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News Directors

Jennifer Lyons Named News Director at WGN

Jennifer Lyons WGNTribune has promoted Jennifer Lyons to news director at WGN, the CW affiliate in Chicago. Lyons has worked at WGN for 21 years, most recently as assistant news director.

“As Chicago’s Very Own, I felt it was important to have a leader who knows Chicago. Jennifer is the entire package: a track record of success, forward thinking, with strong editorial judgment and her pulse on Chicago,” WGN general manager Greg Easterly said in a statement. “With over twenty years at WGN-TV, I am proud to honor that loyalty and experience with the news director post. It is well deserved.”

Before Lyons was assistant news director, she was the executive producer of the morning and midday newscasts. She has previously worked at WHO in Des Moines and KWQC in Davenport, Iowa.

Lyons replaces Greg Caputo, who recently retired.

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Kristen Hamilton Named ND at KHQA

Kristen Hamilton has been hired as the news director for KHQA, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s CBS affiliate in Quincy, Ill.

Rick Gevers reports in his weekly newsletter that Hamilton comes from WXIN in Indianapolis, where she is the content manager. She replaces Nora Baldner, who has been KHQA news director for four years.

WAKA News Director Leaves After One Month

WAKA_logoJack Pagano, the newly appointed news director for Montgomery, AL, CBS affiliate WAKA has left the station after being hired in May.

Pagano told TVSpy he left so he could take care of a family issue, adding. “I will seek another run in broadcasting as soon as my family situation is resolved.”

A retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, Pagano said he may return to the battlefield. “I’ve been asked/selected for a return although the “heat” is hotter than ever in Iraq and Afghanistan.  My “nine lives” have been used.”

Pagano replaced Rob Martin, who left the station for WIAT in Birmingham.

Denetra Walker Promoted to Assistant News Director at WIS

WIS_304Denetra Walker has been upped to assistant news director at WIS, the NBC affiliate in Columbia, S.C. Walker, currently an executive producer at the station, transitions into her new role net week.

“Denetra is a strong leader and her producer skills are an asset to us daily. I’m excited about her energy and new ideas in helping guide the WIS team into the future,” news director Bryan Queen wrote in a note to staff obtained by TVSpy.

The station will hire a new dayside executive producer, according to Queen. Walker’s role will “focus on our overall branding with Investigates, First Alert, and Digital first strategies.”

Queen’s full note is after the jump. Read more

Youngstown Station Plants Tree to Honor News Director Who Died of Cancer

coursen tree wytvYoungstown ABC affiliate WYTV planted a tree Monday in honor of Gary Coursen, the station’s former news director who died in December.

The tree was planted by WYTV GM Dave Coy, assistant news director Kristen Hephner and Coursen’s wife Becky.

Coursen died in December at the age of 55 after being diagnosed last summer.

The station said Coursen was the architect of the 2007 merger between CBS affiliate WKBN and WYTV’s news departments. He had worked in TV news for 30 years.

Former Reno GM Arrested for DUI

Mary-Elizabeth-Sewald__2398017 (1)Mary Beth Sewald, former GM and current director of operations for Reno NBC affiliate KRNV, was arrested for DUI last week.

Reno Police Lieutenant Bill Rulla confirmed with TVSpy, Sewald was arrested on May 28 for DUI and failure to decrease speed.

Up until this writing, no Reno TV station or newspaper has reported the story. It had been reported on a couple of on one national media sites without confirmation, though.

Sewald, who was once GM of KRNV, is listed on her facebook page as the director of operations at the Reno station.

TVSpy asked Sewald and current GM Amie Chapman for comment, but has not heard back.

KOMO News Director: Sinclair Management ‘a Breath of Fresh Air’

sinclair logoKOMO news director Holly Gauntt talks to TVNewsCheck about how Sinclair Broadcast Group, which acquired the ABC affiliate last year, has made an investments in the news division with the goal of dethroning ratings leader KING:

Gauntt, who’s been at KOMO for seven years, says staffers were wary of Sinclair, which has a bad rep in newsrooms for cutting staffs and airing right-wing slanted news. And Sinclair did layoff a reported 18 KOMO staffers including editors, satellite-truck operators, writers and producers, a move that got them slammed in the local press.

But Gauntt says many of those cuts were long in coming, due largely to Fisher being heavy on unnecessary personnel. “You don’t want to lose people, but at the same time this station had never made changes that came with technology,” she says.

At the same time, Gauntt says, Sinclair asked her what she needed “to be the No. 1 station in the market.” They responded, building the station’s first new set in 15 years and buying loads of equipment including three cellular bonded units, a satellite truck, new computers and five cars. Read more

WHAS Hires David Seals as News Director

whas logo_304x200David Seals has been named news director at Louisville, KY, ABC affiliate WHAS.

WHAS GM Linda Danna confirmed with TVSpy Seals begins his new job June 2. Seals is the assistant news director for Nashville FOX affiliate WZTV.

WHAS initially hired Josh Eure from Gannett owned KPNX in Phoenix but he never started. At the time, Danna told TVSpy Eure “decided to remain in Phoenix” after a flap about his legal troubles surfaced.

Former KBTX News Director Mike George Dies

mike georgeFormer KBTX news director Mike George was found dead Sunday at his home, the station reports. George was 51.

George was the news director of the Bryan-College Station CBS affiliate from 2008 to 2013. The cause of death has not been released, but “foul play is not suspected,” according to KBTX.

George began his career at KBTX in 1986, working as an anchor, reporter and executive producer. He left to join KVUE in 1992, spending four years as the Austin station’s executive producer and news manager. After KVUE, George worked as managing editor at WXIA in Atlanta and news director at KVBC in Las Vegas before returning to KBTX.

He retired last year to spend more time with his family, KBTX reports. “From the family at KBTX, our thoughts and prayers go out to Mike’s family outside of our halls, which were made immensely better because of him,” the station said in a statement.

WAKA Adds Jack Pagano as News Director

WAKA_logoJack Pagano has been named news director for Montgomery, AL, CBS affiliate WAKA.

Pagano replaces Rob Martin who recently left for WIAT in Birmingham. He’s a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel who told TVSpy he’s participated “in many overseas conflicts.”

“I played a huge role in developing the Afghanistan GMIC- Government Media and Information Center which trained hundreds of Afghans in the art of information,” Pagano said when he told us he worked in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2013 as a senior strategist government contractor.

He’s worked as news director at WWAY in Wilmington, and has also worked in Dallas, Miami and Richmond. In the mid 1990s, he was a Pentagon producer and correspondent for FOX News.

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