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Gannett Bumps WXIA News Director to Corporate Office

gannett_logoEllen Crooke, news director for Atlanta NBC affiliate WXIA, has been named VP of News for parent company Gannett Broadcasting.

Crooke was also the and regional news executive for Gannett. She started with the station group in 2002 as VP of news for WGRZ in Buffalo. She joined WXIA in 2008.

“Ellen is a passionate and innovative leader who is committed to reinventing local journalism in this digital age,” Dave Lougee, president of Gannett Broadcasting said in a statement. “We’re excited to have her on the corporate team.”

Crooke had also worked as news director at WNDU in South Bend, IN, assistant news director at WHAS in Louisville, KY, and as a producer for WOKR (now WHAM) in Rochester, NY, and WTEN in Albany.

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LIN Media and CBS Renew Affiliation Agreements in Ten Markets

linmedia_304x200LIN Media announced today it has signed a “comprehensive, long-term” agreement to renew affiliation agreements with CBS in 10 markets.

The agreement includes WIAT in Birmingham, AL, WIVB in Buffalo, NY, KRQE, KBIM and KREZ in Albuquerque, NM, WPRI in Providence, RI, WANE in Fort Wayne, IN, WTHI in Terre Haute, IN, KIMT in Mason City, IA, KOIN in Portland, OR, WKBN in Youngstown, OH and WLFI in Lafayette, IN.

“We are pleased to have reached long-­term agreements with CBS,” Vincent L. Sadusky, president and CEO of LIN Media said in a statement. “Our stations are important assets to our local communities and these new agreements ensure that LIN Media and CBS will continue to serve local viewers with high-­‐quality network programming.”

LIN recently lost the CBS affiliation at its Indianapolis station WISH, the Indianapolis Star reported, LIN stands to lose as much as $100 million after its proposed deal with Media General was revalued after the loss.

Gray Finds Diverse Buyers for Six Stations

New_Gray_304Gray Television announced today it has found buyers for six full power TV stations that may have disappeared otherwise.

In June, Gray said it was transferring the programming of the six stations it operated under shared service agreements and also had the option to buy, to stations it owned in the same market. Rather than surrendering the licenses of the now program-less stations, it hired the brokerage arm of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council to find new owners for the stations.

When it hired MMTC, Gray stipulated the buyers had to be “socially disadvantaged enterprises, such as businesses controlled by women, minorities, or innovative new entrants, or non-profit entities such as a school or religious institution.”

The six stations are KXJB in Fargo, ND, KJCT in Grand Junction, CO, KHAS in Hastings-Lincoln, NE, KAQY in Monroe, LA, KNDX in Bismarck, ND, and KXND in Minot. Read more

LIN Fills GM Roles in Indianapolis and Savannah

linmedia_304x200LIN Media has named Les Vann president and GM of CBS affiliate WISH and MyTV affiliate WNDY in Indianapolis. The station group also named Steve Doerr acting GM of WJCL in Savannah.

Doerr replaces Vann, who was the president and GM of the Savannah, GA, LIN owned ABC affiliate.

“Les has done a terrific job in Savannah, rebuilding and launching a new brand, transforming its news department and strengthening the station’s commitment to localism,”Jay Howell, LIN Media’s VP of Television said in a statement. “He brings a unique skill set to WISH-­‐TV and WNDY-­‐TV that will be very important to these stations’ growth and development.”

CBS recently announced it is switching its CBS affiliation from LIN Media’s WISH to Tribune’s WTTV, starting January 2015.

Before working for LIN, Vann had been GM of WKRC in Cincinnati and had managed stations in Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina, South Carolina and New York. Doerr comes to LIN after working as VP and group manager, Northeast Region for Smith Media.

Sinclair CEO in Dispute with Maryland Farmer Over Leased Land and Destroyed Crops

Sinclair BroadcastAccording to The Baltimore Sun, Sinclair CEO David Smith is caught up in a tussle over 95 acres of Maryland farm land he is leasing out.

Stephen Pieper, the farmer who leases Smith’s land, is mad because he said Smith hired someone to plow under about $1000,000 worth of Pieper’s corn crop. Smith’s lawyer said in a lawsuit, Pieper was trespassing when he planted the crop and damaged the soil.

