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Jacksonville

WTLV-WJXX Hires Station Manager/Director of Sales

wtlv wjxx largeBill Lancaster has been named VP/station manager and director of sales for WTLV-WJXX.

This is a move within Gannett for Lancaster, who comes to the Jacksonville, Fla. NBC and ABC affiliates from WFMY in Greensboro, NC.

“I am very excited for Bill to join our team in Jacksonville,” Rob Mennie, president and GM of WTLV-WJXX and SVP of Gannett Broadcasting said in a statement. “I have known Bill for many years and have always been impressed by his leadership and sales results.”

Lancaster started with Gannett at WFMY as an account executive. He worked at WUSA in Washington, DC before returning to WFMY as national sales manager. He then worked his way from local sales manager to general sales manager before being named VP of sales in 2011.

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CNN Partnering with WJXT for Gubernatorial Debate

WJXTWith the midterm elections just around the corner, CNN is teaming up with Jacksonville, Fla Independent station WJXT to host a live gubernatorial showdown.

CNN’s Jake Tapper (chief Washington correspondent and anchor of The Lead) will co-host the one-hour debate with WJXT anchor and reporter Kent Justice. The final debate before Election Day, between Charlie Crist (D) and incumbent Gov. Rick Scott (R), will take place at WJXT’s studio in Jacksonville.

During the broadcast, CNN will invite viewers to react to the candidates. After the debate, an online sentiment tracker will reveal independent, Democrat and Republican reactions, underlining which topics resonated most with viewers.

The debate airs Tuesday, October 21 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Letisha Bush to Join WJAX-WFOX

Letisha Bush has announced she is joining Jacksonville CBS and FOX affiliate WJAX-WFOX.

Bush comes to Jacksonville from WALA in Mobile, Ala. where she has worked since August 2011. She was promoted to 4:00p.m. anchor in July 2013.

It’s Official! Jacksonville Stations to Change Call Letters

WJAX WFOXSunday is the day Jacksonville FOX affiliate WAWS officially becomes WFOX and CBS affiliate WTEV becomes WJAX, both Cox Media and Bayshore Television have announced.

“Changing the call letters to WFOX-TV better represents FOX30 with the FOX TV network,” WAWS-WTEV VP and GM Jim Zerwekh said in a statement. “FOX30 has historically and continues to be one of the top 10 performing FOX TV affiliates in the country.”

The Cox Media owned FOX affiliate signed on in 1981 as an independent station and picked up its FOX affiliation in 1986.

“Changing the call letters to WJAX-TV better identifies the strengths and ties of CBS 47 to the Jacksonville market,” said Bruce Baker managing partner of Bayshore Television.

WJAX signed on as WXAO in 1981. Its call letters were changed first to WNFT in 1983 and then to WTEV in 1995. WTEV picked up its CBS affiliation in 2002.

Former Jacksonville Anchor Returns, Taking New Job in Real Estate

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 12.47.40 PMAfter years of anchoring morning newscasts at WTLV and WJXX in Jacksonville, Phil Amato left the ABC/NBC affiliates in July without explanation. Now we know one reason for his departure. He was tired of the hours.

“Amato said he wanted to find a career where he didn’t have to wake up at 2:30 a.m. every day, one that gave him more time to spend with his family,” reports the Jacksonville Business Journal. That new career? Real estate. Amato’s joined Jacksonville firm Watson Realty:

“I have built a trust with the viewers and the community. I know the city and the unique neighborhoods in Jacksonville. I look forward to helping people sell and buy homes. What better way to do so than with a company that has been here for almost 50 years,” Amato said in a news release.

Amato will be starting a YouTube channel, showing viewers Jacksonville neighborhoods and their histories.

“Every home has a story to tell. I want to use my abilities as a realtor and journalist to market properties in a groundbreaking way,” Amato said.

Eric Land Out at WJXX-WTLV, Gannett Names Replacement

gannett_logoA Gannett spokesperson has confirmed with TVSpy, Eric Land, GM of its Jacksonville ABC and NBC affiliate WJXX-WTLV, is no longer with the station.

Gannett has named Land’s replacement. He’s Rob Mennie.

