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Memphis

WMC’s Dave Brown Will Cut Hours, as Ron Childers Steps Up

Brown ChildersMemphis NBC affiliate WMC has begun the process of building a weather department that is not led by chief meteorologist Dave Brown. The 37-year-veteran announced Wednesday he would scale back his hours, and appear exclusively on the 6 p.m. news, starting in September:

“I have asked for a reduced schedule at WMC Action News 5,” he explained. “I am not retiring, but feel this is the proper time to begin a transition to fewer hours in the workplace. I have worked since the age of 10. I have enjoyed a 52 year career in broadcasting, including 37 years so far here at WMC. For many of those years I have worked a six-day week and have worked nights since 1973.”

He continued, “I have been blessed with the support of my employers, my co-workers and my family. I am also grateful for the tremendous support I have received from our viewers. Many of those viewers have asked me not to retire, so this is a compromise that will give me more time to enjoy activities that I have not been able to do. I am in good health and look forward to enjoying entertainment and sports events and to traveling more. I want to emphasize that this is completely at my request, and thank WMC for indulging me as I continue my career in this reduced schedule.”

The station has named Ron Childers managing meteorologist. He will anchor the 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts. Childers has worked mornings in Memphis for 25 years.
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Fox/Cox Swaps Ends 51 Years of KTVU Ownership

FoxCox

The news today that Cox and Fox have entered into a station swap, will come as bittersweet to some. Cox Media Group has owned the San Francisco Bay area station for more than 50 years. In the process, Cox is gaining two stations east of the Mississippi.

Cox has owned KTVU, in the sixth-largest U.S. TV market, since 1963. Channel 2 was a charter affiliate of the FOX Broadcasting Company when the network went on the air October 9, 1986.

As FOX Broadcasting takes ownership of KTVU, it is swapping the stations it owns in Boston (market #7) and Memphis (market #50.) Both stations will remain Fox affiliates.

WFXT Channel 25 in Boston has been a FOX O&O since 1987, when it was acquired by News Corp. The station went on the air in 1977 as WXNE, an affiliate of the Christian Broadcasting Network. WHBQ Channel 13 in Memphis went on the air in 1953, and was a dual CBS/ABC affiliate, before picking up the primary ABC affiliation in 1956. It would remain an ABC affiliate until 1995 when News Corp. acquired the station.

With KTVU, FOX gains a station in an NFC market. It has rights to the NFL’s NFC package of games. In fact, the 2016 Super Bowl will be played at the home of the San Francisco 49ers. Unfortunately for FOX, CBS has the rights to Super Bowl 50.

Boston and Memphis will bring to 10 the number of U.S. markets in which Cox operates. The company owns ABC affiliates in Atlanta, Orlando, and Charlotte; CBS affiliates in Seattle and Dayton; the Fox and CBS affiliates in Jacksonville; the NBC affiliate in Pittsburgh; and the Fox affiliate in Tulsa. Fox Broadcasting will now operate stations in 16 markets, including 13 of the top 15.

Fox and Cox Swap Stations in San Francisco, Boston, Memphis

cox media fox logosFox Television Stations and Cox Media Group have announced they are swapping stations in three markets: Fox will get Fox affiliate KTVU and independent KICU in San Francisco, and Cox will get Fox-owned WHBQ in Memphis and WFXT in Boston. After the deal closes, WHBQ and WFXT will remain Fox affiliates.

“The addition of KTVU and KICU to our portfolio of owned-and-operated stations provides us with a compelling growth opportunity in a top-10 market,” CEO of Fox Television Stations Jack Abernethy said in a statement. “Our stations group will benefit from both the strong demographics of the Bay area market as well as the alignment with our package of sports rights. I’d like to also take this opportunity to acknowledge the talented Boston and Memphis teams for the great work they do. We are confident they will be in good hands with our partners at Cox.”

“This is the first time we have had a media presence in Boston and Memphis, and CMG is excited about the prospects that WFXT-TV and WHBQ-TV bring to our business,” Cox Media Group president Bill Hoffman said. “These new stations fit nicely into CMG’s broadcast portfolio, and we look forward to having a great news presence in these two markets and competing hard with the fine local broadcasters who already reside there.”

More in the release after the jump. Read more

Carjacking Suspect Clears His Name Live on ‘Good Morning Memphis’

A man wanted for stabbing a woman during a carjacking and taking her two kids approached WHBQ reporter Brooke Thomas while she was reporting the story live.

The man, Derric Fifer, told the reporter for the Memphis FOX owned station he didn’t commit the crime. “It’s a mistake they have my name,” Fifer told Thomas. “Somebody gonna get sued because I ain’t do nothing,” he added later.

In a follow up later in the day, Thomas told viewers police converged on the live shot but not before Fifer got away. Police later told Thomas Fifer was no longer a suspect. See that video after the jump. Read more

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.

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

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