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Evansville

Arika Zink Tapped as VP-GM of WEHT-WTVW

Nexstar Broadcasting has named Arika Zink vice president and general manager of WEHT, the ABC-affiliate in Evansville. She replaces Mike Smith, who is retiring.

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.

WEHT Staffers Relocate After Evansville Merger Leaves Them Unemployed

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.

Among them are reporters Danielle Lama (pictured) and Daniela Perallon, who both joined WEHT in September, and producers Jason Pumo and Rachel Powers.

Lama will join WKOW, the ABC-affiliate in Madison, and Perallon will join WHNT, the CBS-affiliate in Huntsville, AL.

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.

Anchor Brad Byrd Says WEHT-WTVW Merger Has Been ‘Painful For Some’

Beginning today, WEHT and WTVW officially operate as a duopoly under a shared services agreement in Evansville, as Nexstar Broadcasting completes its acquisition of WEHT from Gilmore Broadcasting.

Longtime WEHT anchor Brad Byrd, who will remain with the station under the new management, took a moment on last night’s evening newscast to address the changes that will take place starting today.

“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

Changes Afoot in Evansville, As WEHT and WTVW Merge Operations

In the aftermath of Nexstar’s acquisition of WEHT, big changes are coming to the Evansville ABC-affiliate.

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.

The Evansville Courier-Press reports that WTVW evening anchors Randy Moore and Julie Dolan (pictured) will move to mornings on WEHT, and the pair will be joined by meteorologist Ron Rhodes. Read more

Nexstar Cuts Several Jobs At Evansville’s WEHT

Nexstar Broadcasting has fired several people from WEHT, the ABC-affiliate in Evansville, according to the Evansville Courier & Press.

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.

Video: Man Nearly Saws His Face Off During WTVW Reporter’s Stand-Up

“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]

WEHT and WTVW Reportedly Merging Operations

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

Nexstar Agrees to Acquire WEHT, Swapping Fox for ABC in Evansville

Nexstar Broadcasting has announced  an agreement to buy WEHT, the Evansville, IN ABC affiliate, from Gilmore Broadcasting for $18.5 million.

Nexstar will finance the purchase by divesting assets of WTVW — the Nexstar-owned independent station in Evansville — to Mission Broadcasting, which is a company set up by Nexstar to operate duopolies in 13 other markets. This transaction will provide a local services agreement between Mission and Nexstar, allowing WTVW and WEHT to share services in Evansville.

The two agreements are a result of WTVW losing its Fox affiliation last month after a long battle with Nexstar over retransmission fees. Evansville is one of four markets — including Terre Haute and Fort Wayne, IN, and Springfield, MO — where Nexstar and Fox have parted ways.

The purchase of WEHT is pending FCC approval and is expected to close by the end of 2011.

WFIE: Police Arrest President Obama in Meth Bust

NBC-affiliate WFIE reported on a major meth bust in Owensboro, KY this week in which police arrested three suspects, including President Obama… (video above).

WTVW Goes Independent After Losing Fox Affiliation

Evansville’s WTVW will become independent when its affiliation with Fox expires next month, station owner Nexstar announced today.

Fox announced in May that it would give its Evansville affiliation to WEVV when the WTVW agreement expires July 1. WTVW will dramatically increase its news coverage in the effort to re-brand itself as Local 7, expanding both weekend and morning newscasts.

“Local 7 will build upon its highly successful news product as we are immediately increasing the amount of local news content and are developing other exclusive, locally originated programming,” station vice president and general manager Michael Smith said in a statement.

KTRV, another Fox affiliate, will also opt for independence when its Fox affiliation expires this fall.

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