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Tampa-St. Petersburg

Jerry Penacoli Named Co-Host of WFLA’s ‘Daytime’

Jerry Penacoli has been named co-host of “Daytime,” WFLA‘s nationally syndicated show.

Penacoli has been a correspondent on “Extra” for 13 seasons. He has also been a host for E! Entertainment Television, an anchor for KYW in Philadelphia and a host and producer to WTVJ in Miami. His career began at WJKS in Jacksonville, where he was an anchor and general assignment reporter.

“I am very pleased to announce the addition of Jerry Penacoli to ‘Daytime,’ ” WFLA president and general manager Brad Moses said in a statement. “Our long standing relationship with ‘Extra’ and his frequent visits to guest host made him a staff and viewer favorite.”

“Daytime” airs in more than 130 markets across the country.

Bright House Drops General Managers of Central Florida News and Bay News 9

The Orlando Sentinel’s Hal Boedeker is reporting both Robin Smythe, vice president and general manager of Central Florida News 13, and Rod Gramer, vice president and general manager of cable news station Bay News 9, have been let go due to a reorganization.

Elliott Wiser, vice president of local programming for Bright House Networks, announced the changes in a staff memo Monday. “Through careful analysis, we became aware there was redundancy in our organizational structure,” he said. “Therefore, effective today, the VP/GM positions at Bay News 9 and Central Florida News 13 will be eliminated.”

Smythe had been with the station since its inception in 1997. She started as news director before working her way up to the front office.  Gramer joined Bay News 9 in July of 2011 after 13 years at Portland, OR, NBC affiliate KGW. Read more

Meteorologist Andy Johnson to Retire After 33 Years at WTVT

Meteorologist Andy Johnson has announced his retirement from WTVT after 33 years at the Tampa Fox O&O.

“I am fortunate to have been blessed with having worked with such professional colleagues and followed by such loyal viewers. Being a meteorologist for WTVT was a childhood dream of mine, which I was able to fulfill,” Johnson wrote on Facebook. “Tampa is my home and always will be.”

A spokesperson for the station said the search for Johnson’s replacement is underway. WTVT’s current meteorologists will fill in until a permanent replacement is named.

“We thank Andy for bringing his expertise and accurate weather forecasting to our station for the last 33 years,” WTVT VP-GM Jeff Maloney told TVSpy in a statement. “We wish him the best of luck in the future.” [h/t Florida News Center]

Noreen Parker Named GM at WTTA in Tampa

Noreen Parker is stepping into the role of general manager at WTTA, Sinclair’s MyNetworkTV affiliate in Tampa.

Since 2009, Parker has been corporate director of news and digital sales for Bright House Networks. She is a former general manager of WTSP, the CBS affiliate in Tampa.

“Noreen brings strong, sales leadership skills and television station management experience,” Sinclair COO Steve Marks said in a statement. “We look forward to building on her digital media sales successes and the many relationships she has developed during her years in the Tampa market.”

WFLA Faces Cable Blackout Over Retrans Deal

Negotiations between Media General’s Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA and cable provider Bright House Networks are coming down to the wire.

The deadline to reach an agreement over retransmission fees is scheduled for 11:59 p.m. Monday, December 31.  If no agreement is in place by then, Bright House may drop the station from its lineup cutting viewer’s ability to watch their favorite NBC shows.

The companies are duking it out away from the negotiating table. WFLA aired warnings about the impending blackout to its viewers (watch the video after the jump) and posted arguments on a web page called “Don’t Drop News Channel 8″ where it wrote in part,

We understand that companies like Bright House pay fees as high as $4.40 per subscriber per month for ESPN and around $1.00 per subscriber per month for TNT and Disney Channel.  These channels have NO local programming, NO local employees, NO local investments, and little to no audience, all unlike News Channel 8. Yet, we are asking for nowhere near what Time Warner/Bright House pays for ESPN, even though our ratings trounce ESPN’s. Read more

Former WFLA Meteorologist David Grant Dies at 79

David Grant, the former WFLA meteorologist, died last week just two months after stopping treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Grant, who worked for the Tampa NBC affiliate for 14 years, was remembered by competitors and colleagues alike.  “I really liked his on-air, friendly appeal,”  Wayne Shattuck, longtime weather forecaster for Tampa ABC affiliate WFTS and a friend of Grant told the Tampa Bay Times.  “He was great meteorologist, but he was also a good person.”

Grant’s wife of 36 years, Beverly, told the Times, “The word for all this is beautiful.  I’m going to have lots of good memories.” Read more

Melissa Sogegian Beckman Joins WFLA in Tampa

Melissa Sogegian Beckman is the newest general assignment reporter at WFLA, the NBC affiliate in Tampa.

Beckman spent five years as a general assignment reporter at Bay News 9 in Tampa. She left in 2011 to work in South Korea, where she taught English at a private academy in Seoul for a year.

Beckman grew up in Fort Lauderdale and graduated from the University of Florida. She got married last week.

In Petraeus Scandal, All Roads Go Through Tampa

When news broke last week that David Petraeus was resigning his post as CIA director after having an affair, at least one newsroom staffer in Tampa had an inkling the market could become a focal point in the scandal.

“When the Petraeus resignation story broke nationally last Friday, a senior reporter in the newsroom remarked it’s just a matter of time before this becomes a Tampa story,” WTSP news director Peter Roghaar told TVSpy. “He was spot on.”

Sure enough, over the weekend, Tampa socialite Jill Kelley emerged as a central figure in the scandal, which continues to unfold even six days later. For WTSP, that means taking a two-pronged approach to local and national coverage.

“We have seven reporters actively reporting on-air, plus several more reporters and producers working off-air making calls, gathering documents and checking with sources,” Roghaar said. Read more

Meteorologists Guess What America Thinks For ‘Sandy’ Relief

Last week TVSpy wrote about four local meteorologists competing on the TV game show “Let’s Ask America”.  This week we got the chance to find out how the show went and how much Steve Raleigh, Ashley Brown, Denis Phillips and Lisa Hidalgo raised for the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Sandy Relief.

“Let’s Ask America” is a show similar to the “Family Feud” where contestants answer questions based on what groups of people think about certain subjects.  For self-admitted science geeks like these meteorologists, that proved harder than they predicted.

“I’m a science nerd,” said WRTV meteorologist Brown.  “I don’t know what normal people think.  But I had fun guessing.”  Hidalgo, the morning news meteorologist for KMGH in Denver echoed the sentiment, “It’s totally opposite of what we’re doing on a daily basis.”

You can watch a clip from the show after the jump. Read more

VIDEO: Train Rolls Through WFLA Reporter’s Live Shot in Downtown Tampa

During liveshot Monday, WFLA reporter Peter Bernard faced some competition from an unexpected source: a freight train rolling through downtown Tampa (video above).

“Excuse me, because there’s a train going by and it’s very loud,” Bernard said, fighting to be heard over the train before finally throwing it back to the studio.

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