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Posts Tagged ‘WHTM’

Seeking FCC Approval For Allbritton Buy, Sinclair Agrees to Sell WHTM and WTAT

sinclair logoIn an effort to obtain FCC approval of the Allbritton acquisition, Sinclair Broadcast Group has agreed to sell two stations — WHTM in Harrisburg, Pa. and WTAT in Charleston, S.C — for a combined $97.4 million. The FCC previously said Sinclair would not be allowed to operate multiple stations in Harrisburg or Charleston.

WHTM, currently owned by Allbritton, will be sold to Media General. Sinclair will also sell the non-license assets of WTAT to Cunningham Communications, which currently holds the license assets. The station is operated by Sinclair through a local marketing agreement.

“The sales are part of Sinclair’s larger acquisition of the Allbritton Communications television stations in order to comply with regulatory rules in an effort to obtain approval of the Allbritton transaction by July 27, 2014,” Sinclair said in a statement. “Sinclair has no option on the stations and will not guarantee the debt of or provide sales services for these stations.  Sinclair anticipates it will be able to close on the Allbritton transaction in the third quarter of 2014, pending customary approvals and a waiver from the FCC.”

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Allbritton Says it Expects Sinclair Deal to be Approved After Recent Changes

sinclair_allbrittonThe recent news that Sinclair plans on surrendering the licenses to three ABC affiliates currently owned by Allbritton to comply with FCC regulations over joint sales agreements may have left some wondering if the deal with Allbritton was in jeopardy.

But Allbritton’s SVP of legal strategic affairs and general counsel Jerry Fritz told TVSpy by email the deal is still on and is expected to close by June or July.

Fritz told us, “All incidents of common ownership and control of stations in the three markets where Allbritton and Sinclair have stations will be eliminated.”

He said Sinclair plans to sell either ABC affiliate WHTM or CBS affiliate WHP in Harrisburg, PA, to an independent third party buyer and said Sinclair’s plan to give up the licenses to WCFT-WJSU in Birmingham and WCIV in Charleston will eliminate any all common control of those stations.

Fritz also tried to reassure the viewers and the employees of WCFT-WJSU and WCIV by saying, “[T]he public will not be deprived of the programming as that will be carried on Sinclair’s existing stations.” And echoed Sinclair’s assertion that it intends to air ABC network shows, syndicated programming and local programming on MyNetworkTV affiliates WABM in Birmingham and WMMP in Charleston. “It will be seamless to the viewers in those markets and the studios and personnel will remain the same,”

He ended by saying, “We fully expect the deal to be approved with these changes.”

WHP Employee Photobombs WHTM Reporter During Live Shot

It turns out there’s no such thing as an anonymous photobomb.

The internet has been abuzz with the video of WHTM reporter Dave Marcheskie doing a live shot from a state representative’s victory party while a man drank out of a flower vase behind him. The video was even featured on Jimmy Kimmel Wednesday night.

The vase drinker was identified as Frank Treese. Treese, it turns out, works in the IT department of CBS affiliate WHP.

“We have the deepest respect for our colleagues at CBS 21 as they do for us and we really want to stay focused on that respect and move on from this ‘photo bomb’,” WHTM news director Dave Jones told TVSpy. “We have an obligation to serve our audience and because of that we think it’s best to not discuss this matter beyond that and move forward, staying focused on our mission of service.”

WHP news director Mike Bothwell told the The Patriot-News he couldn’t talk about it and referred the paper to the GM.

WHTM Removes Posts Skewering Weather Critics, Apologizes On-Air

thackara_apologyWHTM, the Harrisburg ABC affiliate that recently ran a couple of segments skewering citizen meteorologists and social media weather critics has decided it wasn’t such a good idea after all.

This morning, meteorologist Brett Thackara apologized. He said some viewers told him he came off as arrogant and a bully by airing his “Social Mediarologists” segments where he made fun of viewers who criticized his forecasting. Thackara told viewers, “I just wanted to take this time to say ‘I apologize for those comments.’”

