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Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo

WZZM to Launch 5:00 p.m. Newscast

WZZM_2009_Logo (1)Grand Rapids ABC affiliate WZZM has announced it is launching a 5:00 p.m newscast on September 8.

Nick LaFave and Juliet Dragos will anchor the 30-minute show.

In a statement, Janet Mason, president and GM of WZZM said, “We’re very excited to be able to offer this important local newscast at 5 p.m. to West Michigan news consumers.” Read more

WZZM Moves Van Ameyde Off Anchor Desk, Names Replacement

two wzzm anchorsGannett owned ABC affiliate WZZM has announced it’s moving Lee Van Ameyde (pictured right) off the anchor desk and into the role of managing editor of its Watchdog Investigative Team.

“No one knows West Michigan like Lee does,” WZZM news director Taz Painter said in a statement. “Our Watchdog team couldn’t be in better hands.”

The station also named Nick LaFave (left) as Van Ameyde’s replacement on the weekday evening newscasts. He will join Juliet Dragos starting in early September. Read more

WZZM’s Dan Harland Moving from Sports to News

harland wzzmGrand Rapids, MI, ABC affiliate WZZM has announced sports anchor Dan Harland will be the new morning anchor.

Harland will join Lauren Stanton and meteorologist Aaron Ofseyer on August 7.

“We expect Dan will go after the news of the day with the same passion he has for sports stories,” Janet Mason, president and GM of WZZM said in a statement.

Harland started his carer at WZZM in 2003 as a sports anchor after graduating from Southern Illinois University.

Meteorologist Laura Velasquez Joining KDVR

LAURA VELASQUEZMeteorologist Laura Velasquez is leaving WOOD in Grand Rapids to join KDVR in Denver, mlive.com reports:

“I’ve loved my time at WOOD TV,” she said. “They believed in my talent and passion right from the start and gave me the platform and encouragement to grow as a meteorologist, broadcaster and professional.”

Velasquez is looking forward to joining KDVR-TV, the FOX TV affiliate in Denver, the 17th largest TV market with more than 1.5 million viewers. “I wanted to stay in a ‘weather’ market – somewhere where the weather is challenging,” she said. “I’ll get to forecast everything from blizzards to tornadoes and everything in between.”

“Forecasting is going to be different at first, but I’m ready and looking forward to it,” Velasquez said.

Grand Rapids Anchor Back On-Air After Being Severly Burned by Campfire

michele-deselmsMichele DeSelms anchor for Grand Rapids FOX affiliate WXMI, is back on the air after suffering second and third degree burns over the Memorial Day weekend.

She told The Grand Rapids Press she got up from her chair near a campfire and “stepped onto a red-hot grate that had just been removed from atop the firepit. It seared the flesh on her foot and eventually created a massive hole in her arch.”

She also talked about her injury on Thursday’s 6:00 p.m. and thanked viewers for their support. You can watch the video of her return after the jump.

DeSelms had been out for three weeks. She told The Press she, her news director and co-anchor Christian Frank decided not to let viewers know about the injuries unless she was asked. Read more

WXMI in Grand Rapids Adds 11 p.m. Newscast

WXMI, the Fox affiliate in Grand Rapids, is adding a daily 11 p.m. newscast beginning June 2.

Mlive.com reports the newscast will be anchored by Mitch Fick and Ann Marie LaFlamme on weekdays, Dave Spencer on Saturdays and Michele DeSelms on Sundays. WXMI also plans to launch a 4 p.m. newscast this fall.

The station has been poking fun at its former slogan — “at 10 it’s news, at 11 it’s history” — with a new series of promos:

WZZM Morning Anchor Leaving Station

francis wzzm byeDerek Francis, (pictured second from right) morning anchor for Grand Rapids, MI, ABC affiliate WZZM announced on-air this morning he was leaving the station to work at a local PR firm.

“After this long, our viewers deserve some new, fresh energy and some new jokes,” said Francis on the station’s website.

Francis, whose last day is next Wednesday, started working in TV in Phoenix in 1995. He has also worked in Tennessee and Washington. He has worked at WZZM for 11 years.

You can watch his goodbye after the jump. Read more

WZZM Expands Noon News

WZZM_2009_LogoGrand Rapids ABC affiliate WZZM is adding thirty minutes to its weekday Noon show.

“We are thrilled about expanding this extremely popular newscast,” Janet Mason, president and GM of WZZM said in a statement. “Our viewers will now have the opportunity to enjoy more of their favorite local news and weather during their lunch hour.”

Lauren Stanton and meteorologist Aaron Ofseyer will anchor the news which will run until 1:00 p.m. beginning Tuesday, May 27.

WBIR Gave Taz Painter a Goodbye to Remember Before He Left for WZZM

Painter goodbye WBIRTaz Painter started work at his new job as news director of Gannett owned Grand Rapids, MI, ABC affiliate WZZM today.

Last week, his old station, Gannett owned WBIR in Knoxville, said goodbye with a list of what Painter would find in Grand Rapids, videotaped tributes from colleagues, and an appearance by Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, who brought a bag of Chuy’s Mexican Food and a proclamation declaring April 9 “Taz Painter Appreciation Day.”

“And I understand what this qualifies you for, if you pull out of town and you’re speeding,” said Burchett while handing Painter the proclamation. “If you show that to the sheriff’s deputies that they just put the taser on stun.”

Watch the video after the jump. Read more

WZZM Names Taz Painter News Director

taz painter smallTaz Painter has been named news director at WZZM, the ABC affiliate in Grand Rapids, Mich. Painter begins in his new role on April 14.

It is a move within Gannett for Painter, who has been managing editor at WBIR, the NBC affiliate in Knoxville, since 2007. He previously worked at KOAT in Albuquerque and WYFF in Greenville, S.C.

“Taz has a passion for creative storytelling, with an emphasis on watchdog and advocacy journalism, on all multimedia platforms. He brings a wealth of experience from his years at the top-rated station in Knoxville,” WZZM president and general manager Janet Mason said in a statement.

Painter replaces Stanton Tang, who is leaving WZZM to be closer to his family.

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