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Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo

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

In Grand Rapids, WOOD Adds 4:30 a.m. Newscast

Starting Monday, Grand Rapids NBC-affiliate WOOD will start the morning newscast at 4:30 a.m.

“We’re responding to changes in viewers’ habits being seen all over the country,” news director Rebecca Sapakie said in a statement. “Our entire team will be here ready to go at 4:30 a.m.”

WOOD’s normal morning team — anchors Emily Linnert and Brett Thomas (pictured) and meteorologist Terri DeBoer — will helm the extra half-hour.

WWMT Debuts Western Michigan’s First 4:30 a.m. Newscast

WWMT in Grand Rapids, MI debuted the market’s first 4:30 a.m. newscast today.

“We are proud to be the first to offer a 4:30 a.m. local newscast to Western Michigan,” WWMT vice president and general manager Jim Lutton said, announcing the newscast’s debut.  “We are dedicated to being the news leader in the market and this shows our commitment to those efforts.”

Now appearing a half-hour earlier every weekday, is the WWMT morning team of Josh Roe, Marcie Kobriger, and Jeff Porter. Read more

GM Jim Lutton Says WWMT Sees Positive Changes Under Sinclair Ownership

Sinclair Broadcast Group officially closed the $385 million acquisition of Freedom Communications eight-station group yesterday, and the stations — which have been operated by Sinclair since December — are already seeing changes.

Jim Lutton, who will continue as vice president and general manager of WWMT in Grand Rapids, told mlive.com that Sinclair wants the station “to be successful.”

Lutton said WWMT has been equipped with new “live stream” technology, which increases the number of areas WWMT can broadcast from using cellular and Web-based devices. The station has also hired new employees. Read more

Nicole DiDonato, Morgan Bond Join WXMI

Nicole DiDonato and Morgan Bond (pictured) have been hired at WXMI, the Fox-affiliate in Grand Rapids.

DiDonato will be a multimedia journalist on the station’s morning newscast. Until 2010, she was a weekend anchor and reporter at WFIE, the NBC-affiliate in Evansville.  A Michigan native, DiDanato begin her career at WXYZ in Detroit, where she was a writer, associate producer and production assistant.

Bond, also a Michigan native, will be a multimedia journalist for the station’s evening newscasts beginning on March 14. She joins WXMI from KRBC in Abilene.

WOOD Reporter Anne Schieber Leaving TV, But Still Using Reporting Skills

After 14 years at Grand Rapids NBC-affiliate WOOD, reporter Anne Schieber has left television to join the Mackinac Center for Public Policy as a senior investigative analyst.

In a statement announcing her hire, Schieber said the move was a natural step from her reporting position at WOOD.

“My goal as a reporter has always been to take what is important and make it interesting, not the other way around,” she said. “I look forward to investigating complex policy issues and showing how they impact people’s lives.”

Schieber joined WOOD in 1998. Her last day on the air was January 3.

WXMI Cameraman Falls Off a Fitness Ball During Demonstration on Morning Newscast

WXMI anchor Sarah Brodhead enlisted a cameraman to help her demonstrate how to use a fitness ball on a recent morning-show segment. Predictably, it ended badly. (Watch the video, above.)

[h/t Mike McGuff]

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