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Wichita-Hutchinson

Wichita Station Hires News Director from Dallas

killianDenise Killian has been named news director for LIN Media’s Wichita NBC affiliate KSNW, according to Rick Gevers.

Killian comes to KSNW from Dallas CW affiliate KDAF where she was the assistant news director.

Before working at KDAF, she was the news director at KWQC in the Quad Cities. She worked in Dallas earlier in her career as well as working in Nashville, TN, Corpus Christi and Temple, TX.

Gevers reports Killian fills the role vacated by Jason Kravarik who left the station to be the assistant news director at KOIN in Portland, OR, in January 2012.

KSNW added a new general manager in August. LIN Media completed its purchase of KSNW from New Vision last October.

KAKE Shuffles Morning and Evening Anchors, Welcomes New Meteorologist

Viewers of Gray Television’s KAKE might be forgiven if it takes them a little time to remember the changes taking place at the Wichita ABC affiliate.

Anchor Mike Iuen and meteorologist Ben Pringle have been moved from the morning shift to weekend evenings. Iuen replaces Larry Hatteberg. Hatteberg, who moved to weekdays to replace Jeff Herndon who recently left for Chicago’s WFLD, told TVSpy starting this week he’ll anchor the 4:00, 5:00, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. newscasts.

The station also welcomed new meteorologist Frank Waugh, who returns to his home state of Kansas by way of Gray’s South Bend, IN, station WNDU. Waugh joins Jemelle Holopirek who remains on the mornings.

Iuen told TVSpy, KAKE Management’s response to our question about why he was being moved was this: “We are expanding newscasts and with the Sunday 10 pm show being the most watched show of the week, we need a strong team there, hence Mike and Ben.”

KAKE Adds Weekend, Afternoon Newscasts

Wichita ABC affiliate KAKE has added two new newscasts, one on Sunday mornings and one at 4 p.m. on weekdays, to its lineup.

The Sunday morning newscast, which debuted yesterday, is anchored by Annette Lawless with meteorologist Blake Smith. The 4 p.m. newscast, anchored by Larry Hatteberg and Deb Farris, will debut this afternoon.

“The addition of these two local programs further demonstrates our commitment to local news,” KAKE general manager Dan Wall said in a statement.

The station is currently searching for a replacement for Jeff Herndon, who signed off from the anchor desk last week. Herndon is headed to WFLD in Chicago, where he will co-anchor the evening newscasts.

KAKE Says Goodbye to Anchor Jeff Herndon


KAKE anchor Susan Peters said her goodbyes one day early to co-anchor Jeff Herndon who is leaving the Wichita ABC affiliate to replace Bob Sirott as co-anchor of evening news on Chicago’s FOX owned station WFLD.

Peters baked him a cake and rolled a blooper reel showing Herndon’s evolution at the station. “This newscast is Jeff and mine, I don’t know if I’m using correct English, newscast together,” said Peters. “And it’s really sad after ten years. I’m really sad.”

Herndon started at KAKE as a part-time sports photographer in 1997 but left in 2000 to be weekend sports anchor at KTKA in Topeka, KS. He returned to KAKE a year later to anchor weekend sports and was later named news anchor.

“I watch that and I wonder, ‘Why didn’t they fire me [unintelligible] years ago?” said Herndon after the video. He also promised viewers he would be back tonight for his final newscast.

Fired Reporter Sues KAKE For Defamation, Breach of Contract

Two months after he was fired from KAKE, Jared Cerullo has filed a defamation and breach of contract lawsuit against the Wichita ABC affiliate. According to the Wichita Business Journal, Cerullo is seeking more than $75,000 in damages in the suit, which names KAKE parent company Gray Television and news director Michael Sipes.

Cerullo parted ways with the station in June after reporting the defendant in a story he had been covering pleaded guilty to murder. In fact, the defendant pleaded not guilty and waived his right to a hearing, sending the case to trial. Cerullo, who also tweeted the false information, corrected himself later in the newscast, but was terminated a day later for “gross negligence,” according to the defamation suit.

In a statement to the Wichita Business Journal, Cerullo said: “What happened was truly unfortunate for both myself and the good people who work at KAKE. I believe the petition speaks for itself, and I am anxious for a Wichita jury to hear the facts of the case.”

Frank Waugh Says He’s Leaving WNDU for Wichita, Announces Replacement

Frank Waugh (right) has announced he will be transferring within the Gray Television station group from WNDU to Wichita ABC affiliate KAKE.

