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Mobile-Pensacola

WALA Expands Morning Newscast

reynoldswallwhite_walaWALA-WFNA, the Fox and CW affiliates in Mobile, are expanding the weekday morning newscast by an hour beginning January 27.

“Local content is so important to Gulf Coast viewers. We are so excited to be able to respond to our viewers and customers with even more news programming focused on this region,” WALA-WFNA president and general manager Gary Yoder said in a statement.

The current morning newscast runs from 4:30 to 8 a.m., followed by “Studio 10,” a lifestyle and entertainment program. In the new programming lineup, the morning newscast will run from 4:30 to 9 a.m. “Studio 10″ will air at 9 a.m. on WALA, replacing “Bethenny,” which will move to WFNA.

The WALA-WFNA morning newscast will continue to be anchored by Sarah Wall and Eric Reynolds along with meteorologist Michael White.

WEAR Reporter’s Car Catches Fire Before Live Shot About Florida Snow

WEAR_CarFireJust before WEAR reporter Christina Leavenworth went live for a story about a local man making his own snow in the unusually cold Florida temperatures, her 2011 VW Jetta caught fire.

“When I was driving I started to smell some smoke so I started googling what was going on once I pulled over,” said Leavenworth. “Then I saw flames. Tried to put water on it. We quickly called 9-1-1.”

Firefighters showed up and put the fire out. It was so cold that the water they used to douse the flames turned to ice.

“But on a lighter note,” said Leavenworth. “Hey! There’s snow!”

Click here to view the story. WEAR’s website doesn’t allow embedding.

WPMI and WJTC Adding News and Talent

Viewers of WPMI and WJTC in Mobile, AL, will notice some new on-air faces and an expanded news schedule beginning next Monday.

Starting September 9, NBC affiliate WPMI will add a 4:30 a.m. newscast anchored by Pat Greenwood. Greenwood will continue to anchor the 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. newscast alongside weather and traffic anchor Deitra Tate and new co-anchor Kelly Jones.  WPMI will also add a half-hour of news at 12:30 p.m. which will be anchored by Jones.

The station has also added newcomer Jordan Early as a social media reporter along with Stephen Quinn who will report from the field. Read more

Mobile Stations Go Live to Cover Carnival Cruise Liner’s Return

Stations in Mobile, AL, broke in to regular programming to cover the return of the disabled Carnival cruise ship Triumph.  The ship with 4,200 passengers and crew members on board was being towed into the cruise ship terminal in Mobile after a fire on board left the ship adrift and disabled.

The Triumph was expected into port by 11:00 p.m., but a towline being used to bring the ship into port by tugboat broke, delaying its return. By 2:30 p.m., the United States Coast Guard was reporting the towline had been repaired and the ship was, again, on its way.

WALA - The FOX affiliate went live throughout the morning and afternoon relying on anchors Joe Emer and  Bob Grip in the studio to report on the progress of the cruise ship. Candace Murphy was live on Dauphin Island interviewing the husband of a passenger and giving updates on the liner from a vantage point where she could see the ship. Chasity Bird spoke with Mobile Mayor Sam Jones on why the passengers were being bussed to New Orleans or Galveston, TX, and not put up in Mobile hotels. Read more

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

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