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Memphis

Kelli Cook Leaves Orlando for Memphis

kelli cook news 13Kelli Cook is joining Memphis ABC affiliate WATN as weekend anchor.

“I definitely missed being around family,” Cook told the Orlando Sentinel. “Most of my family is in Memphis, including my parents, nephews, a host of cousins and the extended family. I wanted some time to reconnect with them.”

Cook had worked at Central Florida News 13 in Orlando since 2008. She had also worked at WLOV and WTVA in Tupelo, MS.

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Electrical Surge Knocks WREG Off the Air

wreg studioMemphis CBS affiliate WREG was off the air for two hours Wednesday night because of a “technical issue.”

“We apologize about the technical issue we experienced Wednesday night. Our engineers tell us we took an electrical surge which knocked our transmitter off the air,” WREG wrote on Facebook.

Several viewers complained on Facebook about missing “Criminal Minds.” WREG said CBS “will not allow us to air the shows again in this case.”

“Folks it’s a TV show you missed. Be thankful you’re somewhere with electricity. Be thankful you have a television,” one commenter wrote. “Quit complaining, turn off your computers and televisions. Go read a book!”

Tracey Rogers Named GM of WMC in Memphis

wmc logoTracey Rogers has been named vice president and general manager of WMC, Raycom’s NBC affiliate in Memphis, the Memphis Business Journal reports.

Rogers was the news director of WMC from 2007-11. She left the station in 2011 to be the vice president and general manager of KAIT, Raycom’s ABC affiliate in Jonesboro, Ark.

“Tracey’s instinct, Memphis market knowledge and proven dedication to her community are her strengths,” Nick Simonette, group vice president for Raycom Media, said in a statement. “She has so much love and respect for the people of the Mid-South and the legacy of WMC-TV 5.”

Rogers replaces Lee Meredith, who left for WAFB in Baton Rouge last month.

Randy Wimbley Joins WJBK From WATN

Randy Wimbley is joining WJBK, the Fox O&O in Detroit, as a general assignment reporter. His first day will be July 15.

“To say reporting for FOX 2 is my dream job is an understatement,” Wimbley said in a statement. “I grew up watching this station as a kid and was schooled by WJBK’s stable of rock solid journalists as an intern. It’s an honor to now be counted among them.”

Wimbley most recently worked as a reporter for Memphis ABC affiliate WATN. He has previously worked at WNEM in Saginaw, Mich. and WUPW in Toledo.

“Randy has a passion for covering news and he’s thrilled to be back home, covering the stories that make Detroit such a unique news market,” WJBK vice president and news director Dana Hahn said.

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

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.

WPTY: Photojournalist Attacked by Memphis City Employee

Memphis ABC affiliate WPTY says a photojournalist was attacked by a Memphis City employee while he was shooting video on public property.

The station reports Nick Sheluga was shooting video of a sculpture at a car inspection station Wednesday when the city employee “grabbed me, put me in a headlock and pulled me down,” pushing the camera out of his hands. The employee said Sheluga needed permission to be there.

Police were called to the scene and have launched an investigation into the incident, according to WPTY. Sheluga gave the police a copy of the recording and described the incident to detectives.

Watch video of the incident after the jump. Read more

WPTY Meteorologist Mark Walden Dies at 38

Mark Walden, the chief meteorologist at WPTY in Memphis, died over the weekend from “apparent natural causes,” according to the station. He was 38.

“Our ABC 24 family is deeply saddened by the passing of chief meteorologist Mark Walden. He was highly respected among his colleagues and served this community as a gifted meteorologist and through his generous work with local charities. He touched our lives and will be greatly missed,” WPTY VP-GM Ardyth Dierks said in a statement.

Walden joined the ABC affiliate in 1999. WPTY described him as “as a gifted meteorologist with a passion for weather, and keeping our community safe and informed.”

The station reported the news of Walden’s death on the WPTY website Sunday morning. Rival stations WHBQ, WMC and WREG reported the news on the Sunday evening newscasts.

“Our family thanks everyone in the Mid-South for their condolences and kind words,” Walden’s wife, Jackquelynne Walden, said. “Mark really loved his viewers. He never met a stranger. And we’re grateful for all the prayers and support.”

Watch WPTY’s tribute to Walden after the jump. Read more

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.

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