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Wausau-Rhinelander

Meteorologist Mike Breunling Joins WAOW

mike breunlingMeteorologist Mike Breunling is joining WAOW, the ABC affiliate in Wausau, Wisc. Breunling joins the station from rival WSAW, the CBS affiliate in the market, where he has been the chief meteorologist since 1997.

“A strong weather team has long been a Hallmark here at WAOW. I’ve known Mike for many years and applaud his deep local experience and genuine commitment to our community. He will be a great addition to an already superb team of meteorologists,” WAOW station manager Brad Heinkel said in a statement.

Breunling will officially join WAOW later this summer. “This move to WAOW will present exciting new personal and professional opportunities for me,” he said in a statement.

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Gray Moves News Directors in Texas and Wisconsin

laszewski y lauberMikel Lauber has been named news director for Gray TV’s CBS affiliate in Waco, TX, KWTX.

The move opens up a slot at his former station WSAW which will be filled by Jessica Laszewski who comes from WISC in Madison.

Lauber has been news director at WSAW since 2011. According to Rick Gevers, he replaces Virgil Teter at KWTX who was named special projects director after nearly 25 years at the station.

Laszewski is currently executive producer at WISC. She has also worked in Green Bay, WI, and Eau Claire, WI.

[Rick Gevers]

WAOW Station Manager Tied to IRS Investigation of Former NFL’ers Charity

Waow_wmow_2010The station manager of Wausau, WI, ABC affiliate WAOW is reportedly part of an IRS investigation into a charity run by former Green Bay Packer LeRoy Butler.

According to the Green Bay Press Gazette, in the ten years Butler’s charity has been raising money for breast cancer survivors, Butler has only filed once with the IRS.

Brad Heinkel, station manager at WAOW-TV in Wausau, confirmed in a brief phone interview that the IRS contacted him about his work with Butler’s charity. He declined to say when that occurred or provide other details. Heinkel did say he is no longer affiliated with the LeRoy Butler Foundation.

Heinkel was listed as a representative of Butler’s foundation in media accounts from the mid-2000s, including a 2007 story that directed readers to send checks for Butler’s foundation to Heinkel’s home address. A business card of Heinkel’s from 2010 obtained by Gannett Wisconsin Media listed him as Wausau chapter president of the LeRoy Butler Foundation.

Heinkel previously worked at WSAW-TV in Wausau, and the station manager there, Al Lancaster, said two IRS agents visited the station July 12 looking for Heinkel. Read more

WSAW Founder Dick Dudley Dies at 89

Dick Dudley, the founder of Wausau CBS affiliate WSAW, died Tuesday. He was 89.

Dudley, who spent more than 50 years working in Broadcasting, founded WSAW in 1954. In 1989, he formed Dudley Communications Corporation and Dudley Broadcasting Management with his brother, Bob. The company owned and operated stations in Grand Rapids, Mich., Savannah and Seattle, according to WSAW. Dudley Communications was sold to Tribune Co. in 1998.

In addition to his broadcasting career, Dudley was a World War II veteran and active philanthropist. Watch WSAW’s tribute to Dudley after the jump. Read more

WAOW Names Brad Heinkel Station Manager

Brad Heinkel has been named station manager at WAOW, Quincy’s ABC affiliate in Wausau, Wisc.

It is a return to WAOW for Heinkel, who worked on the station’s sales management team from 1996-2004. Most recently, he has worked at rival WSAW, the Wausau CBS affiliate, as general sales manager since 2010.

“I’m thrilled for this opportunity to be back with the WAOW team,” Heinkel said in a statement. “I am looking forward to continuing the fine tradition of broadcasting this market has grown accustomed to.”

Heinkel will begin at WAOW on April 2. He replaces John Harris, who left the station last year.

Jon ErkenBrack Named General Manager at WAOW

Jon ErkenBrack has been named general manager at WAOW, Quincy’s ABC affiliate in Wausau, Wis.

ErkenBrack has worked in television for nearly three decades, most recently as the director of sales for WXXA in Albany. He has also held station management and sales management positions in Norfolk and Charlotte.

“Strong news and sales efforts, along with genuine community service, have long been a hallmark at WAOW. Jon ErkenBrack has the skills and experience to build upon that foundation,” Tom Allen, regional vice president for the Quincy broadcast division, said in a statement.

ErkenBrack begins at WAOW on December 20. He replaces John Harris, who is leaving to return to his family in North Carolina.

Station Manager John Harris Leaving WAOW-WYOW

John Harris is leaving WAOW-WYOW after two years as station manager for the Quincy Broadcasting duopoly in Wausau, Wis.

Harris told TVSpy he and his wife are returning to his hometown in North Carolina to be closer to an ailing family member. He informed staffers at the stations of his departure two weeks ago.

Harris said the WAOW-WYOW hopes to have a successor named by the time he leaves the stations in mid-December.

Anchor Promoted to News Director at WSAW

Mikel Lauber has been promoted to news director at WSAW. Lauber, who joined the station in 2007, currently anchors the CBS-affiliate’s 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts.

“I’m excited and fortunate to lead this veteran newsroom,” Lauber said, “and look forward to elevating the level of news coverage for the viewers in Northcentral Wisconsin.”

Last year, Lauber, a Wisconsin native, was named assistant news director to Susan Ramsett, whom he replaces. Ramsett left WSAW this spring after leading the newsroom for four years.

During his time with WSAW, Lauber has been honored several times for his investigative reporting, receiving a Murrow award in 2008 and Emmy nominations in ’08 and ’09.

Gray’s WSAW Becomes First Station in North Central Wisconsin to Broadcast in HD

This week WSAW, a Gray Television-owned CBS-affiliate, became the first station in north central Wisconsin to broadcast its local newscasts in HD.

“It’s the same thing that all of the big guys have,” WSAW chief engineer Chad Myers said about the station’s switch to HD technology. “[Now] we have it right here in central Wisconsin.”

WSAW serves the Wausau-Rhinelander market, which is #135.

Gray Television has made an aggressive push over the past couple of years to convert its stations, many of which are based in smaller markets, to HD. In 2009, Gray stations in Omaha and Lincoln became the first stations in Nebraska to broadcast in HD and their transition has served as a model for the company’s other stations to lead their respective markets in HD adoption, including Augusta’s WRDW which made the switch in January.