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Posts Tagged ‘Les Vann’

WISH Picks Up CW Affiliation

cw-logoIndianapolis soon-to-be-ex CBS affiliate WISH has picked up a new affiliation–the station will air CW programming beginning next month. CBS announced in August it would move its affiliation from WISH to WTTV. At first, it was expected WTTV would transition CW programming to a digital channel. Instead, WISH will fill a large chunk of its lineup with “The Flash,” “The Vampire Diaries,” and “Jane the Virgin.”

“We welcome the CW network to our new prime time,” said WISH president and general manager Les Vann. “This original and dynamic line-up of programming will drive new audiences to WISH-TV and our newscasts, and deliver key demographics to our advertisers.”

Remaining hours of WISH’s broadcast day will include an extended lineup of news programming.

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About to Lose CBS, WISH Plans to Be ‘No. 1 Independent Television Station in the Country’

WISH_logoIn Indianapolis, for nearly sixty years, if you wanted CBS, you headed to WISH, Channel 8. That marriage ends December 31, after CBS decided to pull its programming and bring it to Tribune-owned WTTV. WISH general manager Les Vann, with plenty of hours to fill, tells the Indianapolis Star the first priority is to expand news programming–by four hours each weekday. “We want to ultimately be the No. 1 independent television station in the country,” Vann said. “With our rich heritage, we can build to that point. We’re not starting from scratch here. This has been a very good television station for six decades.”

The breakup comes amid a huge power shift in the relationships between stations and networks. “Networks decided that what they offer is the distinguishing product, other than local news, that attracts an audience,” Phil Bremen, associate professor of telecommunications at Ball State University, told the Star. “Les Moonves knew he was playing a winning hand. He knew he could extract maximum pound of flesh from the affiliates. Their affiliation was of enormous value.”

WISH Announces Local News Expansion

WISHCBS recently announced that it would move its affiliation in Indianapolis from WISH to WTTV. We reported that the switch resulted in a huge loss (as much as $100 million) for WISH’s parent company, LIN Media.

Now, it appears that WISH is making a major investment into local news programming, adding four more hours of news each weekday beginning in January 2015.

“Daybreak” will expand by two hours, airing from 4:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. News 8 at Noon will expand by 30 minutes to 1:00 p.m. The early newscast will be expanded by 30 minutes to 7:00 p.m., while the late newscast will expand one additional hour, from 10:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

“The investments we are making further enhance WISH-TV’s 60-year commitment to localism and local news,” WISH general manager Les Vann said in a statement. “The additional 20 hours of news per week will allow us to deliver more breaking news, investigative journalism, sports and weather coverage, across all screens, and in new time periods for our viewers.”

Vann also announced that the station will debut a new entertainment program-line up in the coming months.

LIN Fills GM Roles in Indianapolis and Savannah

linmedia_304x200LIN Media has named Les Vann president and GM of CBS affiliate WISH and MyTV affiliate WNDY in Indianapolis. The station group also named Steve Doerr acting GM of WJCL in Savannah.

Doerr replaces Vann, who was the president and GM of the Savannah, GA, LIN owned ABC affiliate.

“Les has done a terrific job in Savannah, rebuilding and launching a new brand, transforming its news department and strengthening the station’s commitment to localism,”Jay Howell, LIN Media’s VP of Television said in a statement. “He brings a unique skill set to WISH-­‐TV and WNDY-­‐TV that will be very important to these stations’ growth and development.”

CBS recently announced it is switching its CBS affiliation from LIN Media’s WISH to Tribune’s WTTV, starting January 2015.

Before working for LIN, Vann had been GM of WKRC in Cincinnati and had managed stations in Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina, South Carolina and New York. Doerr comes to LIN after working as VP and group manager, Northeast Region for Smith Media.

WJCL Adds News at 5:00 and 5:30 PM

WJCL_LES ON SETSavannah ABC affiliate WJCL is expanding its evening news with a 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. newscast.

“After relaunching and rebranding ourselves last fall, we thought that this spring was a critical moment to expand our commitment to this community and provide our viewers another option for local news,” WJCL-WTGS president and GM Les Vann said in a statement.

