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Milwaukee

Scripps’ Acquisition of WTMJ Presents Challenge to Milwaukee Newspaper

TMJThe pending acquisition of Milwaukee NBC affiliate WTMJ presents a challenge to the newspaper that gave the station its call letters, The Milwaukee Journal, now the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

As the Milwaukee Business Journal reports, Scripps has made digital a high priority, and that means targeting the Journal‘s lucrative online property, JSOnline:

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s JSOnline attracts the most visitors of the local-news websites in town, but JSOnline may get a major new competitor in Milwaukee as a result of WTMJ-TV’s pending move to E.W. Scripps Co., which is starting to build digital news sites for its television stations.

“We can’t just watch newspapers build a revenue stream,” Scripps CEO Rich Boehne told the Business Journal. “We are eager to roll out and leverage our digital products and investments across the attractive Journal markets.”

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WITI Investigation Helps Prove False Arrest, Sparks Federal Lawsuit

Milwaukee FOX affiliate WITI is being credited for helping a woman prove she had been falsely accused of drunk driving by a Milwaukee County Sheriff’s deputy.

WITI reports, Tanya Weyker recently filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and four of his deputies. Weyker’s lawyer said WITI discovered a key piece of evidence proving police were in the wrong.

The lawsuit comes two months after a FOX6 investigation showed Sheriff’s Deputy Joseph Quiles T-boned Weyker’s Toyota Camry and then lied about who caused the crash.

Weyker admitted to having a few sips of a friend’s drink that night — and nothing more.

Her injuries were too severe to perform field sobriety tests.

Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Griffin arrested Weyker anyway — and cited her for driving drunk, even though blood tests would later prove Weyker had no alcohol or drugs in her system. Read more

E.W. Scripps and Journal Broadcasting to Merge TV Stations, Spin Off Newspapers

JournalScrippsAnother big TV consolidation deal is in the works.

Tonight, Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps, and Journal Communications of Milwaukee, announced they will merge their broadcasting operations, while spinning off their newspaper businesses into a new entity. As a result of the deal, which is expected to close in 2015, Scripps will be the 5th largest TV station ownership group operating 34 television stations in 24 cities, reaching 18 percent of the U.S. It will also own 35 radio stations. Five markets will include TV/radio combos. Interestingly, unlike other recent TV acquisitions, none of the TV stations will overlap in the same markets.

Scripps Stations:

WCPO (ABC) Cincinnati
WEWS (ABC) Cleveland
WXYZ (ABC) Detroit
WMYD (MyNet) Detroit
KMGH (ABC) Denver
KZCO (Azteca) Denver
KNXV (ABC) Phoenix
WFTS (ABC) Tampa
WMAR (ABC) Baltimore
WRTV (ABC) Indianapolis
WKBW (ABC) Buffalo
KGTV (ABC) San Diego
KZSD (Azteca) San Diego
KJRH (NBC) Tulsa
KSHB (NBC) Kansas City
KMCI (Ind.) Lawrence/Kansas City
WPTV (NBC) West Palm Beach
WFLX (FOX) West Palm Beach
KERO (ABC) Bakersfield
KZKC (Azteca) Bakersfield

Journal Stations:

WTMJ (NBC) Milwaukee
WGBA (CW) Green Bay
WACY (NBC) Green Bay
WTVF (CBS) Nashville
KTNV (ABC) Las Vegas
WFTX (FOX) Fort Myers
KGUN (ABC) Tucson
KWBA (CW) Tucson
KNIN (FOX) Boise
KIVI (ABC) Boise
KMTV (CBS) Omaha
WSYM (FOX) Lansing

The combined broadcasting company will be headquartered in Cincinnati while the new publishing company will be headquartered in Milwaukee. The flagship newspaper will be the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, but most of the publishing properties will come from the Scripps portfolio stretching from Redding, CA to Naples, FL. Edward Scripps founded the company in 1878.

In 2011, E.W. Scripps acquired the McGraw-Hill TV stations group of 9 stations for $212 million.

As WCPO, a Scripps station, reports the deal is a “tax-free transaction that makes shareholders of both companies owners of the surviving entity. Scripps shareholders will own 59 percent of the newspaper company following the transaction and 69 percent of the post-merger broadcast company.”

Stephanie Grady Set to Join WITI in Milwaukee

stephanie gradyStephanie Grady is joining Milwaukee Fox affiliate WITI, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Duane Dudek reports.

WITI news director John LaPorte told Dudek Grady starts in September. She comes from WXXA-WTEN in Albany, where she has worked since 2011. She currently anchors the morning show from 5 to 9 a.m.

Before WXXA-WTEN, Grady worked at WSAZ in Huntington, W.V. and WSEE in Erie, Penn.

