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Archives: February 2011

Anchor Lara Moritz Takes Indefinite Leave from Kansas City’s Top-Rated Newscasts

Lara Mortiz, the co-anchor of KMBC‘s top-rated 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts, is on indefinite personal leave from the ABC-affiliate.

Moritz asked station management for the break on Monday, according to The Kansas City Star.  She will be replaced at the anchor desk by Kelly Eckerman, who has been anchoring the station’s weekend evening newscasts.

Moritz is an Emmy award-winning journalist who last year celebrated her 10-year anniversary anchoring the 10 p.m. newscast alongside Larry Moore.

“We’ll be fine with Kelly and Larry,” C. Wayne Godsey, WMBC’s general manager, told The Star, “and we hope it will be a matter of a few weeks at most.” Read more

Latest Addition to WNYW’s 10 p.m. Newscast: Joann from Bensonhurst

“Wow, she’s back,” anchor Dari Alexander marveled on Wednesday night before WNYW aired the second installment of its new “City Rant” segment starring Joann, an opinionated housewife from the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn (video above).

While the first segment found Joann complaining about a wide-ranging list of topics, from her freeloading sons to the strange things that her neighbors hang on their clothesline, the second segment is focused on Joann’s rising water bill.

Joann’s strong opinions and penchant for profanity may draw comparisons to Bravo’s “Real Housewives” but she wants viewers to know that she’s the real thing. All real.

“If you took all my clothes off, everything underneath is real. Unlike those ‘Real Housewives,’” Joann offered during the first spot. While Joann is entertaining in the way that the “Real Housewives” are entertaining, many wonder if it’s an appropriate addition to a newscast. Read more

Mylous Hairston Abruptly Exits WIVB Amid Labor Negotiations and Continued Cost-Cutting

Just six months after celebrating his 20th anniversary with WIVB, reporter-anchor Mylous Hairston abruptly resigned on Thursday.

The timing and circumstances surrounding Hairston’s departure from the Buffalo CBS-affiliate suggest a deep-seated rift with the station’s owner, LIN TV.

Hairston is the president of the local chapter of AFTRA and was the chief negotiator in recent labor discussions with LIN.  According to Buffalo media reporter Alan Pergament, Hairston left after two long days of AFTRA negotiations with the station.  Last summer, LIN imposed a new mandate requiring reporters to learn how to shoot their own video.

WIVB general manager Chris Musial sent a terse email to staff announcing Hairston’s departure. “I appreciate his contributions over the years and wish him well and success in the future,” Musial wrote. Read more

Bouncing from Sports Desk to Anchor Desk, WKRC’s Brad Johansen is a ‘Brad-Of-All-Trades’

Brad Johansen‘s schedule is jammed pack and that’s exactly the way he likes it.

In addition to serving as sports director for Cincinnati’s WKRC, Johansen does radio play-by-play for the Bengals, covers college basketball for Fox and CBS, and has even been working as a fill-in anchor for WKRC’s sister station CinCW.

“I like doing different things. It’s nice to be challenged,” Johansen told the Cincinnati Enquirer recently.

The Enquirer‘s media reporter John Kiesewetter has nicknamed Johansen “Brad-of-all-trades.” Still, Johansen sees plenty of room for improvement even after being in the business for 28 years.

“I think I can get better. I’ve got a long way to go before I get really good,” he said.

On the Move, 2/25/11

Denae D’Arcy was promoted from weekend morning anchor to weekend evening solo anchor at Knoxville’s WATE. D’Arcy will anchor the 6, 10, and 11 newscasts with meteorologist Megan Campbell and sports anchor Mark Nagi.

Rick Montanez joins KFSN-TV, the ABC O&O in Fresno, CA as a general assignment reporter. Rick previously worked as a nightside reporter at KKTV in Colorado Springs, CO.

Boston Fox-Affiliate WFXT Expanding Newscast to Compete with Network News

Boston’s WFXT announced this week that it will expand its 6:00 p.m. newscast to one hour, putting the Fox-affiliate in direct competition with the network newscasts of its local rivals.

