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Rockford

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.

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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.

Josh Morgan Named News Director at WREX

Josh Morgan has been named news director at WREX, the NBC affiliate in Rockford, Ill., TVSpy has learned.

Morgan comes to WREX from WPSD in Paducah, Ky., where he has been an executive producer for the morning newscast since December 2011. Prior to WPSD, he spent four years at WLUK in Green Bay, where he produced news and sports.

Morgan replaces Mike Costello, who left WREX in December for a job with the Rockford Park District.

WREX News Director Leaving Station for City Job

Mike Costello, news director for WREX, has confirmed with TVSpy he will be leaving the Rockford, IL, NBC affiliate for a job with the Rockford Park District.

Costello worked at WREX for a total of 8 years over two stints and will begin his new position as web manager on January 2.

John Chadwick, WREX vice president and general manager, told the Register Star the station has begun its search for a news director.

[Rockford Register Star]

WREX Pays Tribute to Anchor Jeannie Hayes After Her Sudden Death

WREX is looking back at the life of Jeannie Hayes, the 29-year-old anchor who died suddenly from complications of leukemia last week (video above).

Hayes, the station’s noon anchor, joined the Rockford NBC affiliate in 2005. WREX devoted the majority of its 5 p.m. newscast on Friday to Hayes’ life and memory. “The mood here in the newsroom is very different,” Katie Nilsson said tearfully. “We’re missing something, someone.” Read more

WREX Anchor Jeannie Hayes Dies Two Days After Leukemia Diagnosis

Jeannie Hayes, an anchor at Rockford NBC affiliate WREX, died Thursday from complications of leukemia. She was 29.

Hayes was diagnosed with advanced leukemia on Tuesday, according to WREX. “So so much pain. Everything hurts. Add nausea & more pain, and that about covers it,” Hayes wrote on Twitter Monday.

According to NewsBlues, Hayes was diagnosed with a bladder infection when she sought medical treatment Monday. She called 911 on Tuesday after her condition had worsened. Doctors diagnosed her with leukemia and performed emergency surgery on Wednesday, as a result of which she fell into a coma.

Hayes, who joined WREX in 2005, anchored the noon newscast. The station will air tributes to her on Friday’s evening newscasts. “The pictures, stories and memories are endless, so we will try to compile the best in the way that we know Jeannie would want us to,” a statement on the WREX website reads.

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