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TV Writer: Pittsburgh Weather Coverage ‘Feels Like Showboating, Not Public Service’

Picture 3It happens in every market: the weather turns nasty, the weather team cuts in on prime time, and the phones in the newsroom light up with irritated viewers. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette TV writer Rob Owen says often, those cut-ins seem “like showboating and an opportunity to promote the station’s weather brand more than…a sincere effort at public service.”

Owen turned to Pittsburgh NBC affiliate WPXI‘s news director Mike Oliveira, who defended his station’s coverage:

“Sometimes weather events affect only part of our large viewing area. If there’s a severe thunderstorm storm warning in Butler County, it might be sunny in Washington County. The weather alert may feel like a nuisance to some of our viewers, but we’re always going to err on the side of safety.

“We have an entire book of protocols for how to handle weather warnings on television, online and on social media. The severity of the threat and the content on air both play a role in the protocol. For example, when a show with a lot of on-air text like ‘Jeopardy!’ is on, we’ll switch from a warning map on air to a less-invasive crawl. When we’re in a prime-time drama, we try to cover up commercials instead of a key part of the show.”

Missouri Reporter Becomes History Museum’s ‘Journalist in Residence’

Picture 2Few reporters have covered the Ozarks like Ed Fillmer. An archive of Fillmore’s stories at Springfield, Missouri NBC affiliate KYTV boasts that “(he) traveled down just about every road in the Ozarks, seeking stories no one else told.”

Now, that archive of stories from the 1980s and 1990′s will be preserved at Springfield’s History Museum on the Square–and Fillmer will be picking up the camera again, as “journalist in residence”:

“The stories of our neighbors that Ed has captured over the years will be great sources of information and historic background in the future,” History Museum executive director John Sellars said in a news release. “We are so excited to have someone like Ed to help us preserve the history of this place we call home.”

“Ed’s award winning legacy of chronicling the unique and unusual in the Ozarks lives on at KY3 and in our storytelling,” said Scott Brady, KY3 news director. “We are delighted this collaboration with Ed Fillmer and The History Museum on the Square will ensure that these historic glimpses of our lives will enjoy a kind of immortality.”

WGAL’s Jere Gish Becomes ‘American Ninja News Anchor’

Picture 4Jere Gish, news anchor at Harrisburg NBC affiliate WGAL, is a fan of NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior,” a competition that puts athletes through an intense obstacle course. Gish, eager to earn the title “American Ninja News Anchor,” teamed up with one of the show’s contestants to give the obstacle course a try.

Gish cleared the cliffhanger wall, the floating boards and the salmon ladder. Then, he met his match in the “warped wall”:

“You’re got to be fearless,” Chris said. “You have to lean back, which is terrifying, because it’s a 14-foot wall, you’re running up pretty high, you lean back, your steps are running with the wall, then at the end you’ve got to pop and really reach for the top.”

(Jere was able to make up it the 12-foot wall as a warmup, but came up short on the 14-foot wall, where he pulled a calf muscle.)

And that’s the way my day ended, with an injury. Time to head back to the safety of my couch.

Anchor Brian Heap Joins KCRA

Picture 3

Anchor Brian Heap has joined Sacramento NBC affiliate KCRA as a weekend anchor and reporter. Heap, a California native, was introduced to viewers with a short on-set interview Friday.

Heap joins co-anchor Kathy Park on the weekend anchor desk.

Heap arrives from KWCH, the CBS affiliate in Wichita. He said farewell to viewers there earlier this month.

Broadcasters Warn Lawmakers Over Concerns About STAVRA

broadcastersThe Hill reports, representatives of ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX affiliates wrote to the Senate Commerce Committee to warn that despite the loss of “Local Choice” from the bill, STAVRA still has elements that “would undermine free access … to high quality national network and local broadcast television programming.”

In particular, the stations are concerned about changes made to the system for beaming broadcast channels onto people’s cable and satellite packages, known as “retransmission consent” agreements.

The bill, they wrote, “asserts unprecedented extension of [Federal Communications Commission] regulatory authority over private marketplace negotiations” and unfairly singles out broadcast companies for new limits. Read more

Portland Reporter Moves North to Seattle

cassuto twitterDan Cassuto is joining Seattle NBC affiliate KING on Monday.

According to Cassuto’s agent Rick Gevers, Mark Ginther, KING news director, told staffers, “Dan is a unique and gifted storyteller.”

Cassuto comes to KING from KATU in Portland where he had been a reporter for two years. He has also worked at WRAL in Raleigh, N.C., WKOW in Madison, Wisc. and WBBH in Fort Myers, Fla.

Power Outage Knocks WPTZ Off the Air

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 10.17.14 AMA power outage knocked Plattsburgh, New York NBC affiliate WPTZ off the air during its morning news Thursday, leaving morning anchors with flashlights in a darkened studio. Anchor David Schneider tweeted “Power is out .. If we get enough juice back perhaps we could broadcast by lantern light.”

In one photo tweeted with the hashtag “#lanterncast”, meteorologist John Hickey is seen preparing the forecast by battery-powered lantern. See it, after the jump.
Read more

Todd Dykes Leaving Morning Anchor Desk at WLWT

Lisa-Cooney-and-Todd-DykesTodd Dykes, who has been a weekday morning anchor at Cincinnati NBC affiliate WLWT since 2008, will step away from the anchor desk later this month to lead the station’s investigative unit. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports Mark Hayes, who left NBC owned KXAS in Dallas-Ft. Worth earlier this year, will replace Dykes:

Dykes’ departure means all four local TV stations have changed morning news personalities this year: Sheila Gray replaced WKRC-TV’s Tiffany Wilson in March; Larry Handley left WCPO-TV in July; and Jacki Jing abruptly vanished from WXIX-TV in August. Dykes’ change was posted on the station’s website Wednesday, the same day Channel 12 announced a big musical chairs for its 4, 5 and 10 p.m. anchors.

Reporter Brandon Richard Leaves Tulsa’s KJRH for Kansas City

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 10.02.01 AMBrandon Richard, reporter at Tulsa NBC affiliate KJRH, has left the station. He’s headed to Kansas City to report for CBS affiliate KCTV.

Richard, a native Oklahoman who’d been with KJRH for two years, said farewell via Twitter after his final story in Tulsa Friday:

Man Found Guilty of Attacking WGEM Crew in February

The Quincy Herald-Whig said it took a jury 55 minutes to find Roger Parker guilty of felony aggravated battery in a public place, felony intimidation and a misdemeanor charge of resisting a peace officer after a two day trial. He faces between two and five years in prison.

Parker disrupted a live broadcast by WGEM in the area of Seventh and Lind for the 10 p.m. newscast on Feb. 27. WGEM reporter Jenny Dreasler and cameraman Ben Neisen both testified that Parker was verbally abusive toward them before they went on air. Both said Parker threatened their lives and threatened to break Neisen’s camera.

Dreasler was doing a story about junk littering the area, and the shot was to focus on a vacant lot in the area, both Dreasler and Neisen said.

Parker testified that he calmly asked Dreasler and Neisen not to film his property. He told the pair he was “going to (expletive) up the broadcast.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Josh Jones showed video of the broadcast, which showed a man dressed in a puffy orange winter coat blocking the camera. The man turned around and then grabbed the camera. The video stopped after several seconds, and the live broadcast was cut short.

Dreasler nearly broke down on the stand while testifying Monday afternoon.

“I was honestly scared for my life,” she said.

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