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Tampa-St. Petersburg

Danica Lawrence to Join WTSP in Tampa

Danica Lawrence is joining Gannett’s Tampa CBS affiliate WTSP as a multi-media journalist.

WTSP news director Peter Roghaar confirmed with TVSpy, Lawrence will begin next Friday June 28.

Lawrence left Tulsa FOX affiliate KOKI last week. The station posted this to her facebook page, “As you may have seen, Danica’s last day to report at FOX23 was yesterday. She’s moving on to Tampa.”

[Tulsa TV Stations]

Elliott Wiser Named President, GM of WTSP

Gannett Broadcasting has named Elliott Wiser president and general manager of WTSP, the CBS affiliate in Tampa-St. Petersburg.

Wiser comes to WTSP from Bright House Networks, where he was corporate vice president of local programming. He is a former vice president and general manager of Bay News 9 in Tampa.

“Elliott’s record of success in multimedia broadcasting and business, plus his deep connections in the Tampa area, will be a huge asset to WTSP,” Gannett Broadcasting EVP Lynn Beall said in announcing the hire. “We’re confident in his ability to strengthen the WTSP brand and help position it as the leading local news organization in the Tampa market.”

Wiser succeeds Ken Tonning, who is retiring after 38 years with Gannett.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to lead WTSP,” Wiser said. “With remarkable investigations, unwavering dedication to the community and an award-winning staff, they are tremendous advocates for the people of Tampa and poised to become the go-to destination for local news and information.”

WTVT Oops On-Air: ‘The Most Famous Woman in Florida’ Looks Like a Man

WTVT morning anchor Anne Dwyer had an “oops” moment on the Tampa FOX owned station’s ‘Good Day Tampa Bay’ yesterday. Dwyer was teasing an upcoming story about a Florida Lottery winner while going to break, when the control room transitioned to a live shot of feature reporter Charley Belcher. With Belcher full frame, Dwyer said, “This is the most famous woman in Florida right now.”

“Oh, whoa! No You’re not,” said Dwyer. “That’s Charley Belcher.” After acting offended, Belcher later said, “Flag that.” That’ll show up somewhere else I won’t want it to show up.”

‘Board shorts today. Speedos tomorrow.’ Hulk Hogan Does Weather for WTSP

Pro wrestler Hulk Hogan stopped by Tampa CBS affiliate WTSP this week to show off his 24-inch “pythons,” call people from Miami “lunatics,” and promote his restaurant, his line of vitamins and TNA Impact Wrestling.

WTSP meteorologist Bobby Deskins painted on a fake Hoganesque mustache and made only one steroid reference as he guided Hogan through the weathercast. “I’m juicing by the way, can you tell?” asked Deskins. “What kind of juice you taking?” asked Hogan. “Carrot juice or Orange juice?”

[Yardbarker]

Ginger Gadsden Signing Off From WTSP

Ginger Gadsden will sign off from WTSP in Tampa-St. Petersburg when her contract expires on June 30, according to Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times.

Gadsden, who joined the CBS affiliate in 2006, anchors the morning and noon newscasts. She cited the early-morning schedule as a reason for her departure.

“I don’t think your body is made to wake up at 2 a.m., no matter how long you do it,” Gadsden told Deggans. “But (WTSP) has solid anchors in the evening; if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, I understand. I’m just grateful I got a chance to work with such great people.”

Weekend morning anchor Allison Kropff will replace Gadsden on the morning newscast.

WFLA Adds Second Meteorologist This Week

Four days after announcing the hiring of meteorologist Bryan Bennett, Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA has announced it’s adding meteorologist Julie Phillips to its “Storm Team.”

“I’m very excited to be adding Julie, and more recently, Bryan Bennett to Storm Team 8.” said chief meteorologist Steve Jerve. “They are both well educated and experienced meteorologists with Florida forecasting experience.  They’ll fit well with our tradition of excellence and team work at News Channel 8.”

Phillips comes to WFLA from KTXS in Abilene, TX, where she is the morning meteorologist. She replaces Brooks Garner who left last month for KHOU in Houston. Her first day will be June 10.

Meteorologist Bryan Bennett Joins WFLA

Meteorologist Bryan Bennett is joining WFLA, the NBC affiliate in Tampa-St. Petersburg.

Bennett comes from New York, where he was executive weather producer and chief meteorologist at CBS-owned WCBS. He also managed weather graphics content for 14 other CBS stations. Before that, he worked at WSB, the ABC affiliate in Atlanta, for five years.

Bennett will be the meteorologist for the weekend morning newscasts and the noon newscast. He begins at WFLA on May 25.

WFTS News Truck Goes Up In Flames

A news van for Tampa ABC affiliate WFTS caught fire “for no apparent reason.”

Photojournalist Tony Jacobson and reporter Ryan Raiche escaped the Dodge Sprinter van without injury. Raiche posted a photo of the burned out van (pictured) on his facebook page with the caption, “Is it bad luck if your the last guy to go live from a sat truck before it burns to a crisp? RIP Sprinter.”

Reporter Ashley Glass also posted a photo of the van, this time in what appears to be mid-burn, on her company facebook page. “One of our big boy live trucks caught fire (for no apparent reason) in Lakeland, FL. ” Glass added, “RIP to the Sprinter, the only truck with enough counter space for my entire “get ready” spread. Survived by Tony Jacobson and Ryan Raiche.” You can see the photo Glass posted after the jump.

TVSpy reached out to WFTS for more info.  We’ll update if we hear back.

Read more

Former WFLA Reporter, News Director Dies

Former WFLA news director Joe Mannion has died after a long battle with renal cancer, according to The Tampa Tribune. He was 79.

Mannion joined the Tampa NBC affiliate as a reporter in the mid 1960s and was named news director in 1979. He left the station in 1983 and became a lobbyist for Pasco County, a position he held until he retired in 2009.

“Joe was ultimate newsman,” longtime friend Joe Davis told the Tampa Tribune. “He trained in Washington along with the Huntleys and the Brinkleys and the others that the younger guys these days don’t know.” [h/t TVNewsCheck]

Tampa Meteorologist Shoots Footage of Mysterious Lights Over City

Tampa meteorologist Brooks Garner recently recorded some footage while walking his dog that shows unexplained lights flying in what appears to be formation over the skies of Tampa.

Garner, the meteorologist for Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA, is leaving for Houston CBS affiliate KHOU in May. He told TVSpy, “What was it? I can’t say for sure. I speculate it was of a very ‘terrestrial’ origin — probably Chinese floating lanterns — but I was too far away to be sure… ”

The station posted the video to its website and to its facebook page to hear what viewers had to say about the sighitng. Some viewers were wary of WFLA’s news judgement saying “I do worry when “news” agencies post stuff like this. I assume it is tongue in cheek” while many others supported the Chinese lantern theory.

Garner added, “I don’t think it’s much of a story — but it did make for an interesting evening dog walk.”

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