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Montgomery-Selma

WSFA Meteorologist Rich Thomas Celebrates 30 Years

WSFA chief meteorologist Rich Thomas is celebrating his 30-year anniversary with the station this week.

Thomas joined the Montgomery NBC-affiliate in 1981 as a weekend meteorologist. He’s served as chief meteorologist since 1983.

To put the milestone into perspective, Thomas has been with WSFA for more than half the time the station has been on the air.  WSFA honored Thomas during a recent newscast (video above).

In Montgomery, Three Stations to Merge Operations

Sweeping changes are coming to the Montgomery market as three stations are set to merge into one operation.

On Thursday, Bahakel Communications, the owner of CBS-affiliate WAKA, announced that it had signed an agreement to purchase CW-affiliate WBMM (which is licensed to Tuskegee) from SagamoreHill Broadcasting, which also owns Montgomery ABC-affiliate WNCF.

In addition to purchasing WNCF’s sister station from SagamoreHill, Bahakel has entered into a time sales and share services agreement with the company, meaning that Bahakel will now oversee sales and production for all three stations.

Bahakel also announced that Jesse Grear, who has led WNCF and WBMM since 2005, would become vice president and general manager of all three stations. Read more

WAKA Boss Jim Caruthers Announces Retirement

Jim Caruthers is set to retire as vice president and general manager of WAKA, a CBS-affiliate serving the Montgomery-Selma market.

Caruthers, who has been WAKA’s VP-GM for the past 13 years, announced that he is retiring at the end of the year. He says that it’s time for him to end his 40-year broadcasting career and spend more time with his family.

“He did a fantastic job for us,” Jim Babb, executive vice president of WAKA parent company Bahakel Communications, told the Montgomery Advertiser. “He made the station meaningful.”

Because Caruthers will remain in his position until the end of the year, WAKA is taking its time in naming a successor. The station will likely make an in-house appointment later this summer.

Collin Gaston Promoted to Top Position at WSFA

Collin Gaston has been promoted to vice president and general manager at Raycom Media’s WSFA in Montgomery, AL.

The move comes after Ken Selvaggi, who had been WSFA’s VP-GM since 2006, was tapped to succeed Steve Langford atop WAVE, Raycom’s Louisville station, earlier this month.

Gaston currently serves as WSFA’s general sales manager. He will assume his new role on March 28th.

Before joining the Montgomery NBC-affiliate four years ago, Gaston worked for WAWS and WTEV in Jacksonville, FL.

Sports Director Adam Bagni Leaving WNCF

WNCF sports director Adam Bagni is leaving the Montgomery ABC-affiliate.

Bagni’s contract expired last Thursday and he recently turned down a multi-year extension to stay with the station.

“It was an extremely difficult decision, one which I did not take lightly, but I feel it’s in my best interest at this point in my life,” Bagni said last Wednesday in an staff email obtained by MTR, a blog covering Montgomery media.

Bagni joined WNCF in 2008 after working for the New England Sports Network (NESN). Last year he won the Judge’s Award for Television Sportscaster of the Year from the Alabama Broadcasters Association.

“I don’t have anything lined up yet, and it’s always scary when you’re not sure what’s next, but I think sometimes you have to leave a situation in order to move forward,” he told TVSpy via email on Tuesday. “I have big aspirations, and I’m willing to work hard to get there, so I’m looking forward to focusing on that full-time.” Read more

WSFA’s Coverage of Lawsuit Targeting Taco Bell ‘Beef’ Gets National Attention

WSFA’s continued coverage (video above) of a class action lawsuit filed against Taco Bell by a local law firm has been getting national attention this week.

The suit claims that Taco Bell is guilty of false advertising because the so-called beef that they use in their beef tacos is actually a dubious amalgamation called “taco meat filling,” which in fact only contains 36% real beef.

WSFA, an NBC-affiliate in Montgomery, AL, first broke the story on its Facebook page last Friday and has been following up with reports on its website and during its newscasts this week.

In addition to the lawsuit documents, WSFA posted an image of the label (below) that appears on packages of Taco Bell’s “beef.” In addition to real beef, the “taco meat filling” includes an industrial cocktail of additives. Read more

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