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Tampa-St. Petersburg

WFTS Ousts News Director and Assistant News Director

WFTS-304Both the news director and assistant news director Tampa ABC affiliate WFTS have been let go.

The Tampa Bay Business Journal reports, GM Nick Nicholson told staff in an email that news director Bill McFarland and assistant news director Michele Murray “were no longer with the television station. We wish them the best in their future endeavors.”

Sources tell TVSpy the firings come in the aftermath of last month’s story about WFTS reporter Cameron Polom finding a child who had been reported missing.

The day after ten-year-old Paul Fagan was reported missing by his parents, Polom was walking through the boy’s neighborhood and saw him standing near a fence. Polom promptly turned him over to deputies.

Sources tell TVSpy that McFarland and Murray were not happy with how Polom handled the child’s return and thought he should have milked it for more exposure for the Scripps-owned station. An internal review of the situation was launched leading to today’s dismissals. We’ve reached out to WFTS GM Nicholson and Polom for comment but have not heard back. We will update when we do.

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Computer Glitch Forces WFLA Anchor Into Extended ‘Tap Dance’

wfla_4PMStacie Schaible was never hired for her dancing, but Monday, the anchor did her best as a computer failure crashed most of the five p.m. newscast at Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA. “Watch @WFLA if you want to see us tap dance through the news,” she tweeted during the technical mess, which the station hashtagged as #equipmentmeltdown. “We are having tech difficulties but plowing through.”

WFLA news director Bill Berra tells TVSpy a computer board failed, leaving producers with no audio, and anchors without IFB. How much fun does that sound like? Berra says it took engineers a while to root out the cause of the failure, and that left Schaible doing her best. “Stacie did a very good tap dance under the circumstances.”

Haley Hinds Leaves WINK

Yesterday was anchor/reporter Haley Hinds‘ last day at Fort Myers, Fla, CBS affiliate WINK. Hinds is leaving the station after five years to join FOX owned WTVT in Tampa. She wrote the following on her Facebook page:

It’s a bittersweet morning for me. Today is my very last morning show on WINK News! In a couple weeks, I’ll start a new job at FOX 13 in Tampa. It’s been an incredible 5 years here in Fort Myers. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for welcoming me into your homes and watching me grow to be a better journalist each day. I’ll miss you all!

Hinds’ co-workers surprised her with the send-off above.

WTSP Promotes and Adds Anchor and Reporter

Lim Roundtree RobinsonWTSP has made a couple of changes around 25 year station veteran Reginald Roundtree.

Roundtree, who anchors the 5:30, 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. news at the Tampa Bay CBS affiliate, recently lost his co-anchor Heather Van Nest.

Dion Lim (pictured right) who anchored the 5:00 with Van Nest and 5:30 p.m. with Roundtree is now off the 5:30 p.m., but will co-anchor with Roundtree on the 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. news.

Joining Lim at 5:00 and Roundtree at 5:30 will be Courtney Robinson (pictured left) who comes to the station from WZVN in Fort Myers. She will also report at 11:00 p.m.

Lim started at WTSP in January. Robinson has also worked at WJLA in Washington, D.C. and WSET in Lynchburg, Va.

Heather Van Nest Leaves WTSP

heathervannestWTSP evening anchor Heather Van Nest has left the Tampa CBS affiliate.

Peter Roghaar, WTSP news director, told TVSpy, “Heather has decided to leave the station to spend more time with her family. She will be missed.”

“While I enjoyed working with my friends at 10 News, I am excited for new work opportunities that allow for more flexibility in my family life. Working until midnight with a 1-year-old son, 3-year-old daughter and husband at home is not ideal,” Van Nest posted on her facebook page. “I am eager to explore new opportunities as I continue to search for that unicorn we call “work/life balance.”

The Tampa Bay Times reports Van Nest hadn’t been on-air for a few days before the announcement, giving rise to rumors her contract wasn’t renewed.

