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Fargo-Valley City

Grand Forks Viewers Want Local Newscast and Anchor Back

wdaz_abcFargo ABC affiliate WDAY and Forum Communications are hearing from viewers angry about the decision to take over the production of the 5:00 p.m. newscast on sister station WDAZ in Grand Forks, ND.

One viewer started a petition at change.org which, as of this writing, is 156 signatures shy of its goal of 1,000. The petition calls for the station to bring back the Grand Forks version of the 5:00 p.m. news along with anchor Terry Dullum.

Fargo NBC and CBS affiliate KVLY and KXJB reports on its website:

A call today to WDAY/WDAZ General Manager Mari Ossenfort was not returned and WDAZ News Director Julie Moravchik has been told to not comment on the matter.

In a published interview Ossenfort defended the decision saying she believes the station should concentrate on producing more content instead of producing more shows. Ossenfort also claimed she has received some positive feedback on the change however most comments on WDAZ’s Facebook page regarding the switch has been overwhelmingly negative.

Former anchor Terry Dullum wrote on his blog Monday about the change that “The decision was not made by anyone in Grand Forks. Certainly, not by me.” He went on to say, “A long-time broadcaster said it best to me years ago. He said television will break your heart. Every time.” Read more

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WDAY Takes Over WDAZ 5 p.m. Newscast

wday_croppedFargo’s WDAY took over the production this week of the 5 p.m. newscast on sister station WDAZ, the ABC affiliate in Grand Forks, the Grand Forks Herald reports:

WDAZ and WDAY began collaborative weekend newscasts in 2011, which gave WDAZ more time and resources to cover more local news on weeknights at 10 and more regional news on the weekends, the statement said. “We want to give North Dakota and Minnesota viewers the best we have to offer,” WDAZ and WDAY General Manager Mari Ossenfort said in the release. “By combining our teams, we’ll be able to make it happen.”

Anchor Terry Dullum was sad to see the broadcast go, as were his Facebook friends and followers. “We’ve focused on local, regional and community news and we’ve had a lot of fun along the way as well,” Dullum wrote in a Monday blog post. “We put a lot of energy into the broadcast in those seventeen years including a little bit of our heart and soul.”

WDAY Reporter Kay Cooley Arrested For DUI

kay cooleyWDAY reporter Kay Cooley was arrested Monday on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reports:

The trooper pulled Cooley over as the result of a citizen’s driving complaint, [Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Jesse] Grabow said. A preliminary breath test showed Cooley had a blood alcohol content of 0.19 percent, more than twice the legal limit for driving of 0.08 percent.

Cooley was booked into the Becker County Jail on suspicion of fourth-degree driving while intoxicated, which is a misdemeanor.

WDAY-TV News Director Jeff Nelson declined to comment on Tuesday. He said Cooley is still employed at the TV station.

Jim Shaw Leaving KVRR For Health Reasons

shaw kvrrJim Shaw, news director at KVRR, has announced he is resigning from the Fargo, ND, FOX affiliate.

Shaw has led the news department since it launched in 2000. KVRR said his last day is Friday.

“It was a very, very difficult decision to make,” Shaw told The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He then described how the newsroom reacted after he announced his decision. “I was crying, they were crying, a very emotional day.”

Although he is recovering from complications stemming from an intestinal infection, Shaw said he decided he needs more time to fully recover and regain his energy.

“I don’t have a full tank of gas in me,” he said. “I’m running with less than a full tank.”

Shaw was able to return to work a couple of months ago following a medical leave, but said he doesn’t have the energy to be as engaged as he would like. Read more

WDAY Launching Statewide Morning Newscast

wday_croppedWDAY in Fargo is launching North Dakota’s first statewide morning newscast.

Beginning April 28, WDAY’s morning newscast will air on stations in Grand Forks, Bismarck, Minot, Williston and Dickinson, N.D. The newscast, which runs from 5 to 7 a.m. and is anchored by Travis Skonseng and Rebecca Lebak, will also be available on WDAY-AM and online.

Earlier this year, WDAY launched a statewide weekend newscast.

Daryl Ritchison Signs Off From WDAY

daryl ritchisonDaryl Ritchison, the morning meteorologist at WDAY in Fargo, is leaving the station for a job at North Dakota State University.

“I’ve never actually had a ‘day job,’ so to speak, in my adult life,” Ritchison told The Forum. “So it was just an opportunity that I just thought I would take.”

Ritchison has worked at WDAY for 18 years. Before that, he worked at KSFY in Sioux Falls, S.D. and KEYC in Mankato, Minn.

WDAY news director Jeff Nelson said Aaron White and Rebecca Lebak will fill in until a permanent replacement is named.

“It’s too bad. I wish he was staying, but I understand that working, getting up at 3 a.m. every morning and doing it for that long has got to be tough on a person,” Nelson told The Forum. “I wish him nothing but the best. He was always the consummate professional here.”

What Are Local Stations Covering?

Fargo Station to Launch Statewide Newscast

wday_croppedWDAY is about to launch a newscast that will be seen throughout all of North Dakota.

“WDAY News will broadcast on all the ABC affiliates in North Dakota on Sunday’s at 530P,” Forum Communications director of broadcasting Mari Ossenfort told TVSpy. “We will deliver the news, weather and sports that is important to ND and the region, since our signal also reaches Canada, western Minnesota, the northern peak of South Dakota and the eastern fringe of Montana.”

Forum Communications, owner of WDAY plans to use its other owned stations WDAZ in Grand Forks, ND, KBMY in Bismarck, ND, and KMCY in Minot, ND. Read more

Fargo’s KVRR Transitions to HD

kvrr setFargo Fox affiliate KVRR made the transition to high definition this week, the Forum News Service reports:

The switch required purchasing high-definition gear, a studio redesign and a lot of work, said Kathy Lau, general manager of KVRR and chief operating officer of Red River Broadcast and Red Rock Radio. “From a management point of view, it’s been almost like building a station from the ground up,” Lau said. “It’s been no simple task, but we’re very excited. We’re looking to give our viewers the best product possible.”

In Fargo, ABC affiliate WDAY was the first station to switch to HD, according to the Forum News Service. KVLY-KXJB also broadcast in HD.

Fargo Station Works Out Deal with School Districts to Avoid Prosecution

MellaneyMoorePioneer Press is reporting Fargo CBS and NBC affiliate KVLY-KXJB has agreed to not assign school stories to reporter Mellaney Moore for 90 days in exchange for the having trespassing charges against her dropped in Fargo and Moorhead, MN.

Moore was investigated by West Fargo, Fargo and Moorhead after her hidden camera investigation into school security where she entered three different schools without checking in at the front desks.

The essentially identical agreements hashed out with school officials — signed by the districts’ superintendents as well as Moore, the news director and the general manager of Valley News Live — say the districts will ask prosecutors to charge Moore if she commits any trespassing violations in the next year.

The mediated settlement specifies that officials from neither the districts nor Valley News Live will take retaliatory action against each other in the wake of the agreement. Read more

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