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Rockford

What Did They Cover in Rockford Last Night?

Today we travel to Rockford, IL, where they are dealing with hot weather.

The heat was the main topic of conversation on a couple of newscasts, while CBS affiliate WIFR and FOX affiliate WQRF reported mainly on non-weather related news in the first five minutes.

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Former Anchor Settles Lawsuit Against Station, Starts Job as College Recruiter

eric wilson_wrexFormer anchor Eric Wilson, who left Rockford NBC affiliate WREX after 19 years, has taken a new job as a student recruiter for Rock Valley College. He announced the news on his Facebook page, where he said “it’s been a long, tough 7 months”, but he’s not necessarily looking to return to TV news:

I’ve been asked more times than I can count over the last 7 months, “When are you getting back on television?” I can honestly say that I don’t think it will be very soon. There are too many things about the job and the industry in general that bother me. And in some cases “bother” may be too mild of a word. There are issues of integrity and ethics that I see every day. I’m not sure I want to be a part of it. I never say never, but my heart isn’t in it now. I had amazing experiences as a TV reporter and anchor, but that job never defined me. I don’t need television to make me feel good about myself.

The Rockford Register Star, meanwhile, reports Wilson’s lawsuit against his former station has been settled:

Wilson had filed a lawsuit in Winnebago County court against WREX after being fired Jan. 29 following 19 years at the station. Court documents show that “all matters in the controversy have been compromised and settled.” No further details were available.

Rockford Station Rolls with Punches After Prompter Snafu

backwards prompter croppedWTVO morning anchor Matt Rodewald was forced to read the news like they did in the olden days when the TelePrompTer went down.

The anchor for the Rockford, IL, ABC affiliate told viewers at around 5:30 a.m. that a power surge had flipped the words on the prompter screen, causing them to show up backwards.

Rodewald kept viewers up-to-date on facebook. At around 9:00 a.m. facebook time, he let viewers know the problem had been fixed.

“ALERT: It works!!! The TelePrompTer now has the words facing the right direction. The people in the control room have broken out into song. The folks in the studio, along with Amy, are dancing. The hardworkers in the newsroom are openly weeping.”

Kelly Lattimer Named GM of WQRF-WTVO

nexstar_304Nexstar Broadcasting has named Kelly Lattimer VP and GM of Rockford, IL, FOX affiliate WQRF. She will also oversee ABC affiliate WTVO through Nexstar’s operating agreement with Mission Broadcasting.

“With Kelly’s personal and professional longevity in the Rockford market she brings an intimate understanding of the local community to her new role at WQRF-TV,” Tim Busch, executive VP and co-chief operating officer for Nexstar said in a statement.

Since 2008, Lattimer has been the director of sales of Nexstar’s Rockford broadcast and digital operations. She was the GSM of KFXA in Cedar Rapids before joining Nexstar.

Meteorologist Eric Sorensen Set to Join WQAD

eric sorensenMeteorologist Eric Sorensen will join WQAD, the ABC affiliate for the Quad Cities, next month.

Sorensen has spent the past 11 years at WREX, the NBC affiliate in Rockford, Ill., where he is currently the chief meteorologist. He announced the move on his blog:

I believe this will be a great fit for me personally and professionally. The tools will be there to develop new ways of telling the weather story each morning, all the while learning from talented broadcasters with more experience than I have. WQAD utilizes Weather Central Fusion Studio, which is the same equipment that WREX beta-tested several years ago. WQAD also has a strong commitment to cover severe weather.

Sorensen will begin at WQAD July 7. The Quad City Times reports he replaces Terry Swails, who announced last week his contract was not being renewed.

WREX Hires Ken DeCoster as MMJ

wrex_2Ken DeCoster will join WREX as a multimedia journalist.

Before being hired at the Rockford, IL, NBC affiliate, DeCoster was a news talk radio host in the Rockford area. The Rockford Star Register reports DeCoster has 30 years of radio experience.

“Rockford is a great news town,” DeCoster said in a statement. “I look forward to a new challenge of reporting local news on WREX.”

WREX Shows Reality Behind Making Local News

WREX showed viewers what goes into making the newscasts they (hopefully) watch every night.

While nothing groundbreaking is revealed during the package it does give a good look at today’s lean and mean local TV station, where reporters shoot, edit and write their own stories and anchors sit in nearly empty studios running their own teleprompter.

Katie Nilsson Signs Off From WREX

katie nilssonKatie Nilsson has signed off from WREX, the NBC affiliate in Rockford, Ill., for a job at the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s office, the Rockford Register Star reports.

Nilsson, who co-anchored the 5 p.m. newscast, will be the alternative justice and outreach coordinator for the Winnebago County State Attorney’s office. According to the Register Star, she leaves WREX with the “blessings of the station.”

“This new job is really a dream come true for me, as it allows me to work in an office that has a hand in protecting the community and helping those who can turn their lives around,” Nilsson said in a statement. [h/t NewsBlues]

After 19 Years, Eric Wilson Out at WREX

eric wilson_wrexEric Wilson is no longer working at Rockford NBC affiliate WREX.

John Chadwick, WREX VP and GM, confirmed with TVSpy he told The Rockford Register Star, “This is an important step to best serve the people of Rockford.” He also told us beyond that, he can’t discuss personnel matters.

Chief meteorologist Eric Sorensen told The Rockford Register Star, Wilson’s departure is “incredibly sad. He is a good friend of mine, and I won’t get to work with him.”

Rockford Meteorologist Eric Nefstead Dies

nefstead_obitEric Nefstead, meteorologist for WTVO-WQRF, died in his home Saturday after what the station said was a long illness.

Nefstead had been battling health issues all year and had taken a leave of absence from the Rockford ABC and FOX duopoly last January.

Chief meteorologist Candice King said Nefstead was like a grandpa to her. She remembered him for his uncanny ability to predict the weather. “I remember one time during winter he came in after the morning show – it was snowing – looked at a visible satellite image and said…’The snow isn’t going to last long,’” said King. “‘See those clouds there…the snow will be ending soon – probably in 45 minutes.’  And sure enough…down to the minute the snow ended.”

Nefstead had once been chief meteorologist at Rockford’s NBC affiliate WREX. He had also worked in North Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Nefstead was 70.

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