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Indianapolis

Loss of CBS Affiliation at WISH Costs LIN Millions

WISH_logoCBS announced earlier this month it would move its affiliation in Indianapolis from WISH to WTTV. That switch has resulted in a big loss–as much as $100 million–for WISH’s parent company, LIN Media, reports the Indianapolis Star.

The financial impact of CBS stripping its affiliation from WISH is so significant that it caused a re-valuation of the pending sale of the Indianapolis station’s owner LIN Media to Media General.

The two media companies said last week they amended their $1.6 billion merger in light of CBS’s Aug. 11 announcement that it will switch its Indianapolis affiliation from WISH to WTTV-4, owned by Tribune Broadcasting.

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LIN Fills GM Roles in Indianapolis and Savannah

linmedia_304x200LIN Media has named Les Vann president and GM of CBS affiliate WISH and MyTV affiliate WNDY in Indianapolis. The station group also named Steve Doerr acting GM of WJCL in Savannah.

Doerr replaces Vann, who was the president and GM of the Savannah, GA, LIN owned ABC affiliate.

“Les has done a terrific job in Savannah, rebuilding and launching a new brand, transforming its news department and strengthening the station’s commitment to localism,”Jay Howell, LIN Media’s VP of Television said in a statement. “He brings a unique skill set to WISH-­‐TV and WNDY-­‐TV that will be very important to these stations’ growth and development.”

CBS recently announced it is switching its CBS affiliation from LIN Media’s WISH to Tribune’s WTTV, starting January 2015.

Before working for LIN, Vann had been GM of WKRC in Cincinnati and had managed stations in Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina, South Carolina and New York. Doerr comes to LIN after working as VP and group manager, Northeast Region for Smith Media.

Indianapolis Star Columnist to Join WTHR

wthr_croppedWTHR has announced Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz is joining the Indianapolis NBC affiliate.

“Bob’s reputation and unique insight into Indiana sports at all levels will be a vital addition to our sports department, both online and on-air,” WTHR GM Larry Delia said in a statement.

The station said Kravitz will add his commentary to the station’s coverage of pro, college and high school sports during its newscasts. The station said he will also appear on the Pat McAfee Show and “additional projects in the works.”

“We are disappointed to see Bob leave the Star,” Ronnie Ramos, the Star‘s managing director of digital and sports said in a statement. “But realize the IndyStar’s stature as the top media outlet and strong commitment to grow and promote our talented staff will prompt competitors to come after some of our people.”

CBS Switching Affiliates in Indianapolis

CBSEyeCBS has announced it is switching affiliates — from WISH to WTTV — in the Indianapolis market. WTTV, currently the CW affiliate in Indianapolis, will be the CBS affiliate beginning January 1, 2015.

WTTV is the sister station to WXIN, the market’s Fox affiliate. Tribune has owned WTTV since 2002. It has been a CW affiliate since 2006; prior to that, it was an affiliate of The WB and, earlier, UPN. WTTV was the second station to go on the air in the market, in 1949, and was an NBC and ABC affiliate throughout the 1950s.

As part of the shift, Tribune will move the CW to digital channel 4.2, leaving WISH as an independent station as of January 1. WISH had been the CBS station in Indianapolis since 1956. Tribune already has plans to produce local newscasts for the new CBS affiliate. WXIN resources will likely be tapped to get the new WTTV newscasts on the air. Right now, WXIN produces 10.5 hours of news every day.

wttvTribune also announced it has renewed existing agreements with its other CBS affiliates: WREG in Memphis, WHNT in Huntsville, Ala., KFSM in Fort Smith, Ark., and WTVR in Richmond. CBS has also renewed its affiliation agreement with WTKR in Norfolk, which it operates under a shared service agreement.

“This comprehensive agreement further expands our strong partnership with CBS and allows us to provide an array of outstanding programming, including leading live sports, news and entertainment,” Tribune Broadcasting president Larry Wert said in a statement. “Through WTTV’s new affiliation, we look forward to significantly enhancing our sports offerings, local news coverage and commitment to the community.”

Indianapolis Colts Punter Pat McAfee Joins WTHR

WTHR-2Pat McAfee, a punter for the Indianapolis Colts since 2009, has landed a gig off the playing field: TV host. McAfee will soon be hosting his eponymous online show on WTHR in Indianapolis.

