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Meteorologist Aaron Brackett Joins KFOR

aaron brackett kforMeteorologist Aaron Brackett has joined KFOR, the NBC affiliate in Oklahoma City. He comes from Tucson ABC affiliate KGUN.

“In Tucson this past May, I watched what was happening here and afterwards I knew I wanted to come and work here. I want to use my skills, everything I’ve learned to help save lives,” Brackett said in a statement. “Between college and now I have covered approximately 26,000 miles storm chasing and am ready to help 4Warn Oklahomans when the weather turns severe.”

Brackett has previously worked as a meteorologist at WREX, the NBC affiliate in his hometown of Rockford, Ill.

Tucson’s KVOA Celebrates 60th Anniversary

Tucson NBC affiliate KVOA is marks 60 years on the air this week.

In an interview with KVOA, Frank Barreca, the station’s first news director and anchor, recalled the bare bones station when it first went on the air in 1953.

“We made a crash course in studying the film industry, learning about lights and how the lights should be installed in the studio that was being built,” Barecca said (video after the jump). “…I remember the typewriters were on crates and I think we had a couple of folding chairs.”

Watch Tom McNamara‘s KVOA after the jump. Read more

Jennifer Waddell Says Goodbye to KGUN

After eight years at KGUN, Jennifer Waddell has signed off from the Tucson ABC affiliate. She is moving to Nashville, where she will be the morning anchor at WZTV.

Waddell said an emotional goodbye to the station on the 10 p.m. newscast Friday, with many station staffers wishing her well on a video tribute to her time at KGUN (watch it after the jump).

“Tucson has been great to us,” Waddell told the Arizona Daily Star. “We’ve had our children here and come to really care a whole lot about this community and felt really connected. Leaving is bittersweet, having to say goodbye to a lot of our very dear friends, but we’re excited for the new chapter.

Waddell will begin at Fox affiliate WZTV on September 23. [h/t NewsBlues] Read more

KGUN Names Tom Burke News Director

Tom Burke starts his first day today as news director for Tucson, AZ, ABC affiliate KGUN, TVSpy has confirmed.

Burke replaces Forrest Carr who resigned in March.

Before coming to KGUN, Burke was the news director at WTVM in Columbus, GA, until December 2012. He’s also worked in Sacramento, Fresno, Pittsburgh, Columbus, OH, Detroit, and Greenville, NC.

[Rick Gevers Blog]

KVOA, KGUN Walk Back False Suicide Reports

Two stations in Tucson are walking back reports about a young child whose mother said he killed himself after witnessing a deathly accident, Tucson Weekly reports.

ABC affiliate KGUN interviewed Genesee Pineda, who said that her son took his own life after he saw his best friend run over by a Pima County police cruiser. NBC affiliate KVOA also reported the death, saying on multiple newscasts “we’re told [he] committed suicide days after” his friend died.

“He was asking about heaven, he had repeated that he didn’t want his friend to go to heaven by himself,” Pineda told KGUN. “They took him to UMC, where he died there.”

After running the story, KGUN investigative reporter Craig Smith — who Tucson Weekly notes did not file the original story — did a follow-up report revealing neither the police or the hospital had any record of a the death. Smith also noted that the photo Pineda provided of her son was identical to one on HBO’s website.

Both stations have done follow-up reports on the story’s inaccuracies, although neither station has addressed why Pineda’s claims were not investigated before the original reports went to air.

KVOA’s report can be seen here; KGUN’s report has been stripped from the website, but a cached version remains online here.

TVSpy has reached out to KVOA and KGUN for comment.

Paul Cicala Leaving KVIA, Station Names Successor

KVIA has announced sports director Paul Cicala (pictured left) is leaving the El Paso ABC affiliate and will join Tucson NBC affiliate KVOA.

“We are sad to lose such a talented, genuine person like Paul,” said KVIA news director Brenda De Anda-Swann in a statement. “He is a truly unique, authentic talent and his enthusiasm is always contagious. He has a special bond with the audience and I know he’ll be missed.”

Cicala is moving to Tucson to tend to family matters, the station said.

The station also announced Asher Wildman (pictured right) will step into Cicala’s sports director role as soon as Cicala leaves in one month.

Wildman has worked at KVIA for more than a year. Prior to working at KVIA, he was host of Golfweek TV in Orlando, FL.

[El Paso Times]

Sportscaster Ryan Recker Joins WTAE

Ryan Recker is joining WTAE as the morning sports anchor and reporter, the Pittsburgh ABC affiliate announced this afternoon. He begins July 18.

Recker, a Pittsburgh native, comes from KVOA in Tucson, where he has been the sports director for six years. He has also worked at WTOV in Stubenville, Ohio.

“When Ryan first visited us he made an immediate connection with our newsroom, especially the morning team. WTAE is happy to see a home-grown storyteller come back to Pittsburgh in this role,” news director Justin Antoniotti said in a statement.

KOLD Names Greg Newton Sales Manager

Greg Newton has been named sales manager at KOLD, Raycom’s CBS affiliate in Tucson.

Newton joins KOLD from rival KVOA, the NBC affiliate in Tucson, where he has been national sales manager since 2011. Prior to that, he spent eight years in radio, working at Clear Channel Communications and Cumulus Media.

“Greg brings strong and diverse sales and sales management experience to the table along with deep local, regional and national relationships,” director of sales David Rash said in a statement. “We are lucky to have him on our team.”

KOLD Meteorologist Chuck George Takes Another Leave of Absence

KOLD chief meteorologist Chuck George has taken another leave of absence from the Tucson CBS affiliate, the Arizona Daily Star reports.

George has taken at least two medical leaves of absence in the past two years. In May, he revealed that he suffers from severe depression. He has not appeared on KOLD since early June, according to a search of TVEyes.

KOLD vice president and general manager Debbie Bush did not return TVSpy’s request for comment.

KGUN Names Sally Shamrell Co-Host of ‘The Morning Blend’

Sally Shamrell is joining Tucson ABC affiliate KGUN as co-host of “The Morning Blend,” the station’s daytime lifestyle and information show.

It is a return Tucson for Shamrell, who worked at NBC affiliate KVOA until 2003. Since then, she has worked in infomercials and as an actress.

“We are very pleased to have Sally back in Tucson where she can utilize her great talents in the unique environment of The Morning Blend on KGUN9 and CW58,” KGUN general manager Jim Arnold said in a statement.

Shamrell will co-host the program with Amanda Guralski.

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