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Milwaukee

Joe Poss Named VP, GM of WTMJ

wtmj logoJoe Poss has been named vice president and general manager of WTMJ, the NBC affiliate in Milwaukee. His appointment is effective February 17.

It is a move within Journal Broadcast Group for Poss, who has been general manager of WGBA-WACY in Green Bay since 2011. Before that, he was the station’s general sales manager for six years. He has also worked in sales at KTNV in Las Vegas, WSVN in Miami and KMSP in Minneapolis.

“With his successful background in broadcast leadership and media sales, and his great rapport with clients and colleagues, Joe will be a welcome addition to the TODAY’S TMJ4 team,” Debbie Turner, executive vice president of television for Journal Broadcast Group, said in a statement. “We are excited for the enthusiasm and expertise he will bring to the Milwaukee television market.”

Poss replaces Steve Wexler, who was named executive vice president of radio for Journal Broadcast Group next month. More in the official release after the jump. Read more

Bill Berra Leaving Journal Broadcast Group

bill berraBill Berra is stepping down as vice president of news for Journal Broadcast Group and WTMJ in Milwaukee next month, TVSpy has learned. Berra will stay with the NBC affiliate through the Sochi Olympics, which begin Thursday on NBC.

A station spokesperson tells TVSpy Berra’s last day will be March 7 and the search is underway for his replacement.

No word yet on what’s next for Berra, who joined WTMJ in 2005 from WFTS, the ABC affiliate in Tampa. He has also worked as news director for WSYX in Columbus, WKMG in Orlando, KSAZ in Phoenix, KTVI in St. Louis and WREG in Memphis. He began his local news career reporting for WTMJ’s radio station, Newsradio 620.

WTMJ Expands Morning Newscast

wtmj logoMilwaukee NBC affiliate WTMJ is expanding its weekday morning newscast by 30 minutes. Beginning January 20, “Live at Daybreak” will air from 4:30 to 7 a.m.

“People’s morning routines are changing. As more of our viewers are getting up earlier, we want to be right there with them,” WTMJ general manager Steve Wexler said in a statement.

Susan Kim and Vince Vitrano anchor the morning newscast with meteorologist Scott Steele and traffic reporter Caitlin Morrall.

Telemundo Wisconsin Adds Sandra Torres as Anchor

torres_croppedSandra Torres has joined Telemundo Wisconsin as co-anchor for the 10:00 p.m. news.

Torres told TVSpy she will continue reporting for Milwaukee CBS affiliate WDJT. Both WDJT and Telemundo Wisconsin are owned by Weigel Broadcasting and share news resources.

Torres has worked at WDJT since June 2012. She started her career at Telemundo Chicago and has also worked for WMAQ in Chicago as a content producer.

WDJT Hires Rockford Morning Anchor

saunders_wqrfSachelle Saunders is joining Milwaukee CBS affiliate WDJT.

“She is going to be a weekend anchor and will report three days a week,” WDJT assistant news director Tracy Davis told the Rockford Register Star.

Saunders said an on-air goodbye to viewers of WTVO-WQRF in Rockford, IL, on Christmas Eve.

She started at the ABC and FOX duopoly in October 2010.

Milwaukee ABC Station Adds Reporter from Rockford

hutchison_wisnBen Hutchison is joining Milwaukee ABC affiliate WISN on Monday.

Hutchison comes to WISN from WTVO-WQRF in Rockford, IL, where he was weekday morning anchor.

He took a knock-knock joke to the chin during his goodbye on this morning’s news. “Knock-knock,” said a voice from off camera. “Who’s there?” answered Hutchison and chief meteorologist Candice King. “Ben,” said the voice. “Ben who?” asked Hutchison. “Ben wondering when you were going to leave,” said the voice later identified as the show’s director.

Hutchison was an intern with WGN for the Chicago White Sox and a freelancer for ESPN before joining WTVO-WQRF.

WISN added Thema Ponton last week as weekend morning anchor.

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

Court Rules WTMJ Did Not Violate Bus Driver’s Privacy With On-Camera Confrontation

WTMJ_BusDriver_Koebel

A state appeals court has ruled that WTMJ, the NBC affiliate in Milwaukee, did not violate a school bus driver’s privacy when investigative reporter Robert Koebel confronted her on-camera about a past prostitution conviction.

The report, which aired in April of last year, was an investigative report about about Milwaukee school bus drivers who had criminal records. The station obtained the information through an open-records request and then used police reports to identify people who had been convicted of a crime. After the report aired, the bus driver, Melissa Dumas, was fired. She sued Koebel and WTMJ’s parent company, Journal Communications, alleging invasion of privacy.

According to the Associated Press, a lower court ruled that the bus driver’s conviction was public record and WTMJ’s report was protected under the first amendment. The appeals court upheld the decision, saying that the information was “undoubtedly embarrassing” but also a “matter of public concern.”

Thema Ponton to Join Milwaukee ABC Station

PONTON-240x180---25223440Thema Ponton, anchor for Portland, ME, ABC affiliate WMTW, is headed to Milwaukee ABC affiliate WISN.

Ponton will anchor the weekend morning newscasts for WISN and will also report three days a week for the weekday morning news. Her first day will be Monday.

WISN general manager Jan Wade told TVSpy, “We are very excited to welcome Thema to our staff.”

Ponton started her career at WTXL in Tallahassee, FL. Before working at WMTW, Ponton worked at WBTW in Myrtle Beach, SC.  She has also worked at WPGH in Pittsburgh, KALB in Alexandria, LA.

Appeals Court Backs Former Milwaukee Reporter in Defamation Lawsuit

wtmj_304Former WTMJ reporter John Mercure, along with WTMJ and its parent company Journal Broadcasting have been cleared of defamation by a Wisconsin appeals court.

The suit sprung from Mercure’s investigation into a local wedding videographer named Angela Terry who was accused of not fulfilling her promise of delivering completed videos to the couples who paid for her service within the promised 1o-12 weeks.

The investigation from the Milwaukee NBC affiliate reporter included a scuffle between the reporter and the defendant caught on camera, claims by Mercure that the defendant was “facing criminal charges” and Mercure calling Terry a “scammer” and a “cheat.”

The Wisconsin Bar Association has the court’s ruling:

In Terry v. Mercure et al., 2012AP1682 (Oct. 15, 2013), a three-judge panel for the District I Court of Appeals affirmed, concluding that that all alleged defamatory statements in question were either opinions are substantially true.

Defamation requires a false statement to be communicated in speech, conduct, or writing to a third-person, and the communication must harm the subject’s reputation. Read more

WTMJ Managing Editor Jim Cullen Dies

jim cullen_304x200Jim Cullen, the managing editor of Milwaukee NBC affiliate WTMJ, died Wednesday of brain cancer.

Cullen was the station’s “colorful, lovable managing editor” for 15 years, according to WTMJ. He was diagnosed two years ago with brain cancer. His first granchild was born last month. “We miss you Jimmy. We know you’re in a better place, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family,” anchor Mike Jacobs said in an on-air tribute Wednesday.

Watch WTMJ’s report after the jump. Read more

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