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Archives: April 2011

Onetime Anchor James Keith Returns to KABB as Assistant News Director

James Keith, who left the KABB anchor desk following last year’s May sweeps, is back with the San Antonio Fox-affiliate as assistant news director.

Keith regularly co-anchored KABB’s 9 p.m. newscast but decided to leave for a job with more conventional hours, accepting a PR position with a local school district. After the sudden death of KABB news director Greg Koelfgen earlier this year, though, Keith began to reassess his career path, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

“Being able to go back as a news manager is a dream come true,” Keith told the Express-News‘ Jeanne Jakle. “I’m excited about being back in a newsroom and being in a position where I can help guide reporters.”

Keith is assuming the post vacated by Keith McMahan, who succeeded Koelfgen as news director.

Although he may be asked to fill in at the anchor desk on occasion, Keith said that he’s looking forward to life behind the camera. “Honestly,” he said, “it’s been nice being able to grow facial hair when I want!”

As Lone Sports Anchor Departs, Dallas’s KDAF Lines Up MMJs to Cover Sports

Veteran sports anchor-reporter Dave Crome (right) is leaving Dallas’s KDAF this week after 10+ years with the Tribune-owned station.

As Dallas media blogger Ed Bark points out, Crome’s departure leaves KDAF without any current sports staffers, as Crome’s onetime colleagues Desmond Purnell and Candice Crawford left the station earlier this year.

KDAF’s empty sports department has led some to speculate that the CW-affiliate will take a page from the playbook of WPIX, Tribune’s New York station, and cut the department altogether.  News director David Duitch assures TVSpy that is not the case.

In a phone conversation yesterday, Duitch said that he has lined up two MMJs with Texas roots to cover sports for KDAF. Duitch expects the MMJs to start after the May book. Read more

Meredith Announces Strong Local Media Growth

Meredith Corporation reported its fiscal 2011 third quarter earnings today, announcing that its Local Media Group saw a 5% gain in non-political advertising revenues on top of a 16% gain compared to the same period a year ago.

Meredith chairman and CEO Stephen Lacy said that the local media division, which includes 12 stations across the country, posted “solid growth” in the quarter.

Looking forward to the next quarter, Lacy pointed out that on March 28th, Meredith’s Atlanta CBS-affiliate (WGCL) began managing the day-to-day operations of Turner Broadcasting’s Peachtree TV (WPCH).  “This strategic partnership with Turner provides Meredith with access to a larger share of the growing Atlanta advertising marketplace because of Peachtree’s younger viewership; a strong lineup of sports programming; and increased inventory in both access and prime-time dayparts,” Lacy said.  “Additionally, it raises our overall profile in Atlanta, the No. 8 television market in the country.”

With Boost From Online Advertising and Retrans Fees, LIN Reports 1% First Quarter Increase

LIN TV, which manages 32 stations in 17 markets across the country, announced today that its net revenue for the first quarter was $92.6 million, up 1% from the same period last year.

“We delivered another strong performance in the first quarter, in spite of significant uncertainty that continues to weigh on the economy,” said LIN president and CEO Vincent Sadusky, in announcing the financial results.

Sadusky pointed to increased digital revenues, including internet advertising and retrans fees, as the major reason for why the company was able to see a slight boost during the first quarter while lacking the political advertising that it saw in early 2010.

LIN, which aggressively negotiated new retrans deals with DISH and Cox Communications last month, saw digital revenues increase 31% compared to the first quarter of last year.

On the Move, 4/27/11

Morgan Palmer jumps 52 markets to join KIRO, the Cox station in Seattle, as weekend meteorologist. Palmer began his meteorology career in Texas, before moving to Central Florida and now to the Pacific Northwest.

Terrance Bates has been promoted from weekend anchor to morning news anchor for “Fox News Rising” at WCCB in Charlotte. Terrance came to WCCB from WPTY in Memphis, a 25-market jump.

Political reporter Patrick Preston is joining KATU as a senior reporter. For the past three years, the Emmy Award-winner has been covering politics for WCMH in Columbus.

