Redmond let loose a double entendre that hit meteorologist Mark Prater right in his manly bits.

“Mark has a little weiner,” said Redmond, wondering about what it took to win such a contest.

“What have you dressed him in Mark?” said co anchor Stephen Hauck. “Come on. Be honest.”

“Long johns,” Prater answered, looking like he knew awkwardness had been the real winner.

[Hollywood.com]

Bettina Boateng Replaces Andrea Lindenberg on WVTM Evening Newscasts

Bettina Boateng (left) has moved from mornings to evenings at WVTM, the NBC affiliate in Birmingham, Ala. She replaces Andrea Lindenberg, who departed from the station last month after her contract was not renewed, the Birmingham News reports.

Boateng took over as co-anchor of the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts, alongside Mike Royer, last week. “Bettina has become a friend to me and my family over the years,” Royer said in a statement. “Now, I’m really excited to work with her every day.”

Boateng joined WVTM in 2007 as a weekend anchor and was promoted to morning anchor in 2010. Before moving to Birmingham, she was a weekend anchor at WCBD in Charleston, S.C.

According to the Birmingham News, Lindenberg wrote on Facebook that she will seek a “more simple life” with her family.

“Though this was not my decision, it is one I’ve wanted to make but was always too scared to do on my own,” she wrote.

Sports Anchor Melissa Kim Heading to WIAT

Melissa Kim is headed South from Bangor, ME, NBC affiliate WLBZ to WIAT in Birmingham, AL.

Kim will join the Birmingham CBS affiliate as a sports reporter on September 16.

Kim joined WLBZ in March 2010 as a multimedia journalist. Before coming to WLBZ she worked at WBAL in Baltimore, MD, News 12 Networks in New York City, was a researcher/writer at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a news producer at News 12 in The Bronx.

[Bangor Daily News]

Birmingham TV Stations Interrupt Morning News with Reports of Plane Crash

Birmingham, AL, TV stations were already on the air when first reports of the crash of a UPS cargo jet came in. The Airbus A300 crashed on approach around 5:00 a.m. Central Time en route from Louisville, KY, killing the pilot and co-pilot.

NBC affiliate WVTM – “Today in Alabama” anchor Lisa Crane told viewers about initial reports of the crash at 5:14 a.m. She said the station was sending crews to the scene and promised updates. The station showed first video of the crash shortly after 6:00 a.m.

ABC affiliate WCFT  - Anchors Sheri Falk and Ebony Hall tossed to Candace White at 5:31 a.m. White started out in the newsroom and confirmed the crash with Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport’s public relations director. The station showed its first video tape of the scene at 5:51. By 6:00 a.m. White was on scene reporting by phone.

CBS affiliate WIAT – “Wake Up Alabama” anchors Stephen Hauk and Gina Redmond broke the news at 5:38. They had reporter Rick Jackson live on the scene at East Lake Boulevard near the airport in East Birmingham.

FOX affiliate WBRC – Anchors Janice Rogers and Sarah Verser told viewers about the crash at 5:45 a.m. and went to Clare Huddleston live on scene at 5:54.

Natalie Tejeda to Join WIAT as Weekend Anchor

Yesterday we reported Natalie Tejeda was leaving San Antonio CBS affiliate KENS. WIAT news director Bill Payer confirmed the rest of the report in the San Antonio Express-News that had Tejeda leaving KENS in August for the Birmingham, AL, CBS affiliate.

Tejeda told viewers on facebook, “OK Friends – The cat is officially out of the bag! I have accepted a Weekend Anchor/Nightside Reporter position at WIAT in Birmingham, AL. My last day at KENS 5 will be on August 9.”

>UPDATE: Tejeda told TVSpy, “I am thrilled to be working with such an incredible team at WIAT. Everyone is so talented and I knew from the moment I walked through the door that this was the place I wanted to call my new home.”

Tejeda has worked at WOAI in San Antonio, KMSB in Tucson, AZ, KYMA in Yuma, AZ. She was a freelance helicopter reporter at KABC in Los Angeles.

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