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Larry Wert’s Next Priority For Tribune Stations: Marketing and Sales

When he was first named president of Tribune Broadcasting, Larry Wert said his first priority was WPIX, Tribune’s station in New York City. With a new general manager and news director in place at the CW affiliate, we caught up with Wert at the TVNewser Show about his next priority, putting together “a marketing and sales organizations for all of our stations.” We also asked him for his thoughts on Aereo:

Charlie LeDuff Named National News Correspondent for FOX TV Stations

LeDuff FlagWJBK investigative reporter Charlie LeDuff has been named national news correspondent for FOX Television Stations.

In addition to reporting for the Detroit FOX owned station, LeDuff will lead a series of national news reports on all FOX owned stations called “The Americans with Charlie LeDuff.”

“Charlie’s unorthodox storytelling, no holds barred attitude and exceptional wit combine to produce a news product that is unlike any other reporting out there,” Sharri Berg, SVP of news operations for FOX TV stations said in a statement. Read more

Layoffs at Some Gannett Stations, Including KHOU and WFAA

gannettlogoSome Gannett stations have been hit with layoffs this week, TVSpy has confirmed. The layoffs affect “a small number of positions at some stations,” we hear.

“We’re continually taking advantage of new technology to reallocate resources to our journalism and put more feet on the street,” a Gannett spokesperson tells TVSpy. “Occasionally, these efforts result in staffing adjustments.”

The layoffs were reported yesterday by FTVLive and by Houston media blogger Mike McGuff.

McGuff reports KHOU in Houston and WFAA in Dallas were two of the stations where layoffs occurred. McGuff says “editors, master control operators, truck engineers, Great Day Houston staffers and the art department have all been affected.”

Hearst Television VP of Sales Kathleen Keefe to Retire

kathleen keefeKathleen Keefe, the vice president of sales at Hearst Television, will retire at the end of the year.

“Kathleen has provided great leadership and mentorship not only to our sales efforts, but our company,” said Hearst Television president Jordan Wertlieb said in a statement.  “…Her systems and good judgment in inventory and pricing disciplines and unmatched knowledge of political advertising, have made all of our sales managers better and have helped cultivate the company’s next generation of Hearst Television’s management.”

Before joining Hearst Television in 2001, Keefe was the vice president of sales and marketing for Post-Newsweek Stations. During her 14 years with that station group, she served as general manager of WKMG in Orlando and general sales manager of WFSB in Hartford and KPRC in Houston.

“I couldn’t be prouder or more appreciative of the tremendous sales management and account executive teams at our stations.  I know they will continue to provide industry-leading results,” Keefe said.

Q1 Earnings: LIN Media Net Revenues Up 18%

lin media logoLIN Media reported $166.2 million in net revenues for the first quarter of 2014, an 18% increase compared to the year-ago quarter.

Local revenues, which include net local advertising revenues, retransmission consent fee revenues and station website revenues, were up 9% for the quarter. Net national revenues, net political revenues and operating income were also up.

“Our results were driven by an increase in television advertising, higher pay-television subscriber fees and significant growth in digital revenues, which now comprise 15% of our net revenues and has its own reportable segment,” LIN Media president and CEO Vincent L. Sadusky said in a statement. “Our diverse group of assets helped us maximize revenues from the winter Olympics and the Super Bowl and achieve the high end of our first quarter revenue guidance. I am excited about the expansion of our digital portfolio with the addition of Federated Media and the future scale and synergy opportunities from the pending merger with Media General.”

Media General Cuts 45 Jobs

media general_304x200A month after announcing a $2.6 billion merger with Lin Media, Media General is cutting 45 corporate and shared services jobs.

In an email sent to staffers, obtained by TVSpy, CEO George Mahoney says the cuts are meant to decentralize operations and give greater control at the local level. “It’s important that we have a structure that allows us to focus increasingly at the local, station level, closer to the customer, so that we can be nimble and responsive to our communities,” Mahoney writes.

