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Jackson

Tennessee Has a New NBC Affiliate

Memphis NBC affiliate WMC may lose some viewers after the power came on at NBC’s newest affiliate in nearby Jackson, Tenn.

“As of about 11:30am today, we have confirmation from Dish Network that WNBJ is LIVE ON THE AIR!” WNBJ posted on its facebook page last Thursday. “Jackson’s NBC39 is a reality – for some of you, that is. DirecTV will follow soon. Over-the-Air could happen by week’s end.”

“There will be no local news at the present,” Michael Steele, WNBJ general sales manager told The Jackson Sun. “And at this point, we don’t know if we will or not.”

Jackson is about 80 miles west of Memphis and is market 177, tucked between Watertown, NY and Harrisonburg, VA.

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WBBJ General Manager Announces Retirement

wbbj logoAfter 16 years as the general manager of WBBJ, Jerry Moore has announced his retirement from Bahakel Communications’ ABC and CBS affiliate in Jackson, Tenn., TVNewsCheck reports.

“He has done a fantastic job there in developing the station to become one of the very best in the country as well as a respected community citizen; by providing outstanding news, weather and sports coverage for the region,” Bahakel president and CEO Beverly Bahakel Poston said in a statement. “We are very proud of Jerry and fortunate to have had him on our team for all of these years.”

Moore will be succeeded by Mark Brooks, who is currently the general sales manager at WBBJ, on January 1.

Justin Walters Joins WBBJ in Jackson

Justin Walters is joining WBBJ, the ABC affiliate in Jackson, Tenn., as a sports and news multimedia journalist.

Walters told TVSpy he will begin at WBBJ in early June. He moves to Jackson from Philadelphia, where he was a production assistant and associate producer at Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia. He has interned at CBS Sports and at WABC, the ABC O&O in New York City. During the 2012 London Olympics, he worked as an affiliate producer for NBC.

Nexstar Re-Brands WPTY in Memphis, Announces New Anchors

Nexstar Broadcasting has announced it will re-launch WPTY, the ABC affiliate for Memphis, TN, as WATN LOCAL 24 this Saturday June 1.

Ardyth Diercks, vice president and general manager for Nexstar’s Memphis and Jackson operations, said in a statement, “This is a very exciting time for Nexstar and our Mid-South station operations, as launching WATN LOCAL 24 reflects our deep commitment to serve our local community and advertising partners, while delivering the most relevant, compelling and informative local news that touches the daily lives of our viewers.”

The new brand will feature a new community web portal and HD news broadcasts. Earlier this month, Nexstar revealed its new Memphis broadcast facility housing its three Tennessee stations, WPTY (WATN), Memphis CW affiliate WLMT and Jackson FOX affiliate WJKT. Read more

In His Last CBS Report, Randall Pinkston Looks Back at WLBT Broadcasting Milestone

For CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston‘s last “Evening News” report, he looked back at a milestone for Jackson NBC affiliate WLBT, the station where he started his television career (video above).

Today is the 50th anniversary of Mississippi civil rights leader Medgar Evers‘ historical speech on WLBT. In 1963, it was unheard of for a black man to appear on television in the segregated south — until Evers was granted time to speak on WLBT. He was assassinated less than a month later.

The request for equal air time became a long legal battle that resulted in the FCC revoking WLBT’s license and awarding it to new owners who shared Evers’ vision. Pinkston was hired as anchor of the 10 p.m. newscast in 1971. Read more

Nexstar Builds Its Three Tennessee Stations Modern Facility

Viewers of Nexstar’s Memphis ABC affiliate WPTY, Memphis CW affiliate WLMT, and Jackson FOX affiliate WJKT, will see a new look on-air after the stations move into a new state-of-the-art facility over the next month.

“With our soon-to-open Memphis broadcast and digital operations center and HD news facility, we are simultaneously raising our commitment to our viewers and advertisers with improved and enhanced content, production, marketing opportunities and overall viewing experience for the community at large,” said Ardyth Diercks vice president and general manager of WPTY, WLMT and WJKT.  “Our staff will benefit from the market’s most contemporary facility, fostering greater creativity through a modern work environment.”

Nexstar said in its press release the 27,000 square foot facility would be “operational and fully staffed on June 1,” and will include HD news production, HD commercial production and playback, and updated tech for producing weather and traffic reports.  You can watch a sneak peek video of the facility done by WPTY after the jump. Read more

Nexstar Names Kevin Kirkaldie Creative Services Director of Memphis, Jackson Stations

Kevin Kirkaldie has been named creative services director of three Nexstar Broadcasting stations in Tennessee: WPTY and WLMT in Memphis and WJKT in Jackson.

Kirkaldie comes from WWBT-WPUV, Raycom Media’s stations in Richmond, Va. He has been marketing and creative services director since 2011. Before that, he served in the same role at WSLS in Roanoke. He has also worked at WUSA in Washington D.C. and KMTR in Eugene, Ore.

“I look forward to bringing over 20 years of multi-media marketing and branding experience with me to the stations in Memphis/Jackson as we seek to deliver the most compelling local news, weather, and entertainment programming, expand our community involvement and grow our marketing solutions for our advertising partners,” Kirkaldie said in a statement.

WBBJ Names Shanda Sundstrom News Director

WBBJ, the ABC and CBS affiliate for Jackson, TN, has named Shanda Sundstrom news director.

“I am excited to take the reins as News Director at WBBJ-TV,” said Sundstrom. “I look forward to leading the team established as the West Tennessee News leader, while growing a strong web and social media presence.”

Sundstrom comes to WBBJ from KFSM in Fort Smith, AR where she was executive producer.  She has also worked as a producer in El Paso, TX, and Miami, FL. In Sioux Falls, SD, she was a producer and reporter.

Her first day at WBBJ will be one week from Monday on April 15.

Nexstar Names Lisa Lovell-Ayres News Director of Memphis, Jackson Stations

Lisa Lovell-Ayres has been named news director of Nexstar Broadcasting’s WPTY and WLMT in Memphis and WJKT in Jackson, Tenn, effective immediately.

Lovell-Ayres has been acting news director of the stations since December. Nexstar acquired the three stations from Newport Television last year.

“With her depth of expertise in news production and programming and deep knowledge of the local Mid-South communities, we are confident in her ability to provide effective leadership to build upon the achievements of our Memphis / Jackson news operations,” Ardyth Diercks, VP-GM of the three stations, said in a statement.

Before becoming acting news director, Lovell-Ayres served as the stations’ executive news producer for eight years.

Nexstar Names Ardyth Diercks VP-GM at Memphis, Jackson Stations

Ardyth Diercks has been appointed vice president and general manager at three Nexstar stations in Tennessee: WPTY and WLMT in Memphis and WJKT in Jackson.

Diercks was most recently the president and general manager of WTVJ, the NBC-owned station in South Florida. She left in January 2012 after eight years.

“Ardy is a leader with unquestionable integrity and a proven track record of administering successful procedures to enhance relationships and initiate unique programming concepts while advancing the effectiveness of station operations and leading teams to produce revenue generating results,” Nexstar EVP and Co-COO Timothy Busch said in a statement.

Before her time at WTVJ, Diercks spent 20 years at Gannett, where she was general manager at KVUE in Austin, KSDK in St. Louis and WUSA in Washington, DC. She was also a senior vice president of the company for five years. Read more

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