The new show will be anchored by Kevin HolmesJenifer Andrews, chief meteorologist Jeff Kirk and sports anchor Frank Sulkowski.

This is the fourth news expansion for WJCL-WTGS this year. The station has already expanded its weekday morning show, added both a 6:00 p.m. news and a morning show on FOX affiliate WTGS during the weekend.

Savannah Viewers Witness Most Amazing Local Super Bowl Spot Ever


If Chuck Norris were a local Super Bowl commercial, he would be the one viewers of Savannah, GA, FOX affiliate WTGS got to see at around 8:00 p.m. last night.

The two-minute spot is for area lawyer Jamie Casino who packed the time with revenge, rock and roll, a rose smashed by a shoe, flames and a chrome sledge hammer.

If the subject matter weren’t so personal to Casino, TVSpy would say it took local spots to 11. We’ve asked WJCL-WTGS GM Les Vann what the good viewers of Savannah thought about it. We’ll update when we hear back.

[Deadspin]

Kevin Holmes Leaving WRAL for Anchor Job in Savannah

WRAL has announced reporter Kevin Holmes is leaving the Raleigh-Durham CBS affiliate to become an anchor for ABC and FOX affiliate WJCL-WTGS in Savannah, GA.

“It’s been a pleasure to watch Kevin grow as a journalist here,” said WRAL news director Rick Gall in a statement. “Moving to the anchor desk is a big step for Kevin, and we wish him great success as his career unfolds.”

WJCL-WTGS GM Les Vann confirmed the move with TVSpy and said Holmes starts at his station next month.

Holmes’ last day at WRAL is Sunday. He came to the station in 2010 from WPTY (now WATN) in Memphis, TN. He’s also worked at WJRT in Flint, MI.

Les Vann Named GM at WJCL-WTGS

LIN Media has named Les Vann president and general manager of WJCL and WTGS, the ABC and Fox affiliates in Savannah, Ga.

Vann moves to Savannah from Cincinnati, where he has been vice president and general manager of WKRC for five years. He is also a former general manager of WTVH in Syracuse, N.Y., WLOS in Asheville, N.C., and WICD in Champaign, Ill.

“It is an honor to join one of the most successful and forward-thinking media companies in the country, which has a strong reputation of investing in its products, people and communities,” Van said in a statement.

Vann replaces Scott McBride as the stations’ president and general manager.

Jon Lawhead Named General Manager at WKRC

Jon Lawhead has been named general manager at WKRC, Sinclair’s CBS affiliate in Cincinnati, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Since 2004, Lawhead has been general manager of WSTR, Sinclair’s CW affiliate in Cincinnati. He will continue in this role as he leads WKRC, which Sinclair took over Monday. The two stations are expected to merge operations.

“I’m excited to join a terrific group of professionals at Local 12 and look forward to continuing their legacy of excellence. The resources and expertise that Sinclair brings to the table will only strengthen the station’s dominant position in the market,” Lawhead said in a statement.

WKRC’S previous general manager, Les Vann, resigned Friday before the ownership change.

Sinclair, Newport Television Close Seven-Station Deal

Sinclair Broadcasting officially takes the reins today at six stations it acquired from Newport Television: WKRC in Cincinnati, WOAI in San Antonio, WHP in Harrisburg-Lancaster, WPMI and WJTC in Mobile and KSAS in Wichita.

Sinclair has already made management changes at at least two of its newly-acquired stations, WKRC in Cincinnati and WOAI in San Antonio. Broadcasting & Cable reports that WOAI general manager Jackie Rutledge worked her last day at the station on Friday, the same day Les Vann announced his WKRC exit.

Sinclair has also announced the acquisition of WHAM, the ABC affiliate in Rochester, from Newport Television for $54 million, bringing the total amount paid at closing to $459.7 million.

B&C reports John Seabers will be the new general manager at WOAI. Seabers is a former general manager of KABB-KMYS, Sinclair’s San Antonio duopoly. In January, he was promoted to group manager at the company.

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