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Archives: May 2011

In Nashville, DA Launches Investigation Following WSMV Report on Court Official

“What the Channel 4 I-Team exposed raises questions that deserve answers,” reported WSMV‘s Jeremy Finley last week, paraphrasing the response of Davidson County District Attorney Torry Johnson to the NBC-affiliate’s investigation into whether a criminal court clerk had been working “part-time” in a full-time, elected position.

In a recent interview with Finley, Criminal Court Clerk David Torrence admitted to working only three days a week even though taxpayers pay him a full-time salary.

After WSMV aired the interview, the district attorney called a press conference announcing that his office is launching its own investigation into Torrence’s job performance that will “supplement what was done by Channel 4.” Read more

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May Sweeps Scoreboard: Indianapolis

While WTHR remained dominant across the board, the NBC-affiliate’s longtime supremacy was chipped away at in May, especially in the morning. Fox-affiliate WXIN saw a 26.4% household increase for the 6 a.m. hour, moving into second place in the category behind WTHR.

Here’s a roundup of household ratings for the market (note that WXIN’s new hour-long 5 p.m. newscast replaced last May’s “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” and WRTV added a 5:30 p.m. newscast since last year, when “Extra” aired in the time slot).

6 a.m. 5 p.m. 10 p.m. 11 p.m.
WTHR (NBC) 4.5
(- 8.6%)
(- O.3%)
N/A 8.0
WRTV (ABC) 1.9
(+ 1.2%)
N/A 4.4
(+ 31.9%)
WISH (CBS) 3.6
(- 21.9%)
(- 15.2%)
N/A 7.7
(+ 3.0%)
WXIN (FOX) 3.7
(+ 26.4%)
(+ 171.7%)
(+ 11.5%)

Chad Sokol leaves Toledo’s WTVG; Dave Holmes named Sports Director

Sports director Chad Sokol has left Toledo’s WTVG, the first talent change since the ABC affiliate was acquired by SJL Broadcasting from ABC last month.

Weekend morning co-anchor Dave Holmes takes over as sports director.

Sokol, whose last sportscast was Thursday night, had been with the station since 2009. Holmes has been with WTVG since 2007. Both are Ohio natives.

After the acquisition SJL cut about two dozen staffers. WTVG news director Brian Trauring tells the Toledo Blade of Sokol, “We wish him every success for the future and thank him for doing a good job.”

Susan Ramsett Named KOLN-KGIN News Director

Susan Ramsett has been named news director of Gray Television’s KOLN-KGIN in Lincoln.

Since 2007, Ramsett has served as news director and anchor for Gray’s WSAW in Wausau, WI. She joined the CBS-affiliate ten years ago as an anchor and producer.

Ramsett replaces Jerry Howard, who served as KOLN-KGIN’s news director for three years before departing earlier this year.

KOLN-KGIN is a joint CBS-affiliate, with KGIN operating as a satellite station for areas west of Lincoln-based KOLN.

“Being offered a promotion within Gray Television is an exciting professional challenge!” Ramsett said in a recent blog post on WSAW’s website. “But leaving this station and a community I love is bittersweet.” Read more

WVII Enlists Local Coaches as Sports Anchors

WVII, an ABC-affiliate in Bangor, ME, is giving local sports figures, such as the University of Maine men’s hockey coach Tim Whitehead, a shot in front of the camera. Over the summer, WVII plans to have a local athletic luminary anchor the station’s sports coverage once a week.

“Some of them mess up and some do a great job. But it’s all in fun,” WVII news director Cindy Michaels tells the Bangor Daily News.

The program is the brainchild of WVII sports director and sports anchor Brian Sullivan, who joined the station in 2009 and has been working to “build up a rapport” with influential members of the local sports community.

“It gave me a chance to hang out with them for an afternoon and build a rapport with them,” Sullivan said in an interview with the Daily News, recounting how he’s coached local coaches to be better on-camera.

So far, Whitehead and Husson University men’s basketball coach Warren Caruso have appeared during WVII’s 6 p.m. newscast.