“Rob has been a trusted and important resource for Gannett Broadcasting for nearly two decades,” Dave Lougee, president of Gannett Broadcasting said in a statement. “While Rob will continue to be a valuable member of the Broadcasting corporate team, his talent and experience make him the right person to lead WTLV/WJXX.”

Mennie comes to WTLV-WJXX from Gannett’s corporate office where he was SVP of news for the station group. He started working for Gannett 25 years ago as executive news producer of WXIA in Atlanta. He has also worked as VP of news for WUSA in Washington, D.C., news director at WDTN in Dayton, OH, and assistant news director at KPNX in Phoenix.

Land was named GM of WJXX-WTLV in August 2012.

[FTVLive]

Cox Looking to Change Call Letters of Jacksonville Stations

WTEV-WAWS logo_304x200The Florida Times-Union reports Jacksonville, FL, CBS and FOX affiliate WTEV-WAWS is asking the FCC to change its call letters.

In a July 30 filing, station owners, Cox Media Group, asked the FCC to change WAWS to WFOX and WTEV to WJAX.

“These call letter changes are natural fits for our TV stations. It symbolizes our commitment to our local communities and showcases the rebirth of our two great stations,” [station GM Jim] Zerwekh said in an email Tuesday.

An FCC official in Washington, D.C. said call letter change requests are not unusual both for television and radio stations and the agency receives dozens of requests and grants changes every month.

Zerwekh said the change from WTEV to WJAX was aimed directly at clearly identifying with the local market. Read more

Former Jacksonville Anchor Says New Arrivals Could Face ‘Backlash’

ActionJaxA former Jacksonville news anchor says Cox Media Group’s decision to replace five news anchors at WTEV-WAWS with new talent from outside the market may confuse and even anger viewers.

Marcia Ladendorff was an anchor for seven years at WTLV-WJXX, and says the move not to renew Mark Spain, Paige Kelton, Tera Barz, Mike Barz and Lynnsey Gardner as anchors (Kelton will remain at the station in a new role, as special projects manager) flies in the face” of the relationship-building that happens when anchors have deep roots in a community:

“The people who are sitting at home are like, ‘Wait a minute, I like Paige Kelton. …’ That’s got to be unpleasant, in fact it’s depressing as hell,” Ladendorff said.
As far as new hires for Action News anchors, there could be backlash from the First Coast audience and the first public hire in Bachman could prove severely challenging, Ladendorff said.

“If people in the station and in the community are not appreciative of what Cox is doing, he’s [Bachman] going to be the hired gun in their view,” Ladendorff said. “I would not want his job because I have to assume, because of the longevity of the people who are disappearing in the view of the community, he’s going to be the guy coming in.

David Deeley, an assistant professor of communications at the University of North Florida and former sports talent, said the scale of the personnel shakeup in Jacksonville could be traumatic both for the newsroom and for the audience.

Jacksonville Anchor Reportedly Fired Gets Promoted

Kelton PRCOX Media Group has announced Paige Kelton will move off the anchor desk and into the role special projects manager for WTEV-WAWS.

Jim Zerwekh, VP and GM of WTEV-WAWS, told TVSpy, Tenikka Smith-Hughes will replace Kelton on the anchor desk in early September. Smith-Hughes is joining the station from WSOC in Charlotte.

“Paige has been a dedicated employee of CBS47/ FOX30 for many years,” Zerwekh said in a statement. “I am extremely happy she is transitioning to our management team. Paige’s unique skill set and community contacts are valuable assets to CBS47/FOX30 Action News.”

In May, Kelton was reported to be one of the five anchors let go by the Jacksonville station.

[Florida News Center]

Tenikka Smith to Join Jacksonville Station

Tenikka-SmithWSOC has announced Tenikka Smith is leaving the Charlotte, NC, Cox owned ABC affiliate for Cox’s Jacksonville stations WAWS-WTEV.

Smith was the weekday morning anchor for Eyewitness News This Morning on WAXN.

“I am very excited to join the CBS47 and FOX30 Action News family as we continue our mission to provide viewers quality coverage and original content,” Smith said in a statement.

“We were searching for a key team member to fill this anchor role at WAWS/WTEV, and Tenikka has everything we were looking for,” said WAWS-WETV GM Jim Zerwekh.

Smith started working at WSOC in 2009. Smith starts at WAWS-WTEV in early fall.

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