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Roanoke-Lynchburg

WSLS GM Leaving Station for Personal Reasons

wsls roanokeWSLS VP and GM Leesa Wilcher is leaving the Roanoke NBC affiliate in May.

“Due to personal reasons I am leaving WSLS and returning to the TriCities,” Wilcher told The Roanoke Times. “It has been an exciting time for me these past three years.”

Before coming to WSLS in 2011, Wilcher worked at Media General’s WJHL in Johnson City, TN.

WSLS took in a record $6.6 million in political spending in 2012, when more than $27 million was spent in the Roanoke-Lynchburg market during the 2012 presidential campaign. Channel 10’s take still trailed WDBJ-TV (Channel 7) and WSET-TV (Channel 13). The station’s evening newscasts usually finished third in the Nielsen ratings during Wilcher’s tenure, which is where Channel 10 has ranked consistently since the late 1990s.

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WSET Denies News Director Out After Four Months

WSET_2009_smallRoanoke ABC affiliate WSET is denying reports that news director Bob Cashen is out after only four months.

This morning, station GM Randy Smith told TVSpy, “Bob is still employed as the ND at WSET.” Last week he answered with a “Yes” when we asked if Cashen was still the ND after  hearing reports to the contrary.

Cashen came to WSET from WALA in Mobile, AL, in October. He had been news director there since 2004.

WSET Names Bob Cashen News Director

WSET_2009_smallWSET, the Lynchburg, VA, ABC affiliate, has named Bob Cashen as news director.

“Bob is probably the most highly recommended employee that I have ever hired,” WSET general manager Randy Smith told The Roanoke Times. “Every person that I spoke with placed him at the very top of anyone that they had ever worked with. I repeatedly heard the comment, ‘If I had an opening, Bob would be the first person I would call.’ ”

Anchor and interim news director Len Stevens told TVSpy Cashen will join the station in mid-October.

Cashen has been news director at WALA in Mobile, AL, since 2004. According to his LinkedIn page, He has also worked as news director at KSLA in Shreveport, LA, assistant news director at KENS in San Antonio, TX, and news director at KWWL in Waterloo, IA.

He replaces Bill Foy who left the station in July.

Three Weeks After Losing ND Job, Dan Dennison Leaves WDBJ

After being replaced as news director at WDBJ last month and moving to the role of features reporter, Dan Dennison has called it quits at the Roanoke, VA, CBS affiliate.

WDBJ president and general manager Jeff Marks told The Roanoke Times, “Dan changed his mind about the reporting role and has elected to move on. We are all grateful to him for the work he did to elevate the production and content of our newscasts.”

Dennison, who was replaced as news director by Kelly Zuber on July 31, didn’t reveal why he left the station when he told The Times, “I’m proud of the accomplishments made by the WDBJ7 team during my tenure at the station. This includes many product improvements, as evidenced by consistent ratings growth, and recently in recognition from broadcast industry peers, in the form of three regional Emmy Awards and an Edward R. Murrow Award for overall news excellence.”

Scott Leamon Quitting WSLS for Police Department Job

WSLS reporter Scott Leamon starts his new role as a spokesman for the Roanoke Police Department Monday.

“You spend a lot of hours covering the news, so I got to a lot of tee ball games in time for the last inning,” Leamon told the Roanoke Times. “This new job allots more time for the family, but there is a lot of work involved, too. I’m ready to work.”

Leamon, whose last day at the Roanoke NBC affiliate is today, told viewers on his facebook page, “Thank you for allowing me into your homes and hearts. And any time you feel like you can’t do something, any time you feel like your back is against the wall, any time you feel like you just might be down for the count…Do what I tell the people who me well to do. Think: “Man. If that knucklehead Scott Leamon can do it, then I can too!”

Leamon has been a reporter at WSLS for ten years.

Kelly Zuber Named News Director at WDBJ

Kelly Zuber has been named news director at WDBJ, the CBS affiliate in Roanoke-Lynchburg, Va.

Zuber has worked at WDBJ for 31 years and held a variety of roles, including reporter, photojournalist, assignment editor, director of public affairs and director of promotion and marketing. For the past six years, she has been director of digital services.

“Kelly is a hard-nosed journalist and a futurist, a really good combination for someone who has to manage all of the content across all of the platforms that people use now to receive information and entertainment,” WDBJ general manager Jeffrey Marks said in a statement.

Zaber replaces Dan Dennison, who will remain with the station as a feature reporter. He will “be creating the model for the ultimate multimedia journalist, with all of the tools to cover stories, assemble them and transmit them from anywhere to WDBJ7′s broadcast and mobile platforms,” according to a WDBJ release.

WSET Gives News Director Special Send-Off

It took WSET staffers 1,000 balloons to say goodbye to outgoing news director Bill Foy.

On Foy’s last day at the Lynchburg-Roanoke, VA, ABC affiliate, the newsroom filled his office with balloons. “We as a team worked harder on that than any about other project over the past three years,” said 6:00 p.m. anchor Len Stevens on the 5:00 p.m. news. “That’s not true!” objected anchor Danner Evans.

Foy left the station for a job with Virginia Tech while Stevens was named interim news director.

As well as doing a story about the deed again at 11:00 p.m., the station also posted a time-lapse of the seven hours of work they put in to its facebook page.

WSET Changes News Directors, Moves Anchors

WSET has announced Bill Foy is leaving the Lynchburg-Roanoke, VA, ABC affiliate for a job at Virginia Tech and has named anchor Len Stevens as interim news director.

“Bill is the consummate professional,” WSET general manager Randy Smith said in a statement. “He and I have worked together since 1992 and he is one of the most experienced and highly regarded news professionals in the Commonwealth, if not the industry. Bill is one of a very small group of people in whom I have blind trust. I will miss him tremendously.”

Foy had been the news director at WSET since 2007. He’s also worked at WSPA in Spartanburg, SC, WBTV in Charlotte, NC, and WSLS in Lynchburg-Roanoke, VA, where he met current WSET GM Randy Smith. According to The Roanoke Times, Foy left television after working at WRIC in Richmond, VA. When Smith became the WSET GM, he persuaded Foy to join him as news director. Read more

Charges Reduced for Roanoke Meteorologist in February Car Crash

Jamey Singleton, meteorologist and web producer for the Roanoke-Lynchburg, VA, ABC affiliate WSET, was ordered by a judge to pay a $200 fine for causing a head-on collision in February.

Police said Singleton was eating breakfast while driving to work on February 19 when his 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse crossed the center line and hit a delivery truck head-on. Singleton was seriously injured in the crash, while the two men in the delivery truck were treated at a local hospital and released that day.

The Roanoke Times said Singleton pleaded not-guilty to misdemeanor reckless driving. The charge was amended to driving on the wrong side of the road, an infraction.

The station reported on Singleton’s progress in April. At the time, he was able to walk with the help of a walker.

[FTV Live]

Anchor John Carlin Returning to WSLS

WSLS has announced John Carlin will rejoin the Roanoke, VA, NBC affiliate on July 8.

“The market wants a proven journalist and dedicated community leader, and that’s what we have in John Carlin,” said WSLS vice president and general manager Leesa Wilcher. “Our mission is to serve this community by presenting newscasts people can trust, and John is a person who meets that standard.”

Carlin will anchor alongside Karen McNew (pictured left) on the 5:00, 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. news. The station said he will co-anchor the 11:00 p.m. news with Lindsey Ward during certain months of the year.

He was the lead male anchor at WSLS for 21 years before leaving the station in 2008 to pursue a career in public relations. The station posted a video announcing the move featuring an awkward high five moment. You can watch the video after the jump. Read more

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