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Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo

Heather Walker Joins WOOD in Grand Rapids

Heather Walker has joined WOOD, the Grand Rapids NBC affiliate, as a reporter.

“WOOD-TV has such a great reputation around the country for its investigative work,” said Walker. “I’m thrilled to be a part of the team and to start telling West Michigan’s stories that matter.”

Walker comes to WOOD from CBS affiliate KIMA in Yakima, WA where she was an investigative reporter and anchor.

According to MLive.com, Walker is expected to make her debut on the WOOD news at 10 and 11 p.m. sometime next week.

Entertainment Reporter Emily Richett Leaving WXMI

Emily Richett is leaving WXMI after almost seven years as a feature and entertainment reporter for the Grand Rapids Fox affiliate.

“Being a FOX 17 News Reporter and sharing stories about the people, places and good news in our community has been a dream job,” she wrote on Facebook Monday. “But after 6.5 years, I’ve decided it was time for the next story in my career.”

Friday will be Richett’s last day reporting for the WXMI morning newscast. She said has “an exciting new adventure” that she will share soon. [h/t MLive.com]

Grand Rapids’ WOOD Upgrades Look

WOOD, the NBC affiliate in Grand Rapids Michigan, unveiled a sleek new set this week.

Designed by FX Design Group, the set was a year in planning and features the use of bold color graphics and a massive wall of monitors featuring 16 55″ flat screens.  The monitors can be fed as a whole or by single feeds.

Newscast Studio has a brief explanation and pictures of the design on their site.  Click here to view.  WOOD’s website also features both a retrospective of the station’s sets over fifty years and a gallery of their new set.  Click here to see the 50 year retrospectiveClick here to view the new set gallery.  You can also watch a video walk through with WOOD anchors and a shot of the monitor wall after the jump.

Read more

Sportscaster Casey Jones Returns to Grand Rapids

Casey Jones has joined WOOD, the NBC-affiliate in Grand Rapids, as the weekend sports anchor.

Jones, a Grand Rapids native, joins WOOD after a year as a multimedia journalist at WSJV, the Fox-affiliate in South Bend. Prior to that, he was a part-time member of the WOOD sports department.

“When you grow up watching a station and get into the business because of the people who represent that station, it’s really surreal to think that you’re now a part of that pedigree,” Jones said. “I’ve always imagined myself at WOOD TV and it’s a dream come true to be back home.”

WXMI Fires Reporter For Failing to Disclose Ties to Atheist Group He Was Covering

WXMI has fired reporter and weekend anchor Jason Volentine after he failed to disclose his connection to an atheist group that he was covering.

In July, Volentine did a story for WXMI about the Freedom From Religion Foundation‘s campaign to have the image of a church removed from the city logo of Wyoming, MI.  MLive reports that the Grand Rapids Fox-affiliate dismissed Volentine when it learned that he had ties to the FFRF, a Wisconsin-based organization that fights for the separation of church and state. Read more

WOOD’s Jason Terzis Leaving Grand Rapids

After almost 15 years at WOOD, sports anchor Jason Terzis is leaving the Grand Rapids NBC-affiliate.

Terzis told mlive.com he wants to spend more time with his children, who are starting school in September. His family is moving to Charlotte at the end of the summer.

“It has nothing to do with my job and the people at TV8, but it has everything to do with my family and my schedule,” he said. “What I’ve been doing is my dream job. What’s really led to this decision, though, is I’ve worked every weekend for the past 20 years.” Read more

VIDEO: Stray Cat Jumps on Reporter During Live Shot

A random cat crashed WXMI reporter Nicole DiDonato‘s live shot Thursday morning, jumping onto her shoulder and sinking its claws in.

DiDonato was shooting a live tease outside of a local microbrewery during the Fox-affiliate’s morning newscast when the stray cat decided to make a cameo (video above).

“Learned my lesson: Never making eye contact with a cat before a live tease ever again,” DiDonato tweeted following the incident. [WXMI]

Jennifer Dowling Joins WXMI From Rival WWMT

Jennifer Dowling has jumped from WWMT in Grand Rapids to rival WXMI, MLive.com reports.

Dowling was a crime and courts reporter and fill-in anchor at CBS-affiliate WWMT. She joined the station in 2010 from WILX, the NBC-affiliate in Lansing, MI. She has also worked at KEVN in Rapid City, SD, KTIV in Sioux City, IA and WHO in Des Moines.

The Michigan native began at Fox-affiliate WXMI last week.

Rick Mecklenburg Joins WXMI as Chief Meteorologist

Rick Mecklenburg has joined WXMI, the Fox-affiliate in Grand Rapids, as chief meteorologist.

Mecklenburg officially joined the station on May 1. He made his on-air debut last week.

Mecklenberg is a former chief meteorologist at WSBT, the CBS-affiliate in South Bend. He filled in on WXMI after the departure of chief meteorologist Peter Chan last year. [via NewsBlues]

WZZM’s 1970s News Team Anchors Evening Newscast in Honor of Station’s 50th Anniversary

Grand Rapids ABC-affiliate WZZM is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a series of “retro newscasts.”

Last night, the station invited three on-air personalities from the 70s — anchor Barry Shanley, sportscaster Sam Hooks and weathercaster Craig James –  back to the anchor desk for the 5:30 and 6 p.m. newscast, which is still anchored by Lee Van Ameyde.

“I haven’t made a mistake here in 26 years,” Shanley joked. Watch Hooks’ sportscast and James’ forecast after the jump… Read more

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