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Independent Stations

Iconic KTLA Tower Comes Down in LA

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For more than six decades, the KTLA call letters have loomed proudly over the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Van Ness Street in Los Angeles. On Monday, the tower came down. “When you are driving up or down the 101, you see that tower, you know where you are,” Eric Spillman, a longtime reporter at the LA independent station, told the Los Angeles Times. “To see it taken apart and moved, people are going to feel like something’s missing.”

The tower was forced from its perch to make way for a new 14-story office building, but the tower will be back–set to move back to its original location in Hollywood sometime in 2015.

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San Diego Anchor Has Cameo in ‘Nightcrawler,’ A Creepy Look at Local TV News

“Nighcrawler” is a new film starring Jake Gyllenhaal opening today.

Gyllenhaal plays a creepy overnight news stringer. Rene Russo is a news director who subscribes to the “if it bleeds it leads” philosophy.

Lisa Remillard, who anchors for San Diego independent station KUSI, is one of many local TV anchors with a cameo in the film. She told the San Diego Reader the film is interesting, but not all that accurate.

“It’s an interesting way of how others perceive it to be,” said Remillard. “When a stringer delivers video, we either use it or we don’t. It doesn’t make or break our newscast, and I have never worked in a shop where it does. Very rarely have I personally used a stringer video, particularly in the manner in which the film portrays it.”

Remillard told the Reader she wasn’t sure she’d make it in the film. “I thought for sure they would cut. Even though they were so nice, I had no hope that they were going to keep me in the movie.” Read more

NY1 Anchor, Reporter Featured on Beastie Boys Musician’s Guitar Strap

Guitar Center Presents The 6th Annual Little Kids Rock BenefitPerhaps Pat Kiernan put it best: “never predicted this.” Who could have? But now we know. Kiernan, anchor at New York City’s NY1, can point to the most unique example of his street cred: his face is featured in Beastie Boys’ guitarist Adam Horovitz‘s guitar strap. Yes way.

Horovitz’s wife, Kathleen Hanna tweeted a photo of the guitar strap’s detail, with images of the iconic NY1 logo, and photos of Kiernan and NY1 reporter Roger Clark. Gothamist has reaction from both men about their place in music history:

Clark—a seasoned drummer and air guitarist—tells us, “I am really honored that an artist and musician like Adam Horovitz, who I have admired for years, would pay tribute to NY1 and Pat and I in such a cool way. Anyone who knows me can tell you how much the music of the Beastie Boys was a part of my life since they first came on the scene. Plus the fact that Adam’s wife Kathleen Hanna tweeted about the guitar strap is amazing. She is another one of my all time favorites from Bikini Kill to Le Tigre and now The Julie Ruin. I saw them perform a Joan Jett song together at the Little Kids Rock Benefit last Thursday night at Hammerstein Ballroom and it was amazing.”

Kiernan, however, is wondering what’s next: “I knew Ad-Rock to be a regular viewer and a fan, but this is a level of loyalty that troubles me. Will Roger feel obligated to use Ad-Rock mittens on the air this winter? Will I feel compelled to design an Ad-Rock elastic band to wrap around my newspapers? This is a slippery slope.”

‘She’s Not Letting Me Do My Job’: TV Reporter Struggles On Air With Pumpkin Fest Organizer


Covering a pumpkin festival rarely leads reporters to expect an on-air confrontation, but little about the Keene Pumpkin Festival in New Hampshire went as expected Saturday night. When crowds got rowdy, riot police were sent in and thirty people were injured.

Reporter Jared Goodell of Cheshire TV attempted to talk about that with Keene Pumpkin Festival organizer Ruth Sterling, but the interview was testy–with Sterling attempting several times to grab the microphone out of Goodell’s hands. “She’s not letting me do my job,” Goodell said. “She would not like me to tell you what’s going on at Keene State College.”

Sterling insisted coverage of the rioting–which was getting national attention–was only serving to make matters worse, and she threatened to kick the TV crew out:

“This is a family-friendly event. The footprint of Keene Pumpkin Festival is 100 percent safe. We have a bigger crowd than we’ve ever had. I want them to have a wonderful evening and not be disturbed by people who aren’t even at the pumpkin festival,” said Sterling after reaching for the microphone. “So if you think that inciting these people is a good idea, I am going to pull the plug on you. Because you are here as a guest of Keene Pumpkin Festival and I assigned you this spot.”

KGO Staffers Updated on Upcoming KRON Cohabitation

kron kgoSan Francisco Media General station KRON is moving in with ABC owned station KGO in the next couple of months.