“All he wants is his farm,” said Francis R. Laws, Smith’s attorney. “He wants to enjoy the use of the property that he bought.”

Pieper, 62, said that in more than 30 years of farming from about 50 landlords, farms have been developed and changed hands, but he has never seen a crop destroyed.

“This is devastating to me,” Pieper said after watching the crop fall on July 20, when he tried to head off the tractor hired by Smith. “This crop would have been harvested in 75 days. It’s sickening.” Read more

James Killen Named Sinclair Group Manager

Sinclair BroadcastSinclair Broadcast Group has named James Killen Group Manager of Tulsa, OK, Little Rock, AR, Roanoke-Lynchburg, VA and “other markets to be determined.”

“Having held a key sales management position at Allbritton and given his familiarity with the stations and staff, he is the perfect choice to continue with us as a Group Manager overseeing some of these same markets we recently acquired,” Steve Marks, co-chief operating officer of Sinclair’s TV group said in a statement. “We look forward to building upon that foundation and expanding our market presence.”

Since 2004, Killen has been VP of Sales for Allbritton, overseeing seven stations as well as NewsChannel 8 and Politico. He’s also worked as local sales manager and New York national sales manager at WNBC in New York, and as an account executive at WRAL in Raleigh-Durham and WECT in Wilmington, NC.

Sinclair Launches Original Programming Division

sinclair_304Sinclair Broadcast Group is going to start producing original programming.

The station group announced it’s launching the SOP, or Sinclair Original Programming division which will create and develop entertainment content as well as infomercials and direct response commercials. Sinclair said the content will initially be developed for its CW and MyTV affiliates and will run during prime time and weekend afternoons.

The division will be led by Arthur Hasson who is being named COO of Sinclair Original Programming. Hasson will continue to work as GM of WHP, Sinclair’s Harrisburg, PA, CBS and MyNet affiliate and CW affiliate WLYH.

By developing original content in connection with talented program producers, we can provide cost effective, flexible projects that can be readily monetized,” Hasson said in a statement. “In addition, we believe there is potential to distribute shows beyond our platforms both domestically and internationally. From the creative side, our large footprint of stations allows us to test concepts and talent efficiently.”

It’s Trading Day! Five Station Groups Buy and Sell Ten Stations

station groups cropped

Five station groups have undertaken a station swap similar to what happens at the trading deadline in professional sports. This time, though, the moves affect hundreds of people.

Media General and LIN Media, looking to comply with Federal regulations over ownership rules have initiated a TV station swap involving Sinclair Broadcast, Meredith and Hearst Corporation.

Here’s the breakdown:

Sinclair will buy from Media General: Providence NBC affiliate WJAR

Sinclair will buy from LIN Media: Green Bay FOX affiliate WLUK, Green Bay CW affiliate WCWF and certain assets of Savannah, GA, FOX affiliate WTGS and the rights to acquire the principal assets of WTGS, which is operated by LIN but owned by WTGS Television, LLC.

Media General will buy from Sinclair: Tampa, FL, MyTV affiliate WTTA, creating a duopoly since they already own NBC affiliate WFLA, and Colorado Springs stations KXRM (FOX) and KXTU (CW).

Media General will sell to Hearst: Birmingham, AL NBC affiliate WVTM.

LIN Media will sell to Hearst: Savannah, GA ABC affiliate WJCL.

Meredith will buy from LIN Media: Mobile-Pensacola FOX affiliate WALA. Read more

Sinclair Names New GMs in Washington, DC and Columbus Markets

sinclair_304Sinclair Broadcast Group has named Dan Mellon GM of its Washington, D.C. ABC affiliate WJLA and local cable news network NewsChannel 8.

The station group also named Tony D’Angelo GM of Columbus, OH, ABC affiliate WSYX.

“I am excited to announce the promotions of Dan and Tony,” Steve Marks, Sinclair’s co-chief operating officer said in a statement. “They have been loyal employees of the Company with a history of success in leading our stations, especially in Columbus, one of our largest and most important markets.”

Since 2006, Mellon has been group manager of Sinclair’s stations. He was GM of WSYX from 2005 until 2006 and was also responsible for oversight into WTTE. D’Angelo had been director of sales at WSYX, WTTE and WWHO in Columbus since 2003.

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.

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