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Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News

WTKR Cameras Malfunction Before News, Station Tells Viewers ‘Things Are Looking Up’

Norfolk-Hampton Roads CBS affiliate WTKR had some problems with its studio cameras right before its 4:00 p.m show today.

WTKR Reporter Reed Andrews tweeted out a picture of one of the cameras looking skyward.

The station also let viewers know on its facebook page. “Things are looking up at NewsChannel 3 today. No, really. We have a few minutes before the show and all of our cameras in the studio are pointing to the ceiling! Join us at 4 to see us overcome a few technical issues to bring you the news!” Read more

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Former WTKR Anchor Allegedly Caught Up In International Scam

bickford_wtkr_croppedAccording to the The Virginian-Pilot, Juliet Bickford, the anchor who recently resigned from Hampton Roads CBS affiliate WTKR, has allegedly been caught up in an international fraud ring.

Bickford, who faces misdemeanor IRS charges, was sharing a home with man named Theodoros “Terry” Grontis.

Grontis, along with Cullen Johnson and Elaine White are accused of  having “bilked crime victims, divorcees and even one lottery winner out of more than $1 million.”

Court records show Bickford’s bank account was allegedly used to launder the cash.

Bickford has not responded to messages from The Pilot. Her lawyers declined to comment and said she would not be commenting either.

No trespassing signs were posted at the foot of her driveway, and in front of her parents’ home next door. [Rick] Garrity [Bickford's neighbor] said the signs went up last week.

[IRS Agent Brian] Pelfrey and other IRS and FBI agents spent more than two years putting the case together against White, Johnson and Grontis.

A federal grand jury here indicted them last April on multiple counts of wire fraud, money laundering and evading taxes. Bickford is identified in the indictment only by her initials. Read more

WTKR Anchor Leaves Station, Facing IRS Charges

bickford_wtkr_croppedJuliet Bickford, anchor for Hampton Roads, VA, CBS affiliate WTKR has resigned from the station.

The Virginian-Pilot reports Bickford is scheduled to appear in US District Court Wednesday to plead guilty to a misdemeanor false tax return charge. She is accused of filing $35,000 in fake medical and dental deductions in 2011.

WTKR general manager Jeff Hoffman told TVSpy Bickford resigned for personal reasons on Tuesday.

Bickford began working at WTKR in 2008. She started her career at KACB in San Angelo, TX, before moving to Roanoke to anchor at NBC affiliate WSLS.

Les Smith Back on WTKR for Short Stint

smith_wtkrLes Smith, former WTKR anchor who abruptly left the station, will be back on the air starting tonight, if only briefly, to help out during election season.

The Virginian-Pilot reports, Smith will work “as a political reporter for WTKR-TV, covering races and candidates around Hampton Roads, and ‘finding out what they really think aside from a 30-second commercial,’” said Smith.

The Norfolk anchor who had worked at rival NBC affiliate WAVY for more than 20 years before coming to WTKR, abruptly quit the CBS affiliate, “I didn’t quit the news business; I quit life,” Smith told WTKR in an April interview. Read more

Mike Lopez Named News Director at WEAU

Mike Lopez is the new news director at WEAU in Eau Claire, Wisc., the station confirmed to TVSpy.

Lopez joins the NBC affiliate from WVEC in Norfolk, where he was the assistant news director for seven years. He has also worked as an executive producer at WAVY in Norfolk and WISH in Indianapolis and as a producer at KRON in San Franscisco.

Lopez, who started earlier this month, replaces Eric Shepard.

WAVY Announces Weekday Evening Anchor Moves

WAVY, the NBC affiliate for Hampton Roads, VA, has announced changes to its weekday evening anchor lineup.

Nicole Livas (pictured left) joins Tom Schaad for the 6:00 p.m. and and 11:00 p.m. news, filling the co-anchor chair left vacant by the retirement of Alveta Ewell in February.  Livas and Schaad will continue to anchor the 5:00 p.m. news on WAVY and the 10:00 p.m. news on FOX affiliate WVBT.

“Our new anchor lineup continues our commitment to bringing high quality journalism to our audience every day,” said WAVY news director Jim Gilchriest in a statement. “Nicole, Tom, Stephanie, and Anita, as well as Chief Meteorologist Don Slater and Sports Director Bruce Rader anchor an experienced team of journalists in the WAVY newsroom who are dedicated to finding and presenting important, relevant, and compelling news and information that Hampton Roads viewers have come to expect from 10 On Your Side.” Read more

WVEC to Air Special on Impact of Sequestration

WVEC, the ABC affiliate for Hampton Roads, VA, will air a one-hour special devoted to explaining the impact of Sequestration on the area.

“This is a complicated and important issue,” Doug Wieder, WVEC executive news director told TVNewsCheck. “Our award-winning military reporter Mike Gooding has been at the forefront of this story for weeks, and we see this as a natural extension of our commitment to our viewers.”

The “sequester” is the name of the mandatory federal budget cuts scheduled to go into effect March 1.  The cuts will be triggered if Congress and President Obama cannot agree on a plan to reduce the nation’s deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next ten years. The economy in the Hampton Roads market relies heavily on the defense industry, one of the targets of the mandated cuts. Read more

Alveta Ewell to Retire After 25 Years at WAVY

After 25 years at WAVY, Alveta Ewell is retiring from the Hampton Roads NBC affiliate on February 26.

Ewell, who joined the station in 1989, announced the news of her retirement on Wednesday’s 6 p.m. newscast. “It’s opening up a whole new chapter in my life, which is a really awesome thing,” she said (video above).

Doug Wieder Promoted to Executive News Director at WVEC

Doug Wieder has been promoted to executive news director at WVEC, the ABC affiliate in Norfolk, Va.

Wieder has been interim news director since Rich Lebenson left WVEC in October. Prior to that, Wieder spent five years as executive producer.

“Doug had the ultimate ‘on-the-job’ interview, and passed with flying colors,” WVEC president and general manager Brad Ramsey said in a statement. “We have seen tremendous momentum under Doug’s leadership, thanks to his deep commitment to growing our people and improving our content every single day.  Together we are incredibly excited about the future of 13News.”

Wieder, formally an investigative reporter, has also worked at WRIC in Richmond, WDEF in Chattanooga and WGXA in Macon, Ga. His promotion is effective immediately.

David Culver Says Goodbye to WAVY

David Culver said goodbye to WAVY, the NBC affiliate in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, on Sunday (video above). As we told you last month, Culver is joining the Northern Virginia bureau at WRC, the NBC O&O in Washington, DC.

“I’m smart enough to say this is not goodbye,” Culver said. “Right now it’s just a moment for me to say thanks.”

 

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