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Des Moines-Ames

Nexstar Spends Millions on WOI Makeover

woi croppedNexstar owned Des Moines ABC affiliate WOI just got a million dollar makeover.

The station says starting January 5, viewers can expect to see new branding, a full high-definition broadcast airing from a new state-of-the-art facility and some new anchors.

“It’s no secret that the station has struggled over the years for multiple reasons, and we’re ready to bulldoze that image,” WOI news director April Samp told The Des Moines Register. “If people give us a chance, I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised.”

Among the changes viewers will see will be a new anchor line up. Jack Miller will anchor the weekday evening 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. newscasts. He comes from News 13 in Orlando, Fla. Stephanie Angleson will move from her morning anchor slot to join Miller as co-anchor alongside longtime chief meteorologist Brad Edwards and new sports director Jon Schaeffer.

The station has re-named its morning show Good Morning Iowa which will feature anchors Sabrina Ahmed and new anchor Elias Johnson, who comes from Reno’s KRNV. They will be joined by the station’s chief political correspondent Amanda Krenz.

Samp told TVSpy, the station got a complete overhaul after Nexstar brought her in along with new GM Jon Skorburg. She said the station group wanted WOI to become a “leading news station in Central Iowa.” Read more

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Elias Johnson Named Co-Anchor at WOI’s ‘Good Morning Iowa’

Elias-Johnson1

WOI, the ABC affiliate in Des Moines, has announced the addition of Elias Johnson to its morning news team. Johnson will join Sabrina Ahmed and Sam Schreier on “Good Morning Iowa” weekdays from 5:00 to 7:00 a.m.

Johnson was previously the solo anchor at NBC affiliate KRNV in Reno. He announced the news of his departure on his Facebook page yesterday, writing:

The decision may surprise some who’d ask, “Why on earth would you go to ABC 5?” Those who know me understand I am a competitor who looks at challenge as opportunity. I plan to approach this next venture as I do with everything in my life – 100% with everything I’ve got… Proud to be part of the major overhaul at ABC 5 as new ownership and management implement a vision I share and believe in.

Johnson starts his new position on January 5.

Meteorologist Jason Sydejko Joins KCCI

Jason-Sydejko1

KCCI, the CBS affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa, has announced the addition of meteorologist Jason Sydejko to its news team. Sydejko, who was previously chief meteorologist at Duluth, MN, FOX affiliate KQDS, will deliver the weekend evening and noon forecasts.

“Jason is a strong meteorologist with a personality our viewers are going to enjoy getting to know,” KCCI news director Dave Busiek said. “Covering Iowa weather is the most important thing we do at KCCI and we look forward to Jason joining our experienced team of John McLaughlin, Kurtis Gertz, Metinka Slater and Frank Scaglione.”

Sydejko begins his new position next month.

WHO Creates Fake Political Ad Attacking Its Own Anchor

Des Moines NBC affiliate WHO knows how much viewers hate all the political ads taking up precious air time around the country. So the station decided to have a little fun and created its own spoof ad against anchor Dan Winters.

The ad is pretty funny, with lines like “He wants you to think he’s a credible newsman… but his behavior is incredible” and “He turns the news into a one-man comedy routine” and worst of all, “He questions the forecast!” It seems like viewers get the joke, as most of the comments on the Facebook post are positive. Hopefully Winters himself can have a good laugh about it, too…

Des Moines Reporter Pleads Guilty to OWI

heitshusen OWISonya Heitshusen, reporter and anchor for WHO in Des Moines, Iowa, has pleaded guilty to operating while intoxicated, The Des Moines Register reports.

She originally entered a plea of not-guilty to the charge. Heitshusen was arrested in June. That same weekend, another reporter for the NBC affiliate, Erik Wheater, was also arrested for OWI.

Heitshusen, 47, of Des Moines, was pulled over near downtown Des Moines’ entertainment district around 1 a.m. driving the wrong way down a street, authorities said. Police said she at first refused to exit her vehicle, then had trouble balancing and refused any field sobriety or breath tests. Read more

KCCI Returns Steve Karlin to Evenings, Names Replacement

karlin and hansonSteve Karlin (pictured right) is going back to the KCCI 5:00 p.m. news.