When the merger is complete, the new Media General will be the second largest station group in the nation with 74 stations in 46 markets, reaching 23% of U.S. TV households.

The affected employees have been notified, a Media General spokesperson tells us. “Many of those who are affected are stars and have been with us for many years,” Mahoney writes. “They have, and deserve, our deepest gratitude and appreciation for their hard work and long-standing commitment to Media General.”

Mahoney is among those leaving the company when the deal is completed. Media General chairman Stewart Bryan will stay on in that capacity, while LIN CEO Vincent Sadusky will be the CEO of the combined entity.

Mahoney’s note, after the jump…

Read more

Katherine Green Named SVP of News for Tribune

tribune_304Tribune Broadcasting has named Katherine Green senior vice president of news.

Green will be responsible for all news production and operations across Tribune’s 42 owned or operated stations. She reports to Tribune’s president of broadcast media, Larry Wert.

“Katherine is a visionary leader whose background in local broadcasting and news programming will bring value to our station’s broadcast and digital newsrooms,” Wert said in a statement.

Before coming to Tribune, Green worked for CNN Worldwide where she last worked as SVP and managing editor of HLN.

Green has also worked as VP and news director for WTTG in Washington, DC, and WBAL in Baltimore. She has also worked at WFLA in Tampa, WNBC and WABC in New York, WTVJ in Miami, and WTLV in Jacksonville, FL.

Valari Staab on Strengthening the NBC Owned Stations

valari staabIn an interview with TVNewsCheck, NBC Owned Television Stations president Valari Staab talks about the investment in local news that has gone on under her watch. Staab says stations like WTVJ in Miami, WMAQ in Chicago and WCAU in Philadelphia have seen success because “we have added people, we have upgraded facilities, we have added resources”:

There are two things that strengthened our newsrooms quickly. One was adding a midday newscast. It’s easy to look at a midday newscast and do the math and say that it loses money or that it breaks even so I don’t want to do it. What a midday newscast does is keep the newsroom going all day long. It keeps everybody gathering news all day long. To have a big gap between your morning news and your 5 o’clock news weakens your 5 o’clock news.

The second thing is investigative units. We have put really decent size investigative units into these stations and, aside from giving you original content that your competitors don’t have and that you absolutely need in today’s world, it also gets everybody in the newsroom focused again on enterprise journalism. So, having journalists in your newsroom that are constantly breaking stories gets the other reporters breaking stories and working beats. It helps create a culture of enterprise reporting.

Hearst and DISH Reach Retrans Agreement

hearst_dish_304Hearst Television has announced it has reached a retransmission agreement with DISH Network.

Hearst’s 29 stations were pulled from the satellite provider after the two couldn’t reach an agreement last night.

“We appreciate the support and patience of our viewers, advertisers and local communities served by our stations,” Hearst said in a statement. “We regret the inconvenience they’ve experienced over the past several hours. We are pleased the interruption was brief and that our stations have been restored on DISH Network systems.”

Hearst Stations Pulled from Dish Over Retrans

Hearst_DishHearst’s 29 stations are off DISH Network today after retrans negotiations between the two companies broke down last night around 10:00 p.m.

“It appears that DISH does not have a problem with the rates we are seeking,” read one of the many press releases about the dispute sent by Hearst stations. We must note that in every release we got from the individual stations, this quote was attributed to that station’s GM.

The release went on to say, “But the DISH negotiating team is seeking other terms that we don‟t have in our deals with any other cable or satellite distributor or telco, nor do we have them in our current deal with DISH. Frankly, we are scratching our heads as to why DISH would hold their own customers and our viewers hostage for terms that are radically off-market.”

“Hearst blacked out its channels to use viewers as bargaining chips as it makes unreasonable demands on Dish and its customers,” Dish EVP and chief commercial officer Dave Shull said in a statement as quoted by Multichannel News. “We offered to keep the channels on while we try to reach a deal, but Hearst refuses to put viewers first.”

You can see examples of the releases after the jump. Read more

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