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Sarasota

WWSB’s Linda Carson Marks 50 Years in TV News

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 8.59.43 AMIn a business marked by never-ending change, Linda Carson has endured. The reporter for Sarasota ABC station WWSB hit a milestone on Labor Day, marking fifty years in local news.

“She was among the first women to break into what was then a male-dominated business,” WWSB’s Scott Dennis writes. “Little did she know she was blazing a trail into TV news that other women would follow.”

From her start doing weather in Atlanta in 1964, to semi-retirement in Sarasota, she’s kept on going, with no plans to stop:

Linda’s early bosses told her she wouldn’t work past the age of 30 in television news. Well, she proved them wrong and then some. She continues to inspire us all with her tireless work ethic, her dedication and her astonishing positive attitude.

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Caught on Tape: Woman Drives Off with Florida Station’s News Car While Camera Rolls


A Sarasota, Florida woman may face charges of Grand Theft Auto after asking and then showing WWSB reporter Josh Taylor what she wanted him to do while he was getting ready to report on an alleged rental property scam.

The video posted to the Sarasota ABC station’s website shows the woman putting her hand over the reporter’s camera lens and telling him to leave multiple times. She then throws his tripod into the back of his station car and drives away with the vehicle all while he was rolling.

With Lauren Dorsett Set to Resign, WWSB Shuffles Morning, Evening Anchors

lauren dorsettAfter three years at WWSB, Lauren Dorsett (pictured) has announced her departure from the Sarasota ABC affiliate, setting changes to the anchor lineup for the morning and evening newscasts into motion.

Dorsett will be replaced on the evening newscasts by Hayley Wielgus, who currently anchors the morning and noon newscasts at WWSB. Wielgus will anchor at 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m. with Scott Dennis and at 11 p.m. solo. She will also serve as one of  the station’s health reporters.

“Hayley is a strong, well respected voice in our newsroom and has proven to be a great storyteller,” news director Steve Sabato said in a statement. “…Hayley will be a dynamic addition to our weeknight broadcasts. I’m confident that she, Scott and Chief Meteorologist Bob Harrigan will make a terrific team.”

Stephanie Roberts, who has worked as a freelance meteorologist and news anchor at WWSB, will join the station full-time as she replaces Wielgus on the morning newscast.  Read more

Calkins Media Promotes Jeff Benninghoff to VP of Broadcast

Jeff Benninghoff has been named vice president of broadcast for Calkins Media. His appointment is effective Monday.

Benninghoff will continue to serve in his current role of vice president and general manager of WWSB, Calkins Media’s ABC affiliate in Sarasota, Fla. In his new role, he will also oversee WAAY in Huntsville and WTXL in Tallahassee.

“As those of you at WWSB get a chance to see everyday, Jeff leads by example by motivating our employees, instilling a sense of urgency about our mission and in working collaboratively and effectively with colleagues throughout the company,” Calkins Media CEO Mark G. Contreras wrote in a note to employees. “It’s these leadership traits that make Jeff a natural fit for this promotion.”

Former WWSB Meteorologist to Work with Big Brothers Big Sisters

Meredith Garofalo, who signed off from Sarasota ABC affiliate WWSB in February, has taken a job with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast.

According to Big Brothers Big Sisters, Garofalo will be the Manatee County community resource director and will be responsible for development of community resources and relationships.

While at WWSB, Garofalo was the weekend meteorologist and reporter. She started her career at WGN in Chicago and worked at KOTA in Rapid City, SD before coming to WWSB.

[Business Observer]

Meteorologist Justin Mosely Joining WPBF

Meteorologist Justin Mosely is joining West Palm Beach ABC affiliate WPBF, the Sarasota Herald Tribune reports.

Mosely will sign off from SNN, the cable news channel in Sarasota, on February 6. He has worked there as chief meteorologist since 2004.

“He has grown his skills and talent year after year, and has been very important to the success of the station,” SNN executive vice president and general manager Linda DesMarais said. “Justin is an exceptional team player, and I know everyone here will miss him.”

WWSB Hires Steve Sabato as News Director

Steve Sabato has joined WWSB, the ABC affiliate for Sarasota, FL as news director.

“WWSB has an outstanding news operation and deep commitment to serving the Suncoast community,”  Sabato said in a statement. “I look forward to helping take ABC 7 News to the next level and expanding our exceptional news brand across multiple media platforms.”

Sabato, who was also named director of digital content, comes to WWSB from Cell Journalist LLC where he was partner and executive vice-president of the media technology company.  Previously, he was the director of news and local programming for WKRN in Nashville.

[Broadcasting & Cable]

Gene Ross Out as News Director at WWSB

Florida News Center is reporting Gene Ross, news director at WWSB, has left the Sarasota ABC station.  The move comes a little more than a month after Jeff Benninghoff was named the new general manager at the station.

While TVSpy has not heard back from WWSB about Ross’ departure, yesterday the station posted a job listing for a “hands on” news director on its website.

Ross had been the station’s news director since June of 2010.

[Florida News Center]

Jeff Benninghoff Named VP-GM of WWSB

Jeff Benninghoff has been named vice president and general manager of WWSB, the ABC-affiliate in Sarasota.

Benninghoff is currently an executive at Calkins Media, the parent company of WWSB. The move is a return to the station for Benninghoff, who worked there from 1998-2008 as controller and station manager.

“Jeff has the perfect combination of skills to lead ABC 7 into our digital future,” Calkins Media CEO Mark Contreras said in a statement. “He has an impressive track record of accomplishments in broadcasting and has been with the company for nearly 20 years.  His optimism, energy and forward-looking approach will serve us well as we continue to evolve our business models.” Read more

Video of WWSB’s Trevor Shirley Getting Soaked Featured on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’

A clip of WWSB reporter Trevor Shirley getting drenched by a passing car during a live shot was featured on last night’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (video above).

“If I was the guy in the pickup truck, I don’t think I’d ever stop laughing,” Kimmel joked. “I’d probably go around the block and try it one more time.”

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