Karlin anchored the 5:00 p.m. show for the Des Moines CBS affiliate from 1993 until being moved to mornings in 2011.

The station also announced it’s replacing Karlin in the mornings with Eric Hanson (pictured left). Hanson has worked at KCCI for 14 years.

“I think viewers will be delighted to welcome Steve back to 5pm, where he successfully anchored for many years,” KCCI news director Dave Busiek said in a statement. And Eric is well-known to our viewers and will be a great addition to the morning team.”

Jon Skorburg Named VP-GM of WOI

woi logoNexstar has appointed a new general manager of WOI, its recently-acquired ABC affiliate in Des Moines. Effective immediately, Jon Skorburg has been named vice president and general manager of the station and its associated digital operations.

It is a move within Nexstar for Skorburg, who has been vice president and general manager of Nexstar’s WQRF and Mission Broadcasting’s WTVO in Rockford, Ill., since 2011. Before that, he was the president and CEO of WNWO, the NBC affiliate in Toledo.

“With his local broadcasting expertise, strong client relationships, and dedication to the local Midwest communities that he serves, we are confident in Jon’s ability to provide effective leadership and to build upon the success of WOI-TV,” Nexstar Broadcasting COO Brian Jones said in a statement.

Skorburg replaces Russ Hamilton, who has been general manager of WOI since 2011.

Two WHO Reporters Arrested for DUI

sonya heitshusen mug shotTwo WHO reporters– Sonya Heitshusen and Erik Wheater — were arrested for driving while intoxicated over the weekend, the Des Moines Register reports.

Wheater was arrested Friday after police pulled him over because his car did not have a front license plate. He was “unsteady on his feet and fumbled looking for his license, registration and insurance,” according to the Register. A preliminary test found him to have a .125 percent blood alcohol level, according to the Register.

Heitshusen, who is a reporter and anchor of the 5 p.m. newscast, was arrested Saturday for OWI and driving on the wrong side of the street. She was taken to the county jail after she refused a breath test, the Register reports.

It was a first-time offense for both. According to a search of TVEyes, the station has not yet reported on the arrests.

TV Stations Use Hot Water to Show What the Cold Can Do…to Hot Water


With this week’s cold snap, TV stations are looking for ways to show just how cold it is outside. More than a few stations are showing the trick where hot water turns to snow when it’s thrown into the freezing air.

Jim Romenesko points out this is quickly becoming the winter equivalent of frying an egg on the sidewalk in summer.

Yesterday in Chicago, both WBBM meteorologist Mary Kay Kleist and WGN morning show reporter Marcus Leshock added to the Windy City’s snow totals with the demo. Leshock also showed how quickly the cold turned a wet t-shirt into what looked like cardboard.

Gannett stations are KTHV in Little Rock is sharing a video of Des Moines, IA, CBS affiliate KCCI reporter Kim St. Onge demonstrating the trick.

If you notice any stations throwing hot water into cold air or using the “see what happens to a wet t-shirt” trick feel free to post them in the comments section.

Brian Sather Named General Manager of KCCI

Brian SatherBrian Sather has been named president and general manager of KCCI, Hearst’s CBS affiliate in Des Moines. It is a move within Hearst for Sather, who has been GM of KHBS-KHOG in Fort Smith, Ark. since 2010.

Sather replaces Paul Fredericksen, who is retiring after nearly 30 years at KCCI.

“Brian has a strong understanding of the local television business and a proven track record of success at our stations in Ft. Smith/Fayetteville and Omaha,” Hearst Television CEO David J. Barrett said in a statement.  “He will do an excellent job in leading KCCI and building upon the outstanding foundation developed by Paul.”

Before joining KHBS-KHOG, Sather spent 13 years at KETV, Hearst’s ABC affiliate in Omaha. He began as national sales manager, then became local sales manager and general sales manager.

More from Hearst after the jump. Read more

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