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Portland

Former Anchor Sues WGME for Discrimination

Former news anchor Doug Rafferty is suing the Portland, ME, CBS affiliate WGME and its parent company Sinclair Broadcast Group for disability and age discrimination.

Rafferty had been an anchor at the station for 13 years before suffering a stroke on-air in 2006. According to the Portland Press Herald, Rafferty’s attorneys David Webbert and Matthew Keegan said Rafferty had fully recovered from the stroke by 2007.

In 2007, General Manager Terry Cole and News Director Robert Atkinson told Mr. Rafferty that the station was removing him from ‘the chair.’ In other words, the station was removing Mr. Rafferty from his anchor position,” says the seven-page complaint in the lawsuit. “When Mr. Rafferty was replaced as anchor, he was 55 years old. His replacement was in his early 40s.”

Rafferty stayed on at the station doing some broadcast work and eventually assumed a role behind the scenes. At the time, he told the Maine Sun Journal, “Leaving the anchor desk is hard, but change and excitement are some things I’ve been looking for. The daily grind of turning out half-hour newscasts is not doing it for me.” He also told the Sun-Journal the decision had nothing to do with the stroke he suffered. Read more

Kathy Reynolds Joins WGME as News Director

Kathy Reynolds is joining WGME, the CBS affiliate in Portland, Maine, as news director. Reynolds comes from WEYI in Flint, where she has been the news director since June 2011.

“I’m pretty excited both personally and professionally speaking,” Reynolds told TVSpy. “My husband is the chief photographer at WPTZ in Burlington, Vermont. So this will put me closer to him and the many friends we have in Portland.”

“I have a great team here at WEYI and will miss them dearly,” Reynolds continued. “The goodbyes are hard but the my last day here is March 6.”

Reynolds begins at WGME on March 13.

WCSH Names Mike Redding News Director

WCSH and WLBZ, the Gannet owned NBC affiliates for Portland and Bangor, ME, have named Mike Redding as news director, according to the Bangor Daily News.

“We are very excited to have someone of Mike’s caliber leading our news organization into the future,” Steve Carter, president and general manager of WCSH and WLBZ, told the Daily News. “Mike is familiar with the NEWS CENTER brand, and his credentials will only strengthen our broadcast and digital positions in the market.”

Redding comes to WCSH-WBKZ from Gannet station WFMY in Greensboro, NC where he was executive producer. Read more

KGW Interviews Santa During Breaking News Coverage of Portland Mall Shooting

During breaking news coverage of a mall shooting in Portland Tuesday, KGW reporter Mike Benner interviewed the mall’s Santa Claus, who was seeing children at the time of the shooting (video above).

“Santa, what is going through your mind as this is happening?” Benner asked the man, who said he heard up to 16 shots before taking cover.

The interview didn’t impress one local news veteran, who emailed TVSpy: “Why is this reporter referring to this guy as Santa. He’s a guy in a suit. During breaking news of this magnitude, he’s not Santa.”

Frank Mungeam Promoted to Director of Digital Media at KGW

Frank Mungeam has been promoted to director of digital media at KGW, the NBC affiliate in Portland, Ore.

Mungeam has led KGW.com since joining the station in 2006. The website recently received a regional Emmy award for interactivity in Election Night coverage.

“Frank richly deserves this promotion to the director of digital media and becoming a member of our executive leadership team at the KGW Media Group,” KGW president and general manager DJ Wilson said in announcing the promotion. “Frank has been instrumental in developing and managing our digital strategy and our ever expanding portfolio of digital products.”

KATU Reporter (in 1970): ‘Everyone on site was covered in small particles of dead whale’

News crews in Southern California are in Malibu this afternoon as experts try to figure out how to get rid of a dead 41-foot, 20-ton Fin whale that washed ashore earlier this week. Here’s KCBS’s story on it. The next possible window for removing the whale is later this afternoon at high tide.

There’s a good chance crews will not employ the tactic used on an Oregon beach in 1970 when a half ton of dynamite was used to blow up a Pacific Gray whale.

Here’s how the story was reported by KATU reporter Paul Linnman, then a 23-year-old TV reporter, now a radio personality on KEX 1190 AM in Portland: “The blast blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds.” The man likes his alliteration.

WATCH:

Maureen O’Brien Out as News Director at WCSH

The Portland Press Herald is reporting WCSH news director Maureen O’Brien has left the station for unspecified reasons.

O’Brien’s departure comes days after the Portland, Maine NBC affiliate’s meteorologist, Joe Cupo, went on air to refute allegations he was a client of an alleged prostitution ring in Kennebunk, Maine.

The Press Herald said the station would not comment on why O’Brien left but did back the decision to put Cupo on air,

Steve Carter, the station’s president and general manager, would not comment Tuesday on O’Brien’s departure. He would not say why or when she left the position.  “It’s a personnel matter, and it’s not something we comment on,” Carter said.  He said he supported the decision to put Joe Cupo on the air to dispel rumors that he was a client of Alexis Wright of Wells.

O’Brien has been news director at WCSH since 2008.

VIDEO: WCSH’s Joe Cupo Refutes Rumors of His Involvement in Zumba Prostitution Scandal

WCSH meteorologist Joe Cupo is refuting a rumor that he was one of the men who paid Alexis Wright for sex at her Zumba studio in Kennebunk, Maine (video above).

Police have been releasing names of alleged clients in batches. An attorney involved in the case has claimed a TV personality is on the list; the rumors have focused on Cupo, who has worked at the Portland NBC affiliate since 1979.

“The rumor is so pervasive it is affecting his personal life, so Joe asked for a moment to refute what he finds to be a hurtful and insulting lie,” Cindy Williams said on a recent newscast. Read more

KGW Airs Fireworks Special Without Audio

Portland NBC-affiliate KGW aired a Fourth of July special Wednesday night that was perfect for those people who enjoy the sight of fireworks but can’t handle the loud noises.

Due to an apparent technical mishap, KGW aired its live, half-hour fireworks special with no audio. Not only were viewers unable to hear the boom of the fireworks, they also couldn’t hear anything that hosts Laurel Porter and Matt Zaffino were saying before and after the display.

KGW’s special, which ran from 10:00-10:30, cut into NBC’s coverage of the “Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular” in New York, which did have audio. Read more

Portland Stations Now Available Via Internet

Following the New York launch of streaming TV service Aereo, an Atlanta-based company called Skitter is now offering customers in Portland broadcast channels over the internet.

GigaOM reports that Skitter quietly launched in March, making Portland’s network affiliates available to local viewers using a Roku or WD Live set-top box.

The crucial difference between Skitter’s service and Aereo’s is that Skitter has all of the necessary licenses to retransmit stations’ programming. While Aereo is locked in a legal battle with broadcasters in New York over copyright infringement, Skitter will seemingly be able to avoid the same legal troubles since the company, which previously offered its internet broadcasting solution to small telco operators, already has retrans deals with broadcasters. Read more

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