Emily Sinovic heads to Portland to join KATU as a general assignment reporter. She moves from Kansas City where she most recently was a freelance reporter for WDAF and KCTV. Read more

Following Other ABC-Affiliates, WSB Prepares to Launch Newscast in ‘Oprah’ Timeslot

Atlanta’s WSB announced today that it will launch a one-hour 4 p.m. newscast to replace Oprah, who leaves for cable at the end of May. WSB follows Chicago’s WLS and New York’s WABC in filling Oprah‘s longtime timeslot with local news.

“We felt that this was the right time to start the additional newscast,” said Bill Hoffman, WSB’s vice president and general manager, adding that the new 4 p.m. newscast would give the station “another hour of opportunity to serve viewers with local news when they want it.”

The new newscast will be anchored by Monica Pearson and John Bachman (above, right), with Glenn Burns, WSB’s chief meteorologist, forecasting the weather.

Pearson has been with the station for over 30 years and currently anchors WSB’s 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts. Bachman, who has been with WSB since 2007, currently works as a weekend anchor in addition to reporting throughout the week. Read more

President Hosts New Round of Local Interviews

President Obama is again sitting down with local stations for one-on-one interviews, as big-name reporters from Atlanta’s WSB, Cleveland’s WKYC, Detroit’s WXYZ, and WTKR in Hamptons Roads, VA are meeting with the President today to discuss issues affecting their local communities.

The White House says that the president will focus on his plan for deficit reform while also discussing topics significant to the stations’ local viewers.

It remains to be seen if WSB’s Justin Farmer, WKYC’s Romona Robinson, WXYZ’s Stephen Clark, or WTKR’s Barbara Ciara (video above) can spark the same type of buzz that WFAA’s Brad Watson did earlier this month when the president pointedly told him, “Let me finish my answers the next time we do an interview, all right?” Read more

WEEK-WHOI Staffers Reject ‘Final’ Labor Offer

AFTRA’s local Peoria chapter has resoundingly rejected Granite Broadcasting‘s “last, best, and final” labor offer to employees of WEEK-WHOI.

Since February, staffers at the Central Illinois NBC-ABC-CW outpost have been working without a formal labor deal and, according to the Peoria Journal Star, AFTRA representatives voted 27 to 1 on Friday to reject the so-called “final” proposal submitted by Granite at the end of March.

While anchors, reporters, photojournalists, producers, and other WEEK-WHOI staffers continued to work without a deal in place, the union authorized anchor Garry Moore, the local union president, to call a strike.

Moore, who has not been immediately available for comment today, told the Star yesterday that some type of job action was possible. AFTRA plans to hold a public rally at the WEEK-WHOI studios on Wednesday to emphasize the impact local news has in the community.

Rival Station Takes Out Newspaper Ad to Honor Dismissed WOOD Anchor Suzanne Geha

A Grand Rapids station is honoring veteran anchor Suzanne Geha for her 30+ years on local TV, although its not the station that Geha once worked for.

Earlier this month, Geha was unceremoniously let go by NBC-affiliate WOOD and now crosstown rival WZZM, an ABC-affiliate, is celebrating Geha’s career with kind words and an ad in last Sunday’s Grand Rapids Press.

“Thank You, Suzanne, for over 30 years…” reads the ad (right), “You’ve made us all better!”

“I think she’s made WZZM 13 better, because competition always makes a business better, and she’s been an aggressive competitor over the years,” WZZM general manager Janet Mason told the Press on Monday. Read more

Let Go as News Director in Roanoke, Amy Morris Lands Job with New York’s WABC

Amy Morris, who was dismissed as news director of Roanoke’s WDBJ in March, has landed at New York’s WABC, where she’ll work as an executive producer.

“This is exciting for me and quite an honor,” Morris told The Roanoke Times recently. “But I will miss everybody in Roanoke. I’ll look back fondly on what we did here. We did some great journalism.”

A Roanoke native, Morris became WDBJ’s news director in 2007, following stops as an executive producer in Minneapolis and Chicago. She was let go at the end of March following a relatively weak sweeps showing.

Although Morris, who is set to begin at WABC in early May, leaves Roanoke feeling that there’s still some unfinished business there, she is looking forward to the new opportunity.

“I feel I wasn’t done yet,” Morris says of leaving WDBJ, adding, though, that there’s the potential to do big things at WABC.

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