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Fort Wayne

WPTA Reports Morning Anchor’s Drunk Driving Arrest, Drops Her Bio From Website

As Fort Wayne ABC-affiliate WPTA reported on the drunk driving arrest of morning anchor Mary Collins on Wednesday, the station quietly pulled her bio from its website.

Collins, who has been a fixture on Fort Wayne TV since 1996, was arrested Tuesday afternoon in the parking lot of a Walgreens.  A Walgreens employee reportedly called police after Collins purchased a bottle of wine while smelling strongly of alcohol.

When the police arrived, Collins was driving her Lexus SUV up to the Walgreens pharmacy drive-through window.  Police eventually arrested her and found an open bottle of wine in her car. Read more

Longtime WPTA Weathercaster Jay Walker Dies at 74

Jay Walker, a longtime weathercaster for Fort Wayne ABC-affiliate WPTA, has died. He was 74.

Walker spent 30 years, from 1976 to 2006, as a weathercaster for WPTA, from 1976 to 2006. “Even though the weather was really important to him, people were more important, and the way he connected with viewers was amazing,” chief meteorologist Curtis Smith said in a WPTA tribute (watch above). “The way he connected with the audience, and the way they really felt like they knew him, was magical.”

WANE’s Ross Kinsey Leaving Sports Anchor Post

WANE‘s Ross Kinsey (pictured) will resign his post as weekend sports anchor today and transition to a full-time photographer at the station.

Kinsey was a photographer for five years at the Fort Wayne, IN CBS-affiliate before being named weekend sports anchor in 2008. He will still fill-in on the air occasionally, according to the station.

The new weekend sports anchor will be Joe Whelan, who joins WANE from KFYR in Bismarck, ND. He will debut April 7.

Indiana Fox-Affiliate Gives Up on Winless Colts, Decides Not to Broadcast Game

As the Indianapolis Colts’ nightmare season wears on, one Indiana station recently decided that it had seen enough.

WISE, the Fox-affiliate in Fort Wayne, chose not to air the Colts’ game this past Sunday, opting to broadcast the Chicago Bears instead.

“The buck stops with me,” Jerry Giesler, president and general manager of Granite Broadcasting’s Fort Wayne stations, told The Journal Gazette. “We talked a lot about it internally. Of course, the year in, year out logical choice would be the Colts. Absolutely, no question. The reason we went with the Bears was to follow the compelling story, their [playoff] hopes alive, a new quarterback.” Read more

Nexstar Files Antitrust Suit Against Granite

Nexstar Broadcasting filed an antitrust lawsuit today against Granite Broadcasting, claiming the company is monopolizing local television sales in Fort Wayne, IN.

According to Nexstar, Granite will control the local advertising sales for the market stations affiliated with Fox, NBC, ABC, TheCW and MyNetworkTV. The lawsuit was apparently filed in reaction to Granite’s WISE, which is named in the suit, securing the Fox affiliation in Fort Wayne.

Fox was formerly affiliated with Nexstar-owned WFFT, but could not come to an agreement with Nexstar over retransmision fees. WFFT will become an independent station next month. Nexstar is asking that Granite be forced to give up at least one of its “big four” network affiliations.

“Granite’s actions to monopolize advertising sales in Fort Wayne will allow it to raise advertising rates to local businesses that are dependent on a fair and competitive television network marketplace,” Nexstar said in a statement. “The increased advertising rates will likely drive increases in the prices of goods and services for consumers as well.”

After Losing Fox Affiliation, Nexstar-owned WFFT Will Go Independent Next Month

After losing its Fox affiliation last month, Nexstar-owned WFFT will become the first independent station in the Fort Wayne market, Nexstar announced today.

Fox and Nexstar have been locked in a long battle over cable and satellite retransmission fees. Throughout the past several months, Fox has been cutting loose Nexstar-owned stations, forcing them to forge new affiliations in their respective markets. WFFT is the second Nexstar-owned station to announce it will become independent after losing its Fox affiliation –  the other one is Evansville’s WTVW.

The independent WFFT will launch August 1. The station will add news coverage across its broadcasts, with the 10 p.m. weekday newscast to be expanded to a full hour this summer and the 10 p.m. weekend newscast to be expanded to a full hour this fall. Nexstar also announced today that as part of the transition, WFFT will debut high definition programming in October. It will be the first station in the market to make the HD switch.

Read more

WFFT Reporter Kristin Mazur Catches Up with Charlie Sheen Goddess Bree Olson

WFFT reporter Kristin Mazur faced stiff competition outside of a Fort Wayne courthouse on Tuesday as she attempted to interview Charlie Sheen goddess Bree Olson, who was in town to face a DUI charge.

National tabloids, including TMZ and “Inside Edition,” were in northern Indiana to cover Olson’s appearance before a judge. Olson, whose real name is Rachel Oberlin, grew up in the Fort Wayne area and was arrested in early February on suspicion of drunk driving.

As Olson entered the courthouse, Mazur asked her about a rumor that she had tried to pee on the floor of an emergency room following the arrest. Olson answered with an emphatic “No.”

The judge set a 2-day trial for the DUI case and after the hearing Olson appeared alongside her attorney and answered a handful of questions from reporters.  “Other people don’t know Charlie the way that I do,” she said. “I support him 100 percent.” (TMZ video here).

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