Weather and Crime: It’s What They’re Watching in Milwaukee

tv_304Milwaukee Journal Sentinel TV critic Duane Dudek watched the first 10 minutes of his local stations’ newscasts then broke each down into five categories of what they reported: violent crime, other crime, weather and accidents.

All stations aired variations of the same stories Monday night, but in different order and with different running times. All stations’ lead story involved the night’s frisky storm front and footage of a Nebraska tornado. Other stories included discovery of human remains at N. 13th St. and W. Juneau Ave.; increased police presence after a shooting at a convenience store, and interviews with the young girl injured in the shooting; and several traffic accidents.

The stations came out heavily weighted towards violent crime. According to Dudek, FOX affiliate WITI won the night and also led the other stations in violent crime reporting with 50.5 percent of its first ten minutes devoted to the subject. Connection? Who knows. Interesting? You bet.

WDJT-TV (Channel 58)

Violent crime: 45.6%

Other crime: 11.8%

Weather: 11.1%

Accidents: 6.8%

Other: 23.8%

Followed by: 2-minute, 44-second weather segment

Story no one else had: School drug-testing policy

Lead story after weather: Human remains found

See the other stations after the jump. Read more

Anne State Leaving Milwaukee FOX Affiliate

state witiAnne State is leaving Milwaukee FOX affiliate WITI.

According to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel media writer Duane Dudek, news director John LaPorte told WITI staffers State’s last day will be July 30. She’s reportedly headed to the West Coast.

State started at WITI in September 2010. She previously worked at WBBM in Chicago and KNSD in San Diego.

KCTV Meteorologist Leaving for Milwaukee

tom wachsKCTV meteorologist Tom Wachs is leaving the Kansas City CBS affiliate to work for WITI in Milwaukee.

According to The Kansas City Star, Wachs said the chance to work with WITI chief meteorologist Vince Condella was “a dream come true for me.” He wrote on his facebook page, “I have the amazing opportunity to work with my mentor growing up, and the guy who I imitated when I was 6 years old.”

KCTV news director Larry Perret told The Kansas City Star he’s already looking for Wach’s replacement even though the station has four meteorologists on staff.

Wachs started at KCTV in June 2008. He has also worked in Johnson City, TN, and at KNOP in North Platte, NE.

Janet Hundley Named News Director at WTMJ

wtmj logoJanet Hundley is joining WTMJ, Journal Broadcast Group’s NBC affiliate in Milwaukee, as news director. Hundley will start in her new role June 17.

“Janet is a proven news leader with a reputation for journalistic excellence,” WTMJ vice president and general manager Joe Poss said in a statement. “She understands and embraces the changing needs of our viewers here in the Midwest and, most importantly, she exemplifies the strong values and integrity that are so critical in a newsroom.”

Hundley comes from Chicago, where she has been assistant news director at ABC-owned WLS since 2002. She has previously worked as news director at WTVG in Toledo.

“It will be my distinct privilege to lead this newsroom and to serve the viewers of Southeastern Wisconsin. It’s a responsibility that I don’t take lightly and I’m thrilled to get started,” Hundley said.

Does News Director Turnover Hurt a Station’s News?

TV_SetWhen WTMJ news director Bill Berra announced he was leaving for WFLA in Tampa, FL, the Milwaukee market lost its longest serving news director.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel media writer Duane Dudek points out the three remaining news directors at Milwaukee’s network affiliated stations all have a close to two years of experience in the community compared to Berra’s nine years.

How does news director flux or stability affect what viewers see?

“Stations and companies have figured out that they can’t keep changing people every 18 months and have success,” said [on-air talent agent and media blog writer Rick] Gevers. Having veterans in news management is essential to knowing where the bodies are buried.

“They know who the mayor was before the current mayor, and the story from behind the story five years ago that a reporter is covering.” Read more

Mark Strachota Named VP-GM of Weigel Broadcasting’s Milwaukee Stations

Mark StrachotaWeigel Broadcasting has named Mark Strachota vice president and general manager of its Milwaukee properties, including CBS affiliate WDJT, independent station WMLW, Me-TV affiliate WBME and Telemundo affiliate WYTU.

Strachota is currently the general manager of Time Warner Cable SportsChannel. In his new role, which begins on March 12, he will also have oversight of MOVIES! Milwaukee, This! TV Milwaukee, Bounce TV and TouchVision.

“Mark is the perfect fit for our Milwaukee stations,” Weigel Broadcasting Co. EVP of local media Bob Ramsey said in a statement. “His leadership skills and knowledge of the Milwaukee market makes him the right person to lead our stations forward.”

Strachota replaces Jim Hall, who was recently promoted to vice president of business development at Weigel.

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