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Wichita-Hutchinson

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

‘I Think It’s Our Time to Go’: KSNW Forced to Evacuate During Tornado

KSNW, the Wichita NBC affiliate, was forced to evacuate yesterday afternoon when one of the tornadoes that hit the Midwest yesterday headed straight for its studios.

Meteorologist J.D. Rudd was on-air updating viewers on the path of a twister approaching downtown Wichita when chief meteorologist Dave Freeman cut in,  “You know J.D. in twenty years I’ve never said this but I think it’s our time to go.” said the off-screen Freeman who repeated they had to get to the shelter several times before forcefully saying, “Everybody down below. Let’s go!”

Rudd exited the screen as Freeman assured viewers they’d leave the radar up for viewers to monitor the tornadoes path.  The two told viewers they were hanging out near the stairs to the basement while continuing to broadcast. Freeman appeared back on screen ten minutes after the initial scramble for the shelter.

[reddit.com]

Mark Bogner Leaving KSN After 23 Years

After 23 years at KSN, meteorologist Mark Bogner has announced his exit from the Wichita NBC affiliate.

“Mark’s dedication that day and his willingness to go the extra mile for the folks who were at home counting on us is something that I will just always remember,” chief meteorologist Dave Freeman said (video above).

According to KSN, Bogner will become a hearing aid specialist in Wichita.

After Just Four Months As News Director, John Soares Leaving KWCH

Just four months after joining KWCH, news director John Soares is leaving the Wichita CBS affiliate.

“I met with my newsroom staff on Monday to let them know that I am remaining with the station through Friday to facilitate the transition to an interim news director,” Soares told TVSpy in an email.

Tipsters tell TVSpy the interim news director is Tom Lindner, a former news director at KARE in Minneapolis.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Soares told TVSpy he is not headed to Oklahoma City to replace Mary Ann Eckstein at KFOR.

“There is no truth whatsoever to the rumor of me heading to KFOR in Oklahoma City,” he said.

Michael Sipes Joins KAKE as News Director

Michael Sipes has joined Wichita ABC affiliate KAKE as news director.

Sipes comes to KAKE from KRDO in Colorado Springs.  He replaces Dave Grant who stepped aside as news director in December.

A KAKE spokesperson confirmed Grant, who was named news director in 2006, will remain at the station overseeing day-to-day news operations.

Sipes had been the news director at KMBC in Kansas City before joining KRDO as news director in 2007.

[Wichita Business Journal]

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