“While other local stations switch over to national news, FOX25 News will be the only news station on with local news from 6:30–7 p.m.,” the station said, in making the announcement.

The move also means that WFXT will offer the most local news of any station in the Boston market with 42.5 hours per week.

The extra half hour will feature the same team as the existing 6:00 p.m. newscast: anchors Maria Stephanos and Mark Ockerbloom (above, right) with chief meteorologist Kevin Lemanowicz. Read more

Orlando Stations Go Live for Discovery Launch

Orlando stations honored the final mission of legendary space shuttle Discovery on Thursday afternoon, providing with live coverage from nearby Kennedy Space Center. NBC-affiliate WESH was well-positioned for the launch, originally scheduled for 4:50 p.m., since it fell within the station’s hour-long 4 p.m. newscast. WFTV, WKMG, and WOFL all preempted regularly scheduled programming to bring viewers coverage of the launch.

Anchor Jim Payne joined veteran space reporter Dan Billow at the Kennedy Space Center for WESH’s 4 p.m. newscast.

ABC-affiliate WFTV cut from “Oprah” around 4:35 with Kevin Oliver reporting live from KSC and Melanie Holt stationed in Cape Canaveral, where she spoke with excited spectators.

CBS-affiliate WKMG began its live coverage at 4:30 with Lauren Rowe anchoring a special news report from KSC.

Fox-affiliate WOFL had Sonni Abatta and Bob Frier anchor its special report from the studio beginning at 4:30, relying on reporter Steve Gehlbach, as well as NASA’s radio feed, for live updates from KSC.

Dumping Veteran Team, Wichita’s KSN Rethinks Its 10 p.m. Newscast

Sagging ratings have provoked Wichita’s KSN to retool its 10 p.m. newscast.

The New Vision-owned station has informed its longtime 10 p.m. team that they will no longer be appearing in the time slot, according to Carrie Rengers of The Wichita Eagle.

Anchors Stephanie Bergmann and John Snyder, as well as chief meteorologist Dave Freeman and sports anchor Jim Kobbe, will soon be moved off of the 10 p.m. newscast. The crew will still appear at 6 p.m., which is the station’s highest rated newscast.

KSN news director Jason Kravarik wants to make clear, though, that the station isn’t getting rid of the 10 p.m. newscast altogether. Kravarik told Rengers that, although the NBC-affiliate has a “solid team,” they’ve suffered from “a bad lead-in from NBC.”

WFIE Set to Become First Evansville Station to Broadcast News in HD

NBC-affiliate WFIE is reportedly set to become the first station in the Evansville market to broadcast its newscasts in HD.

“The debut date is not yet official, but we will immediately begin the process of transitioning, which will include a new HD news set and a new control room,” WFIE’s news director, C.J. Hoyt, told the Evansville Courier & Press. “We had previously begun the process when we upgraded to our new HD-ready weather graphics and HD-ready news graphics last October.”

WFIE’s transition represents a second wave of HD adoption by local stations  in smaller markets. Evansville is market #102, serving the area of Southwestern Indiana, Southeastern Illinois, and Northwestern Kentucky.

In the last month, Amarillo’s KFDA (#131) announced that it would become the first station in West Texas to broadcast local news in HD and WNEP in Scranton-Wilkes Barre (#54) unveiled a new studio in preparation for its HD launch.

KFOR’s ‘Chainsaw Bandit’ Story Going Viral

Residents of Chickasha, OK are now calling him the Chainsaw Bandit.  An over-confident young man entered a local hardware store this week and tried to steal a chainsaw by concealing it in his shorts.

“I felt sorry for him, I thought the gentleman was crippled,” one employee told Oklahoma City’s KFOR, recounting what the man looked like walking through the store with a chainsaw stuffed in his shorts.

The shoplifter was eventually chased down and cornered in a nearby creek.  KFOR’s story is now getting lots of attention online.  So far it’s been picked up by AOL News and, and become a favorite on Facebook.