The meteorologist for the South Bend, IN, NBC affiliate told his viewers in a video on his facebook page, “The first piece of news is that my wife and I are expecting our first child in January. The second piece of news is we’re actually going to be leaving WNDU to get back a little bit closer to family.”

He then announced his replacement would be Mishawaka, IN, native David Harker (pictured left), who is also transferring within Gray. Currently he is the evening meteorologist for the Lansing, MI, FOX affiliate WSYM and NBC affiliate WILX. Gray owned WILX produces news for Journal Broadcasting’s WSYM.

Harker started his career at KAVU in Victoria, TX. Waugh, who is from Kansas, started his career at KSNW in Wichita and has also worked at KSNT in Topeka.

Erik Schrader Named General Manager of KSNW in Wichita

Erik Schrader has been named president and general manager of KSNW, LIN Media’s NBC affiliate in Wichita.

It is a move within LIN Media for Schrader, who has been news director of WTNH in Hartford-New Haven since 2011. Schrader’s last day at WTNH was last week.

“As News Director for one of our largest markets, Erik transformed the stations’ largest single department into a multi-faceted operation with award-winning, multiplatform content creators that work hand-in-hand with every department in a cohesive way,” LIN Media EVP of television Scott Blumenthal said in a statement. “He brings a skill set to one of our newly acquired television stations that will be very important to its growth and development.”

His appointment is effective immediately. Read the official announcement after the jump. Read more

Changes at WFLD: Bob Sirott Signing Off, Jeff Herndon Named Evening Co-Anchor

After three years at WFLD, Bob Sirott (left) will sign off from the Chicago Fox O&O next month.

Sirott’s future with the station has been the subject of speculation since he was announced as the co-host of a daily radio show on WGN. His last day anchoring the 9 p.m. newscast alongside Robin Robinson will be September 5.

“Bob is a talented journalist who has brought dedication and passion to the station every day. We want to thank him for his tremendous contributions; he will always be a member of the FOX 32 family,” WFLD vice president and general manager Dennis Welsh wrote to TVSpy.

Taking over for Sirott will be Jeff Herndon (right), who will begin October 1 as Robinson’s co-anchor on the evening newscast. Herndon comes to Chicago after 12 years in Wichita, where he is the evening co-anchor at ABC affiliate KAKE. He has also worked at KTKA in Topeka.

“Jeff is an outstanding communicator and journalist with a proven track record of excellence. He is a leader and sought after journalist and we are excited to welcome him to this role at FOX 32,” WFLD vice president and news director Tom Doerr said in a statement.

More in the official announcement from Fox after the jump. Read more

KAKE Reporter, Defended by Viewers on Facebook, Reveals Why He Lost His Job

Jared Cerullo, the KAKE reporter whose recent parting of ways with the Wichita ABC affiliate launched a firestorm of negative comments on the station’s facebook page, told his story this morning on Wichita radio station KQAM.

“My mistake was, I relied on an unreliable source,” Cerullo said on the “Joseph Ashby Show.” The conversation starts around the 16:33 mark on the link.

Viewers started speculating that Cerullo had been fired after he mistakenly said in a live report on the 11:00am news a Wichita murder suspect had changed his plea from “not guilty” to “guilty” during a preliminary hearing.

Cerullo admitted to Ashby he was in the bathroom when the defendant appeared. “When [I] came back up the preliminary hearing had already started and I did not catch what the first murder suspect had done,” said Cerullo. “So I reached over to someone in the gallery and I said, ‘Did he just plead guilty?’ And…I…it was…it’s not like it’s somebody I don’t know. I’m not going to out the person. I’m not going to do that, but I went with that information. He said, ‘Yes.’ I went with that information and ran with it without confirming it with the DA, without confirming it with the judge.” Read more

KAKE Viewers Say Reporter Was Fired, Express Their Anger on Station’s Facebook Page

Wichita ABC affiliate KAKE is facing a wave of viewer wrath after allegedly firing reporter Jared Cerullo.

One viewer commented, “Your ridiculous decision to fire Jared Cerullo, when he apologized right away & rectified his mistake, just lost you a loyal viewer. I’ve watched KAKE news for as long as I can remember. Shame on you.”

While General manager Dan Wall confirmed with TVSpy that Cerullo was no longer with the station, he would not comment on why Cerullo was no longer there. Viewers are saying he was fired because of a mistake he made while reporting a local murder case.

Tuesday, Cerullo was reporting live during the station’s 11:00am news. During the report, Cerullo said defendant Eric Jackson had switched his plea to “guilty” when in fact he had waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Read more

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