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It’s Trading Day! Five Station Groups Buy and Sell Ten Stations

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Five station groups have undertaken a station swap similar to what happens at the trading deadline in professional sports. This time, though, the moves affect hundreds of people.

Media General and LIN Media, looking to comply with Federal regulations over ownership rules have initiated a TV station swap involving Sinclair Broadcast, Meredith and Hearst Corporation.

Here’s the breakdown:

Sinclair will buy from Media General: Providence NBC affiliate WJAR

Sinclair will buy from LIN Media: Green Bay FOX affiliate WLUK, Green Bay CW affiliate WCWF and certain assets of Savannah, GA, FOX affiliate WTGS and the rights to acquire the principal assets of WTGS, which is operated by LIN but owned by WTGS Television, LLC.

Media General will buy from Sinclair: Tampa, FL, MyTV affiliate WTTA, creating a duopoly since they already own NBC affiliate WFLA, and Colorado Springs stations KXRM (FOX) and KXTU (CW).

Media General will sell to Hearst: Birmingham, AL NBC affiliate WVTM.

LIN Media will sell to Hearst: Savannah, GA ABC affiliate WJCL.

Meredith will buy from LIN Media: Mobile-Pensacola FOX affiliate WALA. Read more

Earthquake Rattles Studio, Anchors Dance in Celebration

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 9.00.06 AM

An earthquake rattled central Oklahoma Tuesday morning, shaking the studio at KAUT, an independent station in Oklahoma City. Emily Sutton and Lacey Lett were on the air and reacted with delight–and dancing.

US Geological Survey measured the quake at 4.2. There were reports of minor damage across the state, but the lasting legacy may be this priceless piece of video:

Former WSB Chopper Pilot Dies in Crash

matt wallaceMatt Wallace, a former chopper pilot for Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB, died in a helicopter crash in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Tuesday.

Wallace — who worked for WSB from 1997 to 2003 — was flying a helicopter contracted by Alabama Power. A passenger also died in the crash, according to the station:

Authorities say Wallace and his passenger, identified as 63-year-old David Carson, were conducting an aerial inspection of a transmission line when the crash occurred.

News Chopper 2′s Jason Durden says he’s heartbroken by the loss of Wallace, remembered as an “excellent pilot and an even better man.” Carson, Wallace’s passenger, was a senior line specialist at Alabama Power and had 44 years of service at the company, officials said.

After Arrest, Brendan Higgins Out at KTVT

HigginsThe Dallas Morning News reports KTVT anchor Brendan Higgins has left the CBS O&O in Dallas:

Lori Conrad, spokesperson for CBS11, tells Dallas media blogger Ed Bark that “Brendan Higgins is no longer with the station.”

Higgins was arrested after an incident in Aspen, Colorado, that involved a fistfight and allegations the news anchor threatened police officers. In his first public comments, Higgins posted a message to Facebook:

If my email inbox is any indication, many of you are wondering about a recent incident in Aspen, Colo., that resulted in my arrest. Sorry it took so long to issue a post as I’ve been dealing with the related matters. First, I need to apologize for the negative attention this incident has brought to my wife and our family, our friends and the many wonderful people I’ve worked with over the years. I’m also sorry to the authorities in Aspen, who do a great job every day. I simply put myself and others in a bad situation, which will not happen again. My plan is to answer the legal charges against me. Thanks to all of you who have sent your support.

WNBC Remembers Former Announcer and Voice of SNL, Don Pardo


Don Pardo, who many know today as the iconic voice of Saturday Night Live, died Monday in Arizona at the age of 96.

Pardo had worked for NBC since 1944. At New York NBC owned station WNBC, he was the announcer for Live at Five in the 1980s.

According to NBC, many of those featured on SNL said they didn’t feel like they’d made it until Pardo announced their name.

Read more

Ed Rabel Is News Again, On WCHS

rabel wchs_croppedFormer NBC News and CBS News correspondent Ed Rabel, is news once again in Charleston, WV, at least on one local TV station.

