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Rockford

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.

Anchor Alex Wehrley Joins KSBI From WREX

Alex Wehrley is leaving her post as the morning anchor at WREX in Rockford for a job at KSBI in Oklahoma City, according to the Rockford Register Star.

Wehrley begins October 8 as the host of “Oklahoma Live!,” an early afternoon interview show on the MyNetworkTV affiliate in Oklahoma City.

She will sign off from WREX on October 5. News director Mike Costello told the Register Star that the search for her replacement is underway and the station hopes to debut a new morning anchor in mid to late October.

WTVO-WQRF Names Scott Picken News Director

Scott Picken has been named news director for WTVO-WQRF in Rockford, IL, according to Rick Gevers & Associates.

Early in his career, Scott worked as news director with current WTVO general manager Jon Skorburg.  Picken succeeds Kent Harrell who recently left the Nexstar-owned Rockford station for the media group’s Green Bay station, WFRV.

Until May, Picken was news director for KGAN-KFXA in Cedar Rapids, IA.  The veteran new director has also worked in Omaha, NE, Boise, ID, Green Bay, WI, Kansas City, MO and Honolulu, HI.

Read more

WTVO-WQRF Loses News Director, Managing Editor

The news director and managing editor at WTVO-WQRF in Rockford are both leaving the stations, according to the Rockford Register Star.

News director Kent Harrell, who has worked at WTVO-WQRF since 2007, will sign off from the stations on Friday. Harrell is expected to be named news director at WFRV, the CBS affiliate in Green Bay, next week. The move is a reunion with general manager Joe Denk, who left WTVO-WQRF for WFRV last year.

Bob Schaper (pictured) is also leaving the stations after just three months as evening anchor and managing editor. He is a former print reporter who told the Register-Star that he plans to return to writing full-time. Read more

Anchor Bob Schaper Joins WTVO in Rockford

Bob Schaper has joined WTVO, the ABC-affiliate in Rockford, IL, as anchor and managing editor, according to the Rockford Register Star.

Schaper has previously been a reporter at rival WREX and at the Register Star. He began this week at WTVO, co-anchoring the 5 p.m. newscast with Mimi Murphy.

“Our viewers will notice the investigative edge Bob will bring to our newscasts,” news director Kent Harrell said.

Sabrina Santucci Joins WTVO-WQRF in Rockford

Sabrina Santucci has joined WTVO-WQRF in Rockford, IL.

Santucci will be a weekend anchor and weekday reporter at WTVO, the ABC-affiliate. She comes from WCIA, the CBS-affiliate in Champaign, IL, where she was the producer of the morning newscast.

Santucci is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She started at WTVO-WQRF last month.

Rockford Stations Evacuated Amid Concerns of Tower Collapse

WTVO-WQRF in Rockford, IL was forced off the air on Friday and staff evacuated the building as heavy snow and low altitude winds caused guy wires on the stations’ tower to whip around wildly.

“Seeing the wires behave that way, in all the years that I’ve been here I’ve never seen them like that,” chief engineer Mike Real said.  “They could actually start shaking the tower down, or cause damage to the tower which is what we wanted to check on.”

In addition to the evacuation at WTVO-WQRF, 12 homes near the tower were evacuated Friday night. Read more

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