A memo obtained by TVSpy sent out to KGO staffers to prepare them for the new roommate confirmed our our initial speculation that while outsiders fret over a planned merger or takeover, insiders are fretting about where they’re going to park. It was the first thing addressed in the memo.

If you currently have a parking location that becomes a KRON parking spot you will be relocated to another parking position. For some of you who were temporarily able to begin parking in the garage – when you were not able to prior to the vacancy on the 3rd floor – your temporary parking spot may no longer be available when our new tenant moves in.

KGO occupies the bottom two floors. KRON gets the top floor where a law office used to be. The memo said the two stations will stay separate through a new set of key cards and badge readers.

In addition to these new electronic measures to keep our stations’ operations independent, you are asked to respect the fact that the third floor is not our ABC7 workspace.  We should not be on the third floor unless invited/escorted by a KRON employee.   KRON is issuing a similar policy for their employees in respect to our KGO work areas. KRON’s staff will not have access to the 2nd floor and most of the 1st floor.  KRON’s control room will be on the 3rd floor and some KRON employees will use some first floor hallways to access their studio.

KRON will also get a sign on the building, facing Front Street.

L.A. City Council Honors Kent Shocknek

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 9.15.10 AMThe Los Angeles City Council took time this week to honor retiring KCBS/KCAL anchor Kent Shocknek, who announced earlier this month he would step down at the end of the month.

L.A. council member Bernard C. Parks presented the honor to Shocknek, who’s believed to have anchored more television news than any other news anchor in Los Angeles.

With a career spanning over 36 years, Shocknek started as anchor in 1986 with “Today in L.A.” on KNBC 4 and joined CBS 2 in 2001. He was also the first TV anchor in the city to write a daily blog.

Shocknek has anchored the news during several prominent stories and breaking news such as the 1992 riots, Michael Jackson’s death, and the 1984 Olympics. In October 1987, he was on air when the Whittier Meadows earthquake struck. He was honored by the American Red Cross for taking the proper precautions and leading by example.

Earlier this year, the City Council declared January 10 to be officially renamed “Kent Shocknek Day”.

One SF Bay Area Reporter Beaten, Another Robbed in Two Separate Incidents

Oakland_Bay_Bridge_Western_PartSFGate reports, KRON reporter Jackie Sissel was robbed this morning while sitting in his news van working on a story.

Two men with bandannas hiding their faces got out of a car, opened the van doors and put a gun to Sissel’s head while ordering him to get in the back, police said.

The assailants stole a laptop computer, a wallet and a camera tripod before fleeing in their car. No arrests have been made.

Sunday, SF media blogger Rich Lieberman first reported, KTVU reporter Cara Liu was beaten up by a female assailant in Oakland.

KTVU news director Lee Rosenthal told TVSpy Liu is OK. “She was conducting an interview with someone when another person, not a part of the interview, suddenly leaped in and struck Cara several times in the head,” he added. Rosenthal said police have identified the suspect.

TVSpy has asked Media General for comment about the KRON robbery. We will update when we hear back.

Earthquake Rattles Studio, Anchors Dance in Celebration

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An earthquake rattled central Oklahoma Tuesday morning, shaking the studio at KAUT, an independent station in Oklahoma City. Emily Sutton and Lacey Lett were on the air and reacted with delight–and dancing.

US Geological Survey measured the quake at 4.2. There were reports of minor damage across the state, but the lasting legacy may be this priceless piece of video:

Phoenix Chopper Pilot Returning to the Air

Bruce_HaffnerBruce Haffner will, once again, fly his helicopter in the Phoenix market. A Meredith spokesperson confirmed, he will shoot and report for independent station KTVK and CBS affiliate KPHO starting in October.

We reported in May that the KTVK chopper pilot was moving on from the station after the lease between Haffner’s company, KTVK, which at the time was still owned by Gannett, and the helicopter’s sponsor expired.

“It’s unbelievable because really this is what I love doing.” Haffner told the PBJ. “To be able to do what you love to do for work, there’s just nothing like it in the world.” Read more

Media General Names New KRON GM

kronMedia General has named Ashley Gold Messina VP and GM of San Francisco MyNetworkTV station KRON.

Messina is currently the VP and GM of WDCW in Washington, D.C. She starts at KRON September 10, replacing Brian Greif who stepped down in January.

“Ashley is a strong leader and great competitor,” Deborah A. McDermott, SVP of Broadcast Markets for Media General said in a statement. “She is the right person to take the leadership role at KRON.”

Messina started at WDCW 2001 as a local account executive. She was named GM in 2010.

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