KCBS/KCAL tech ops staffer James Kang found dead after leaving work

Friday afternoon, 42-year-old James Kang who worked in technical operations at KCBS/KCAL in Los Angeles left work complaining of a headache. He was found dead in his car in the station’s parking structure sometime later. Kang’s death was reported on both of the duopoly’s ate local newscasts Friday night.

All weekend, colleagues — current and former — have been sharing their memories of Kang on the CBS O&O website and other memorial sites, including this one written by a friend, Paul Skolnick.

He also became a social-media beacon for many newsies taking their first stab at new platforms. He often engaged KCBS anchor Pat Harvey on Twitter, helping to draw out and add an online dimension to one of the great personalities in TV news today. As Suraya Fadel, a KCBS/KCAL reporter, found her social-media voice and became one of the great Los Angeles reporters to use Twitter, James gave her the nickname #TwitterPrincess, which is now widespread.

Former KCBS/KCAL anchor Suzanna Rico writes about Kang on her blog:

James and I worked together on the KCBS morning show for several years, and each time I walked in the security doors in the pre-dawn hours, exhausted and sometimes grumpy, James would greet me as if I was the most special person in the world. James always remembered my birthday–although I never remembered his. But that didn’t matter. James was a giving, not a receiving, kind of guy.

May Sweeps Scoreboard: Pittsburgh

Spurred on by hometown hero Hines Ward’s performance on “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC-affiliate WTAE, which regularly promoted the show during its newscasts, saw significant ratings gains for the May sweeps period. That said, there was a lot of movement in the news rankings with, for instance, WPXI winning 5 p.m. while KDKA, last year’s #1 for the time period, finished in third.

Here’s a rundown…


6 a.m. 5 p.m. 6 p.m. 11 p.m.
WTAE (ABC) 5.7 7.6 7.9 8.4
WPXI (NBC) 5.1 5.9 6.3 5.7
KDKA (CBS) 4.2 7.6 7.3 9.5

Read more

Dennis Anderson Signs off from WDIO

Dennis Anderson, the famously mustachioed anchorman at WDIO in Duluth, who’s been in the business 50 years — yes 50 years! — retired this week. Anderson, who also once also worked in a funeral home and is a Catholic deacon, said farewell to Northern Minnesota viewers Wednesday night.

Surrounded by his family — his real one, not his TV one — Anderson said, “I have some fishing rods to wear out, and a lot of ball games and hockey games to attend.”

Other Shoe Drops in WSYR Sex Scandal as Reporter Jennifer Lewke Resigns

The other shoe has dropped in the newsroom sex scandal at Syracuse’s WSYR as reporter Jennifer Lewke resigned this week, following the departure two weeks ago of news director Jim Tortora, her alleged lover.

According to CNYRadio, WSYR general manager Theresa Underwood sent the following email to staff on Thursday:

Please be advised that I have accepted the resignation of Jennifer Lewke. We wish Jennifer the best of luck in the future.

The alleged affair between Tortora and Lewke was reportedly brought to light when Tortora’s daughter sent a message to WSYR staff from his email account announcing: “Jim Tortora and Jennifer Lewke are having an affair.”

Lewke had been with WSYR for nearly six years and served as the ABC-affiliate’s “consumer investigator.” Her resignation comes at the close of May sweeps.

May Sweeps Scoreboard: Dallas-Fort Worth

Here’s a rundown of how things looked when the dust settled in the Dallas-Fort Worth sweeps battle…

(Figures in parentheses represent audience gains or losses compared to the same period last year).

Total Viewers:

6 a.m. 5 p.m. 6 p.m. 10 p.m.
WFAA (ABC) 49,588
(+ 36,559)
(+ 17,360)
KTVT (CBS) 41,069
(+ 33,510)
(+ 11,629)
KDFW (Fox) 117,945
(+ 26,534)
(+ 34,220)
(+ 41,854)
(+ 35,350)
KXAS (NBC) 96,683
(- 8,980)
(+ 13,937)
(+ 1,605)
(+ 5,940)

Read more