“Pat’s passion and enthusiasm for his team and community make him a perfect fit for our station, and we’re happy he’s chosen to make Channel 13 the new home for his show,”  WTHR president and general manager Larry Delia said in a statement.

This isn’t McAfee’s first time on TV. He has guest hosted NFL Network’s NFL AM and was a special red carpet correspondent for the 2014 ESPN ESPYs.

The Pat McAfee Show premieres September 27th at 7:30 p.m.

WISH Responds to Viewer Complaints Over Story About Alleged Cop Killer


After Indianapolis Metropolitan Police officer Perry Renn was killed in the line of duty Saturday night, CBS affiliate WISH aired a story giving the alleged killer’s family time to give their thoughts about the shooting.

In the story, the family said when Major Davis, Jr., the alleged gunman, was young his father was killed by police. At the end of the story, reporter Jessica Smith told viewers, “The family did say it is sorry for Officer Renn’s family, but they said the tragedy may have been avoided if Officer Renn would’ve stayed at his car since he could see Davis had a gun.”

Viewers reacted to the story. On facebook, one viewer commented, “Unbelievable! I’ve been a long-time supporter of WISH TV, but this is completely unacceptable to me.”

Today, news director Steve Bray wrote on the station’s website in part, “As a news organization, we provide balanced coverage and both sides of the story. Our obligation to you is to cover every angle of a story.”

Bray went on to say, “We wanted to give insight into the mind of the people/family who were involved so there was some context and exposure for you into this world. For some, maybe it’s a world you are already familiar with; for others it may be something you cannot even comprehend. It was difficult for many of us to watch and understand — mostly for the reporter who did the story. Her father is a veteran of IMPD.” Read the full text of Bray’s comments after the jump. Read more

WXIN Partners With The Indianapolis Star

wxin logoWXIN-WTTV, Tribune Broadcasting’s duopoly in Indianapolis, is teaming up with The Indianapolis Star for a multi-year newsgathering partnership.

“Over the past several years, FOX59 News has seen tremendous growth in terms of news hours and viewers we serve,’’ WXIN news director Kerri Cavanaugh said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to announce this exciting partnership with IndyStar, as it continues to broaden the scope of the local stories we cover and connects viewers in Central Indiana with the news and information they want, when and how they want it.”

The partnership, launching August 1, includes joint coverage of news, sports, weather, politics and investigative stories, according to WXIN. The development of joint community events and expanded sports coverage are also in the works, the station says.

Naomi Pescovitz to Anchor Weekend Mornings at WTHR

NaomiPescovitz300WTHR has announced Naomi Pescovitz will join the Indianapolis NBC affiliate as weekend morning anchor on July 9.

“Naomi is no stranger to Central Indiana and is a perfect fit our team,” said news director Kathy Hostetter in a statement. “She grew up in Indiana and went to high school right here in Indianapolis.”

Pescovitz is a reporter and fill-in anchor at KSTP in Minneapolis-St. Paul. She has also worked at KVOA in Tucson, AZ, WIBW in Topeka, KS, and KULR in Billings, MT.

Jeff White Out as WISH GM

white wishJeff White is no longer GM of Indianapolis CBS affiliate WISH, according to a LIN company spokesperson.

His LinkedIn profile says White was GSM at WISH in 1998, station manager in 2003 and was named GM in 2005.

LIN wouldn’t say why White was gone.

WXIN-WTTV Names Sarah Jacobs General Sales Manager

WXIN logoSarah Jacobs has been named general sales manager at WXIN-WTTV, Tribune’s Fox and CW affiliates in Indianapolis. She will begin on May 2 and report to Paul Rennie, the stations’ vice president and general manager.

“I’m extremely happy to have Sarah lead the sales effort for our outstanding duopoly stations,” Rennie said in a statement. “Both FOX59 and Channel 4 are leaders in the market in terms of ratings as well as revenue, and I’m confident Sarah’s energy and leadership will continue to build on that momentum.”

Jacobs comes from Sinclair Broadcast Group, where she has been the local sales manager at WKRC in Cincinnati since 2008.

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