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Buffalo

Laura Gray Returns to Buffalo’s WKBW

laura grayLaura Gray is returning to Buffalo ABC affiliate WKBW after three years working in public relations, The Buffalo News‘ Alan Pergament reports. Gray, who worked at the station for five years before leaving in 2011, will anchor the morning and noon newscasts beginning this fall:

A Pittsburgh native who worked in Erie, Pa. before joining Channel 7, Gray will work with meteorologist Andy Parker, who left Channel 2 “Daybreak” last week to return to Channel 7 on its new morning program.

Earlier this month, Channel 7 let go the morning team of Tiffany Lundberg and Cole Heath after they worked for a year on the low-rated program. The station’s new owner, E.W. Scripps, is attempting to get viewers to give the morning program another look when the revamp starts in mid-September.

“We saw someone with Laura who has a good news presence, is local and is committed to the market,” said Channel 7 General Manager Mike Nurse said this afternoon.

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What Did They Cover in Buffalo Last Night?

Today we take a look at the 52nd largest market in the US.

Pro sports and their effects on the city were top of mind for stations yesterday. NBC affiliate WGRZ devoted team coverage to questions about the future of the hometown NFL team Buffalo Bills.

Though each station touched on the same stories in their teases, the way each one stacked it show was very different. One interesting note: The WUTV 10:00 p.m. show, produced by WGRZ, was the most crime-centric, concentrating mainly on shootings and resident’s safety concerns.

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.”

WKBW Drops Morning Anchor Team, Promises New Direction

lundberg_heath_wkbwCole Heath and Tiffany Lundberg no longer work at Buffalo ABC affiliate WKBW.

Michael Nurse, WKBW VP & GM told TVSpy, “We are going a new direction in our morning program under EW Scripps ownership. We tried something different and it didn’t resonate.”

Nurse also said more detail about the station’s plans would be announced soon.

Alan Pergament, TV writer for The Buffalo News, who first reported the news, said, “The departure of the anchors isn’t a surprise since “Good Morning” has been a ratings disaster and hit rock bottom during the July sweeps.”

The two were hired last year in what then news director Polly Van Doren said was a revamp. She told TVSpy, “We have a new General Manager who feels it’s best to start fresh with our morning product.” Van Doren left WKBW for WKEF-WRGT in Dayton, OH, in January.

WIVB News Director Out

wivb_304Joe Schlaerth, news director for Buffalo CBS affiliate WIVB no longer works at the station, Buffalo News media writer Alan Pergament reports.

The News reports Peter Jacobus is the interim news director at the station.

According to his LinkedIn page, Schlaerth had been news director at WIVB since 2004.

His departure — all the sources say he was fired this morning — is no surprise considering how unpopular he has been inside the news department.

Indeed, it was more surprising that he lasted this long running the news department of the LIN station. Read more

WGRZ Names Michael Wooten Midday Anchor

wooten_wgrzMichael Wooten has been named Mary Friona‘s replacement on the WGRZ 11:00 a.m. news.

Last month, Friona announced she was leaving the Buffalo NBC affiliate to focus on her family. Her last day at WGRZ is Friday.

Buffalo News TV writer Alan Pergament reported Wooten will also be the station’s managing editor.

He also was “unofficially” the station’s acting public relations man for the day since he also announced on Facebook that Heather Ly will be taking his place as the anchor on the weekend editions of “Daybreak” alongside Maria Genero on weather.

Wooten started at WGRZ in 2009.

Bryan Shaw Makes Quick Exit from WIVB

shaw640_20120712145530_640_480Bryan Shaw, meteorologist for Buffalo CBS affiliate WIVB abruptly left the station, according to Buffalo News media writer Alan Pergament.

“I just wanted to let you all know that today was my last day at Ch. 4,” Shaw posted on his facebook page. “It has been a pleasure. I really have enjoyed my time here and appreciate all of you.”

Shaw started at WIVB in June 2011. Before coming to Buffalo he worked at WOWK in Huntington, WV, and WOAY in Beckley, WV.

TVSpy asked WIVB for comment, but has not heard back.

Mary Friona to Sign Off From WGRZ

mary friona wgrzMary Friona is leaving Buffalo NBC affiliate WGRZ to focus on her family, the Buffalo NewsAlan Pergament reports:

Channel 2 News Director Jeff Woodard wrote in an email sent this afternoon that the station is “working on both a short-term and long-term plan to replace” Friona. In an email sent to the staff this morning, Woodard praised Friona “as an integral part of the success of ‘Daybreak’ for the past 16 years, as her ‘As Seen on TV’ product test has been one of the most popular franchises in the market.

“We will miss her engaging personality that came out in those tests, just as we will miss the fantastic storytelling. Mary has shared incredible stories of individuals and families with powerful messages of hope and survival… Mary, we wish you much happiness as you focus your attention and strength on raising your beautiful children and taking care of your entire family.”

Diana Fairbanks Leaving WIVB

fairbanks wivbWIVB anchor Diana Fairbanks is leaving the Buffalo CBS affiliate to follow her husband to Michigan.

Alan Pergament of The Buffalo News first reported WIVB news director Joe Schlaerth told staffers about the move.

GM Rene LaSpina said Fairbanks wasn’t leaving for another station but to follow her husband who got a job in Traverse City, MI. Fairbanks was an anchor and reporter at WPBN in Traverse City before coming to Buffalo.

Fairbanks started at WIVB in January 2012 and has also worked at KRTV in Great Falls, MT.

Allen Leight Signs Off From WKBW

allen leightAllen Leight‘s last day at WKBW was Friday, The Buffalo News‘ Alan Pergament reports:

News Director Lisa Polster confirmed that he is leaving to join the [Buffalo] Sabres in an unspecified job. Another Channel 7 source said the job is in production. The Sabres haven’t announced his hiring, which I’m told is standard practice for staff hirings in non-visible roles. It probably means Leight won’t be seen on-air in any capacity.

Leight joined the ABC affiliate as a news photographer in 2008. He held a variety of roles during his time at the station, including internet content manager, multimedia journalist and sports anchor/reporter.

Pergament reports the station is planning to replace Leight on the sports team.

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