“We are delighted to welcome Whitney Ray back to WEHT as she brings the right skill set, community knowledge and commitment to serve as a successful co-anchor in the market,” WEHT vice president and general manager Arika Zink said, announcing the appointment. Read more
Kufner has accepted a “jack of all trades” position with the NBC-affiliate’s sports department. He’ll work as a producer, reporter, photographer, and anchor.
“I’m extremely grateful to WTVW for giving me the opportunity to live and work in Evansville over the last six years,” Kufner told TVSpy via email. “My wife and I are thrilled to be moving to such a wonderful city in Charlotte. I’m very excited to be joining the talented group of journalists at WCNC!” Read more
Kirk, the station’s evening anchor, joined the ABC-affiliate in 1989. Her final appearance at the anchor desk will be the 6 p.m. newscast on Friday.
“I’ve known Shelley for 22 years, 18 of those years I’ve been honored to share the anchor desk with her,” co-anchor Brad Byrd said in a statement. “Shelley’s contribution not only to this station but to the Evansville TV market has been phenomenal.”
Kirk will join Fifth Third Bank in Evansville as marketing director.
Zink will also oversee operations at WTVW, which is operated by Nexstar under a shared services agreement. Since 2009, she has been vice president and general manager of Four Points Media’s West Palm Beach television operations, which include WTVX, WTCN and WWHB.
“She brings multi-station management experience and an impressive track record of programming and operational achievements to her new role,” Nexstar COO Tim Busch said in a statement.
Zink’s appointment is effective today.
In the aftermath of Evansville’s WEHT merger with WTVW last week, some prominent staffers at the station who were casualties of the joint operation have secured new jobs, the Evansville Courier-Press reports.
On the production side, Pumo, who produced the 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts for WEHT, has been hired as an executive producer at WJTV in Jackson, MS. Powers joins Waterman Broadcasting in Fort Myers, FL.
“This process has been painful for some,” Byrd said, referring to the layoffs resulting from the merger. “But I can say to those leaving this building on Merrywood Drive, you’re going to be alright, because you’re dedicated and you’re good people.”
Watch video of Byrd’s sign-off commentary — which includes dramatic use of studio lighting — inside. Read more
Earlier this month came the announcement that a significant number of staffers — from production staff to on-air talent to station management — would be let go. As the station merges operations with independent WTVW, the newscasts will get a new look, and new talent, when the revamped programming debuts next Thursday.
Nexstar agreed to acquire WEHT in August. The employees have been notified that their positions will be terminated when Nexstar officially takes the reins from Gilmore Broadcasting, which is expected at the end of the month.
The Courier & Press reports general manager Doug Padgett, general sales manager Mike Riley and news director Mark Glover are among those who will no longer be employed at WEHT. Reporter and weekend sports anchor Sean Clark-Weiss, morning co-anchor Whitney Ray, reporter Nick LaGrange and sports director Mark McVicar have also been informed they will be let go, as well as “several” producers, directors and editors.
“A man standing behind me has a dangerously close call with a chainsaw during my storm coverage story in Southern Illinois,” WTVW reporter Drew Gardner explains on YouTube, describing the above video.
Gardner was covering a storm that left many trees uprooted when a stump removal worker tripped and nearly fell into his chainsaw. [h/t Gawker]
Nexstar Broadcasting is reportedly set to merge the news operations of two stations in the Evansville market.
According to the Evansville Courier & Press, the company plans to combine the news departments of WEHT–the ABC-affiliate that it just purchased–and WTVW–the former Fox-affiliate that Nexstar is unloading on Mission Broadcasting, a station group that serves as a sort of holding company for Nexstar-operated stations.
Sources tell the Courier & Press that WTVW’s operations, currently located in downtown Evansville, will move to the studios of WEHT, located in Henderson, KY. Perry Sook, Nexstar’s president and CEO, and Timothy Busch, the company’s co-COO, were reportedly in Henderson on Wednesday speaking with WEHT staff. Read more