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Cedar Rapids

KGAN Reports on Former News Director’s Continued Investigation into Disappearance of Local Anchor

Cedar Rapids CBS-affiliate KGAN recently reported on some renewed interest in the disappearance of Jodi Huisentruit, who began her broadcasting career with the station.

Huisentruit disappeared in 1995, a short time before she was expected to arrive for work as a morning anchor for KIMT in Mason City.

“Investigators believe she was kidnapped, but they’ve never named a suspect, or found her body,” KGAN reporter Alice Barr told viewers on Thursday.  “Now some renewed interest in the case has her family and friends more dedicated than ever to finding justice for Jodi.” Read more

Jim McKernan Named KWWL General Manager

Jim McKernan has been named vice president and general manager of KWWL, the NBC-affiliate in Cedar Rapids. His first day will be February 27.

McKernan joins the station from Bonten Media Group, where he was a senior vice president, overseeing WCYB-WEMT in the Tri-Cities (Tennessee and Virginia) and WCTI in Greenville, NC.

According to Broadcasting & Cable, McKernan signed off from his post in an email, writing that he wishes “the fine people of Bonten Media Group much success going forward.”

KCRG Debuts HD Set, Showcasing Largest Touch Screen in the Country

KCRG is now broadcasting the news in HD. The Cedar Rapids ABC-affiliate debuted its new, high-definition look–which includes a new set and new graphics–over the weekend.

The centerpiece of the new set is a 113-inch interactive touch screen, which KCRG describes as the largest touch screen of its kind in the country.

“This is an exciting time,” anchor Bruce Aune said. “We made this investment to deliver stories that matter to our viewers.” Read more

‘We Will Show Dead Babies on Every Television Station in the State of Iowa’

A man who claims to be running for President has promised to buy airtime on stations across Iowa to run graphic anti-abortion ads that display images of aborted fetuses, often in bizarre poses.

“We will show dead babies on every television station in the state of Iowa,” Randall Terry, a Democrat, declared recently.

Targeting pro-lifers who may have voted for Obama in the last presidential election, Terry has so far attempted to buy spots on stations in Cedar Rapids. KGAN, the market’s CBS-affiliate, has refused to run the ads–not necessarily because of their graphic nature but because Terry hasn’t established himself enough as a legitimate presidential candidate. Read more

Longtime KCRG Anchor Wins Iowa Senate Seat

Liz Mathis, who is well-known in Eastern Iowa for her time as an anchor with KCRG in Cedar Rapids and KWWL in Waterloo, won her race for an Iowa state senate on Tuesday.

Since leaving KCRG in 2007, Mathis has worked as a community relations executive with a family service and child welfare organization.  She announced her bid for the vacant senate seat in September.

Running as a Democrat, Mathis, 53, gained roughly 56% of the vote in a race in which she raised significantly more money than her competitors.

Mathis spent over 25 years working in TV news.  She was an anchor at ABC-affiliate KCRG from 1998 to 2007 and, before that, worked as an executive producer and anchor at NBC-affiliate KWWL for 16 years.

Dan Schillinger Joins KWWL As News Director

Dan Schillinger has joined KWWL, the NBC-affiliate in Cedar Rapids, IA, as news director.

Schillinger comes from Augusta ABC-affiliate WJBF, where he was news operations manager and executive producer. Prior to that, he was the news director at KCEN, the NBC-affiliate in Waco, TX, and KEVN, the Fox-affiliate in Rapid City, SD.

“The station has a long history of news leadership in Iowa but it’s not resting on past accomplishments,” Schillinger said in a statement. “I look forward to helping the staff grow and adapt to this changing media environment.” Read more

Natasha Chughtai Joins KWWL From KLSR

Natasha Chughtai is set to become the newest morning anchor at KWWL in Cedar Rapids on October 24.

Chughtai, currently an anchor-reporter at KLSR in Eugene, OR, will replace Sunny Layne, who is leaving the station to spend more time with her family.

“I have some very big shoes to fill with Sunny leaving, but I cannot wait to start and move to the Waterloo-Ceder Falls area,” Chughtai wrote on the KWWL Facebook page.

She will co-anchor the morning newscast at the NBC-affiliate with Jeff Eliasoph and meteorologist Eileen Loan.

Former KCRG Anchor Running for Iowa Senate Seat

Liz Mathis, a former anchor with KCRG in Cedar Rapids and KWWL in Waterloo, is joining the race to fill a vacant seat in the Iowa senate.

“People all over are trying to get back on their feet from this lingering national recession,” Mathis said. “They need jobs and they need stability for their families, and all we’re getting from our government is gridlock. It must change.”

Mathis is running as a Democrat and is so far the only representative of her party vying for the seat vacated by Democrat Swati Dandekar, who resigned to accept a job on the state’s utilities board. Read more

Reporter Proposes to Girlfriend with Fake News Story

Trying to figure out how to propose to his girlfriend, KGAN reporter Brian Scott decided to do what comes naturally for him: he created a news package. On Saturday, Scott played the fake news story for his girlfriend Amber and taped her reaction (video above).

“I wanted to do something personal, not too public, but still something we could enjoy forever and something that really described us as a couple,” Scott told TVSpy. “I decided to do this because it’s something I know (making news stories) and it’s something where I could include a lot of inside jokes and really make something special.”

Spoiler: she said “Yes.”

In Hawaii, KDKA Assistant ND Went from ‘On Vacation’ to ‘On Location’ as Tsunami Loomed

KDKA assistant news director Brenda Pavillian‘s two-week Hawaiian vacation was interrupted last week when tsunami warnings changed her status from on vacation to on location.

Pavillian offered updates via phone for the Pittsburgh CBS O&O as she and her family braced for a potential tsunami.

“We watched live the first wave come in and it really didn’t look like much,” Pavillian reported last Friday. “So far it hasn’t been too bad” (video above).

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