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Huntsville-Decatur

Huntsville Station Finds Rattlesnake Relaxing in a Corner

Staffers at WAAY in Huntsville, AL, found a surprise coiled up in a dark corner of the ABC affiliate’s sales office: a real live rattlesnake.

The snake was resting on a sticky trap. We’re guessing the snake was sitting at its favorite restaurant table. By the looks of the floor around it, the trap was filled with what appeared to be rodent droppings.

Despite the attention, it never sounded its alarm system (the rattle) and even tried to avoid one staffer with a camera that got awfully close before escaping through a hole in the wall.

We asked station management about the visitor but haven’t heard back. We’ll update when we do.

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Venton Blandin Leaving Huntsville for Birmingham

BlandinWHNTAfter nearly 6 years at WHNT in Huntsville, AL, Venton Blandin is heading about 100 miles down I-65 where he’ll join ABC 33/40 in Birmingham. Blandin has been the “Fighting for You” reporter at WHNT. He signed off during the station’s 5pm newscast Thursday. Yesterday, Huntsville’s mayor presented the ‘Mayor’s Coin’ to Blandin for his service to the community.

Jennifer Hardy Named WAAY News Director

WAAY31Logo300dpibJennifer Hardy has been named news director for Huntsville, AL, ABC affiliate WAAY.

Hardy comes to WAAY from KOLO in Reno, NV, where she is news director.

“Jennifer is a high-energy, positive force that will guide our news efforts and re-invent what we do,” Dughi told staffers in an email. “She balances great journalism with great story-telling,  understands progressive production techniques and engaged newscasts, and marketing needs.  She gets digital and social.”

Hardy has also worked as assistant ND at KVVU in Las Vegas, KXLY in Spokane, WA, and KOKI in Tulsa, OK. She has also worked at WMC in Memphis, TN, KOLD in Tucson, AZ, and KRNV in Reno, NV, as EP.

According to Paul Dughi, VP and GM of WAAY, Hardy will start June 2nd.

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Paul Dughi Named VP-GM at WAAY

paul dughiPaul Dughi has been named vice president and general manager of WAAY, Calkins Media’s ABC affiliate in Huntsville-Decatur, Ala. He will begin at the station in January.

In a note announcing the hire, Jeff Benninghoff, the vice president and general manager of sister station WWSB, said Dughi brings “an impressive track record in broadcasting.” Dughi was previously the president of Cowles California Media Company, which owns and operates six stations in California. He is a former general manager of KNDO-KNDU in Yakima and news director at WBNS in Columbus, KHQ in Spokane and WAEO in Rhinelander, Wisc.

Dughi replaces Art Lanham, who tipsters tell us resigned in October. Read Benninghoff’s note after the jump. Read more

WAAY Reporter Fired After Posting List of Confessions to Personal Blog

Shea Allen, investigative reporter for Huntsville, AL, ABC affiliate WAAY, has confirmed with TVSpy she has been fired by the station.

Friday, Allen posted a list confessions to her personal blog “Shea Allen Says…” titled “No Apologies: Confessions of a Red Headed Reporter” listing ten confessions ranging from, “I’ve taken naps in the news car,” and “If you ramble and I deem you unnecessary for my story, I’ll stop recording but let you think otherwise,” to “I’ve stolen mail and then put it back. (maybe).”

She initially took the post down.  But later re-posted it and wrote, “This post was taken down because I was momentarily misguided about who I am and what I stand for.” Today, Allen told Andrew Kirell of Mediaite via Twitter she had been “terminated without cause” for the post.

TVSpy has reached out to WAAY for comment.  We will update when we hear back. Read more

Dish Network Pulls Plug on Grant Stations Over Retrans Deal

Dish Network subscribers won’t be able watch their favorite shows on stations owned by Grant Communications until the two settle their dispute over retransmission fees.

On Saturday February 16, Grant’s four FOX affiliates, WZDX in Huntsville, AL, WFXR, Roanoke,VA, KLJB in Quad Cities and WLAX-WEUX in La Crosse, WI, as well as two CW stations and one MyNetworkTV station went dark as part of the dispute.

WZDX, the FOX affiliate in Huntsville posted a statement about the dispute on its website saying,

Contrary to what you may have been told or read, FOX 54 has asked Dish to pay rates comparable to those being paid by your local cable systems now. That is fair and equitable, as already determined by the marketplace. We understand the public’s frustration with this situation, and we remain committed to reaching a solution with Dish without disrupting FOX 54′s programming. Read more

CNN’s Candy Crowley Talks to WHNT About Moderating the Next Presidential Debate

Tonight’s Vice Presidential debate will be moderated by ABC’s Martha Raddatz, but next up is CNN’s Candy Crowley, who will moderate a town-hall style Presidential debate Tuesday night at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.

Crowley was interviewed Thursday morning by WHNT, the CBS affiliate in Huntsville, Ala. (video above).  “I think it’s just a decision that comes organically,” Crowley told Michelle Stark. “Like, ‘We’ve heard this talking point now way too many times, we need to move on,’ and ‘Hey, this is interesting. Let’s let it breathe.’”

VIDEO: Snake Ruins WAAY Reporter’s Stand-Up

WAAY reporter Rebecca Shlien didn’t have a problem with draping a snake on her shoulders to shoot a stand-up, but it appears like the snake may have been a little anxious about it.

Working on a story about snakes in North Alabama, Shlien was filming her stand-up when the snake she was holding started to vomit (video above). Read more

VIDEO: WAAF Anchor Falls Out of His Chair

The WAAF anchor desk appeared to swallow Stephen McLamb coming out of a commercial break on Saturday morning.

Tuning into WAAF’s morning newscast, viewers in Huntsville saw McLamb, who has been a reporter and weekend anchor at the station for a little over a year, frantically searching for his lavalier before falling off his chair (video above).

Video: Pro Wrestler Eric Young Delivers Reports on Traffic, Hurricane Irene on WHNT

Ahead of a taping of TNA Impact Wrestling in Huntsville, AL, yesterday, TNA wrestler Eric Young stopped by the WHNT studios to deliver the traffic and weather reports with meteorologist Ben Smith and traffic reporter Nate Adams. Things started off okay, but quickly descended into chaos — especially for Adams, who is no physical match for Young. (Watch the video, above.)

“We got some red stuff down here in this area,” Young said, pointing to a tropical depression on the weather map. “That’s not good, right?”