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Mobile-Pensacola

John Rogers Joins WFLA From WALA

John Rogers is joining WFLA, the NBC affiliate in Tampa-St. Petersburg. He will be a reporter covering Manatee and Sarasota counties.

“Sarasota and Manatee counties are important areas of coverage for News Channel 8. And, we think it’s vital to have a reporter who actually lives in the area where he works,” news director Don North said in a statement. “John will live in Sarasota, where he’ll have the opportunity to really get to know the community.”

Since 2009, Rogers has been a reporter at WALA, the Fox affiliate in Mobile, Ala. Prior to that, he worked at WCTV in Tallahassee.

Jessica Taloney Says Goodbye to WKRG

Jessica Taloney signed off this week from WKRG, the CBS-affiliate in Mobile.

Taloney, who was called “one of the best News 5 reporters of all time” in a statement on the WKRG website, is signing off to spend more time with her family. She is pregnant with her first child, a baby girl.

Taloney, who joined WKRG in 2007, co-anchored the 5 p.m. newscast as well as reporting for the station. “It has been a pleasure working in such an outstanding newsroom!” Taloney wrote on Facebook.

Reporter Christina Leavenworth Leaving WWL

Christina Leavenworth, the morning traffic reporter at WWL, is leaving the New Orleans CBS-affiliate to return to her home state of Florida.

“New Orleans completely grabbed me in every way possible and I completely claim NOLA as my adopted home,” she wrote on Facebook this morning. “However, I’m moving back home to Pensacola. I accepted an anchor/reporter position.”

Leavenworth joined WWL in April 2011 from WALA, the NBC-affiliate in Mobile-Pensacola, where she was responsible for starting the station’s Florida bureau.

Gary Yoder Named VP-GM at Mobile’s WALA-WFNA

Gary Yoder has been named vice president and general manager of WALA-WFNA, the LIN Media duopoly in Mobile. His appointment is effective immediately.

Yoder has been vice president and general manager of WUPW since 2009. WUPW, the Toledo Fox-affiliate, merged with WTOL, the CBS-affiliate in the market, last month. Prior to his appointment as VP-GM, he served as the station’s general sales manager.

“Gary is an accomplished broadcast executive who brings a forward-thinking approach to multiplatform news, sales and promotions,” Scott Blumenthal, LIN Media’s EVP for television, said in a statement. “He also has a genuine, heartfelt commitment to meeting the needs of our viewers and advertisers.” Read more

Reporter Bree Sison Joins WBZ in Boston

After six years at WEAR in Pensacola, Bree Sison is moving on to WBZ in Boston.

“I will forever be grateful to the viewers and coworkers who have been so good to me,” Sison wrote on Facebook. “It’s tough to leave a place that’s been your home for 6 years, but I’m looking forward to the adventures that await me in the Northeast.”

Sison, who began yesterday at the Boston CBS O&O, was the morning anchor at WEAR. She was replaced by Lena DeFlores, who joined the station in March 2011 as the morning traffic anchor.

In Mobile, WPMI and WALA Upgrade to HD

Two stations in the Mobile-Pensacola market debuted new high-definition studios this week.

Fox-affiliate WALA produced the station’s first HD broadcast for Saturday’s 9 p.m. news, anchored by Renee Dials and weathercaster Matt Barrentine. WALA’s newscasts have originated from a temporary set since last month.

NBC-affiliate WPMI also debuted its new set, designed by Devlin Design Group, over the weekend. The redesign included a compete overhaul of the weather system, as well as the addition of several monitors behind the anchor desk.

Video of both new HD studios is after the jump. Read more

WPMI GM Bob Dunn Dies Suddenly

WPMI vice president and general manager Bob Dunn, who joined the Mobile NBC-affiliate last spring, died suddenly late Tuesday afternoon.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened with Bob’s passing,” Michael DiPasquale, vice president of operations for Newport Television, which owns WPMI, said in a statement.  “Bob was a valuable member of the Newport Television family but more importantly he was a wonderful person, an absolute gentleman and a great family man.”

A native of Alabama, Dunn worked as a sales executive for Clear Channel, and later Newport Television, before joining WPMI in 2011.

The cause of death has not been released and WPMI has yet to report on Dunn’s passing.

Steve Alexander’s WKRG Contract Not Renewed

Steve Alexander, a reporter at CBS-affiliate WKRG in Mobile, is leaving the station next month when his contract is up.

“I want to take a moment to thank all of you,” Alexander wrote on Facebook. “My contract at Channel 5 is not being renewed, and my last day at work is November 20.”

Alexander joined WKRG in 2000 from KAVU, the ABC-affiliate in in Victoria, TX. He has also worked at WVUE in New Orleans, KDEB in Springfield, MO and WTVW in Evansville.

Mediacom Customers in Mobile Warned About Possible Loss of Local TV Programming

Mobile stations WALA, the Fox affiliate, and WFNA, the CW affiliate, are warning viewers who are Mediacom Cable customers that their access to local television programming is on the verge of being interrupted.

At issue is the retransmission contract between Mediacom and LIN Media, which owns the two stations. The current agreement expires on August 31, and if a new agreement is not reached, Mediacom cannot legally air programming from WALA and WFNA.

According to the WALA website, which has an extensive question-and-answer section about the potential blackout, the two parties are still negotiating “for the fair market value of our stations.” Read more

Video: WKRG Reporter Nearly Thrown Off Camel

“Of course, it does make good TV,” WKRG reporter Debbie Williams said after she was nearly thrown off the back of a camel during a live interview. “You never know what’s going to happen at the zoo” (video above).

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