Rabel, who is running for Congress, had complained that managers at WCHS, the ABC affiliate in Charleston, told staffers not to cover Rabel’s campaign. That may have been payback for this 2013 op-ed Rabel penned in the Charleston Gazette in which he called local newscasts “a colossal waste of time.”

Well now the MorganCountyUSA website reports WCHS mentioned Rabel’s candidacy on Monday’s 5:30 newscast:

On the segment, WCHS TV newsman Kennie Bass reported on the campaign ads being run by the candidates in the second Congressional district race — Nick Casey (D), Alex Mooney (R) and Ed Rabel (I).

Late last week, WCHS news director Matt Snyder went on defense saying Rabel wasn’t being snubbed.

Scripps’ Acquisition of WTMJ Presents Challenge to Milwaukee Newspaper

TMJThe pending acquisition of Milwaukee NBC affiliate WTMJ presents a challenge to the newspaper that gave the station its call letters, The Milwaukee Journal, now the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

As the Milwaukee Business Journal reports, Scripps has made digital a high priority, and that means targeting the Journal‘s lucrative online property, JSOnline:

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s JSOnline attracts the most visitors of the local-news websites in town, but JSOnline may get a major new competitor in Milwaukee as a result of WTMJ-TV’s pending move to E.W. Scripps Co., which is starting to build digital news sites for its television stations.

“We can’t just watch newspapers build a revenue stream,” Scripps CEO Rich Boehne told the Business Journal. “We are eager to roll out and leverage our digital products and investments across the attractive Journal markets.”

Former Miss Colorado Named AM Anchor at KOAA

cockrell koaaColorado Springs NBC affiliate KOAA has named Shellene Cockrell morning anchor.

The Gazette reports, Cockrell, who was Miss Colorado in 1994, will join Adam Atchison, Stephen Bowers and Joanna Wise on the morning anchor desk after Labor Day.

“Shellene’s diverse background includes news anchoring and reporting, college basketball play-by-play (both men’s and women’s), and leadership and media coaching,” KOAA news director Kelly Duffy told The Gazette. “She’s a multifaceted journalist with three Emmys under her belt.”

According to her LinkedIn page, Cockrell has been freelancing as a host and anchor since 2005. She has also worked at KWGN and news radio station KOA in Denver.

Sinclair Names New GMs in Washington, DC and Columbus Markets

sinclair_304Sinclair Broadcast Group has named Dan Mellon GM of its Washington, D.C. ABC affiliate WJLA and local cable news network NewsChannel 8.

The station group also named Tony D’Angelo GM of Columbus, OH, ABC affiliate WSYX.

“I am excited to announce the promotions of Dan and Tony,” Steve Marks, Sinclair’s co-chief operating officer said in a statement. “They have been loyal employees of the Company with a history of success in leading our stations, especially in Columbus, one of our largest and most important markets.”

Since 2006, Mellon has been group manager of Sinclair’s stations. He was GM of WSYX from 2005 until 2006 and was also responsible for oversight into WTTE. D’Angelo had been director of sales at WSYX, WTTE and WWHO in Columbus since 2003.

Mark Effron Leaving WPIX

mark_effron.03WPIX news director Mark Effron announced to staff today that he is leaving the Tribune-owned New York CW affiliate. He will stay through October.

Effron wrote to staffers in a memo that, when he was hired, he told Tribune Broadcasting president Larry Wert, that he only wanted to be news director for two years. (Read Effron’s memo after the jump.)

Effron told TVSpy the timing has been fortuitous. He said the station’s turnaround came more quickly than he expected and he hopes the positive momentum continues for the next news director.

When asked about future plans, Effron mentioned his approaching 65th birthday and said he’s confident he will continue to work in the business. “It’s been a terrific career. I’ve been very blessed both personally and professionally and I’m very excited about what happens next.”

Wert hired Effron in April 2013. Rich Graziano was hired as GM of WPIX later that year. Read more

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