Van Nest’s bio has been removed from the station’s website. She started her career as an editor, producer and anchor at WAOW in Wausau, Wis. She worked at WJXT in Jacksonville before coming to WTSP in 2002 as a morning anchor.

‘I’ve Got Stories to Write,’ WFLA Reporter Gets Noticed for Haunted House Demeanor

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper added a local news reporter to his “Ridiculist” last night. Anthony Allred, from Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA, didn’t catch Cooper’s attention for something shameful or embarrassing, he was noticed for his ability to let the ghosts and goblins at a local haunted house know that they just don’t compare to the amount of work waiting for him when he gets back to the station.

Said Cooper about the footage of Allred walking through the haunted house, “It looks like the Blair Witch Project. Except for that lady with snot running down her face, our hero is a local news reporter who doesn’t even break a sweat. No matter what they throw at this guy, he doesn’t even flinch.”

When one ghoul asks him to “come and play” Anthony keeps walking and tells her, “I’ve got stories to write.” Check out Allred’s story on WFLA after the jump. Read more

WFTS Reporter Finds Missing Boy


Paul Ezekiel Fagan was reported missing by his family Thursday evening.

According to WFTS, Cameron Polom, a reporter for the Tampa ABC affiliate, was walking through Fagan’s neighborhood early Friday morning when he saw the 10-year-old Tampa boy standing by a fence.

“I said, ‘Have you been missing?’ [Polom] said, ‘Come here, buddy, and I just picked him up and I said would you mind if I lift you up?’” Polom said. “And I just said come with me, I just held his hand and walked him over to you guys. It’s crazy.” he said.

Deputies walked the little boy up to the house, and when family saw him, they ran to the little boy and hugged him.

According to ABC News, Fagan said he left to get some time away from his little brother.

Nick Nicholson Named VP and General Manager at WFTS

NickNicholsonNick Nicholson is joining Tampa ABC affiliate WFTS as vice president and general manager.

Steve Wasserman, divisional general manager of Scripps Media and GM of WPTV, confirmed the move to TVSpy following an internal email he sent to WFTS staff this morning.

“Nick is a highly regarded media executive with an impressive track record of success in several competitive markets,” Wasserman writes. Nicholson spent 27 years with the Belo TV group, most recently as President/GM of KTVK/KASW in Phoenix. Before that, Nicholson ran WVEC in Norfolk, was GM of the Belo-owned Fox/UPN stations in Tucson, and VP of Sales at Belo flagship WFAA in Dallas/Ft. Worth. Gannett acquired Belo late last year.

Nicholson replaces Rich Pegram who was shown the door last month after 7 years as WFTS GM. Nicholson’s first day in Tampa is Monday.

Chris Field Out at WTVT

Fields WTVTWTVT has released a statement on the departure of sports anchor and reporter Chris Field Saturday.

By the wording of the Tampa FOX owned station’s news director John Hoffman‘s statement, it appears the decision to leave wasn’t Field’s.

“I want to thank Chris for her many years of service and dedication to the FOX 13 news team,” said Hoffman. “Her professionalism, creativity and passion will certainly be missed by our viewers. This decision was based on a restructuring of the sports department. We wish her well in all her future endeavors.”

“I’m grateful for all the wonderful people I’ve had the pleasure to meet and work with over the past 17 years at FOX 13 and in the community,” Field said in a prepared statement. “I’ve established relationships and friendships to last a lifetime. I appreciate the incredible sports events I’ve had the privilege to cover, and the inspirational stories I’ve had the honor to tell.  I’m proud of our award-winning sports team at FOX 13 and wish my colleagues all the best. I have built my career and home here in Tampa Bay. I appreciate all the support as my family and I move into the next chapters of life in this wonderful community.”

According to her bio, Fields started at WTVT the same day the MLB Devil Rays were formed in the expansion draft, November 17, 1997.

Ashley Yore Joins WFTS as Reporter

Ashley Yore has joined Tampa ABC affiliate WFTS as an MMJ and reporter.

Before working at WFTS, Yore worked at WSYX-WTTE in Columbus for three years. WSYX wished her well on twitter.

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