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Buffalo

Is ‘Shortsighted Cost-Cutting…Destroying Morale’ at Buffalo’s WIVB?

WIVB_LogoBuffalo News television critic Alan Pergament suggests Buffalo CBS affiliate WIVB, a station known for its stability, is “cutting expenses, letting popular, behind-the-scenes staffers leave, losing young aggressive reporters and destroying morale.”

WIVB’s recent moves come as ABC affiliate WKBW has invested in new talent and revamped newscasts:

In the last two years, Channel 4’s on-air departures have included Diana Fairbanks, Amelia Segal, Anthony Congi, Bryan Shaw, part-timer Dr. Peter Ostrow and Joe Arena and soon will include Ed Drantch and Rachel Kingston.

LaSpina also let go three longtime, behind-the-scenes staffers this week, including an executive assistant who worked at Channel 4 or 38 years under nine general managers and station managers.

This isn’t to suggest that Channel 4 has become Channel 7 yet. Not by a long shot. It still has several strong veteran staffers. But it appears to be making some of the same shortsighted, cost-cutting mistakes as Channel 7’s former owner at a time it should be much more concerned about Channel 7 as a competitor.

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Veteran Buffalo Anchor Re Ups with WKBW

Keith Radford WKBWKeith Radford has signed a two year deal to stay with with E.W. Scripps owned WKBW.

“We are thrilled to have secured Keith going forward,” Mike Nurse, GM of the Buffalo ABC affiliate, told The Buffalo News. “Keith will continue as a nightside anchor with 7 Eyewitness News as we continue to rebuild under E.W. Scripps Company. He is truly a trusted news source in Western New York.”

Radford told TVSpy when Scripps bought WKBW, “we all thought it was Christmas morning!” He added, “I knew it would be good but had no idea it would be this good! I am so thankful I will remain here and be part of the move forward. WKBW is going to be one of Americas great television stations again! With any luck I will hit the 30 year mark here in Buffalo and there is no where else I would rather be!”

According to The News, the new deal ends one month after Radford’s 65th birthday.

Buffalo Station Losing Two Reporters

drantch kingston_wivbBuffalo CBS affiliate WIVB will soon see the departure of two of its reporters.

Yesterday, The Buffalo News reported Ed Drantch will be leaving the LIN-owned station next month to work at cross-town rival ABC affiliate WKBW.

Channel 7 General Manager Mike Nurse said Drantch’s Channel 4 contract had expired. He added that Channel 4 had the right to match Channel 7’s offer and declined.

Today, The News said Rachel Kingston is getting out of broadcasting to work at the Erie County Sheriff’s Office.

Kingston wrote on her facebook page., “Yes, it is true. My time at Channel 4 – and in news/broadcasting altogether – is drawing to a close.” She added, “While I am leaving journalism, I’m not leaving my native and dearly-loved Western New York.”

Drantch’s defection, along with other departures at the station led Buffalo News TV Critic Alan Pergament to speculate WIVB GM Rene LaSpina‘s belt tightening may be behind the moves. Read more

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.

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.

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