The segments were also pulled off the station’s facebook page. A WHTM spokesperson told TVSpy, “Our station exists to serve our viewers and our news team goes above and beyond the call of duty every day fulfilling that obligation. So when a handful of viewers took offense to a recent post, we decided to just “Let it Go.” Read more

Harrisburg Meteorologist Slams Social Media Weather Doubters

brett thackaraWHTM‘s Brett Thackara sounds like a man who has had enough of forecast doubters and do-it-yourself meteorologists on social media.

The meteorologist for the Harrisburg, PA, ABC affiliate introduced a new segment to his show called “Social Mediarologists.” There are two parts. The station took the facebook posts down since we originally posted this story.

One example? In part one, Thackara skewered a commenter named Jeremy who wrote, “Why do you people always have these predictions so low??” Thackara responded, “If by ‘you people’ you mean us meteorologists, it’s because we have degrees and went to school for four years and paid a lot of money to understand how the atmosphere works.”

Read more

Kristin Wright Joins WRC From WTVT

kristin wright wrcKristin Wright is joining WRC next month, TVSpy has learned. She will begin as a general assignment reporter at the NBC owned station in Washington, D.C. on December 16.

Wright joins WRC from WTVT, the Fox owned station in Tampa, where she has been a general assignment reporter and weekend anchor since 2008. She has previously worked at WHTM in Harrisburg, Penn. and at WIVT-WBGH in Binghamton, N.Y. She began her television career at WDIV in Detroit.

WHTM Promotes Executive Producer to Assistant News Director

whtm_logoWHTM has announced executive producer Laura Schmidt has been promoted to assistant news director.

Schmidt started at the Harrisburg, PA, ABC station as a weekend producer in 2005. She moved her way up to producing the station’s 7:00 p.m. news, then to assignment editor. She was producer of the 5:00 p.m. news before being named EP.

She started her career as a producer at WCTI in New Bern, NC.

Sinclair’s Buy of Allbritton’s Stations Gets Second Look from DOJ

sinclair_allbrittonBoth Sinclair Broadcasting and Allbritton Communications have been asked for more information in Sinclair’s proposed buy of Allbritton’s Harrisburg, PA, and Charleston, SC, stations.

In a release, Sinclair said the two station groups intend to “respond promptly” to the move otherwise known as a “Second Request.” Sinclair added, “Although there can be no assurances, the parties expect the transaction to close in the first or second quarter of 2014.”

Sinclair already owns CBS affiliate WHP in Harrisburg and FOX affiliate WTAT in Charleston, SC. The deal would add ABC affiliates WHTM in Harrisburg and WCIV in Charleston. Read more

WHTM Adds Locally Produced Lifestyle Show

WHTM, the ABC affiliate in Harrisburg, Pa., has announced the premiere of a locally produced lifestyle program, “Good Day PA!,” this Fall.

“Good Day PA! will feature the people, places, food and events that make our community a great place to live,” WHTM general manager Joe Lewin said in a statement. “At abc27 we have always strived to focus on the news, sports and events that are central to our lives.”

“Good Day PA!” will air at 12:30 p.m. beginning September 9. It will be produced and hosted by Amy Kehm (pictured), who worked as a weekend anchor at WHTM from 2006 to 2011. In the interim, Kehm worked at WBFF in Baltimore and WCIV in Charleston, S.C.

Allbritton Exploring Sale of Television Stations

Allbritton Communications Company, the parent company of Politico and several ABC affiliates around the country, is considering a sale of its television stations, Politico’s Dylan Byers reports. In a memo to Politico staffers, chairman and CEO Robert Allbritton said the  potential sale comes with the desire to “stay on the leading edge” of the rapidly changing media business:

As excited as I am about my future and the company’s, it is not an easy decision to contemplate a break from something that is such an important part of our history. I love the television business, and am deeply appreciative of the success I have had in it. I have treasured working with the media professionals at all of our stations, and in recent years, I have especially enjoyed watching the collaboration here in Washington between POLITICO and WJLA / NewsChannel 8. I have always respected the deep connections with communities that our stations have, and am always humbled by the responsibilities—to citizens, to our employees, and to the next generation—that come with ownership. Those responsibilities are what led me to consider a sale now. This industry is in the midst of rapid consolidation and there are some clear advantages that come with increased scale. I want to ensure that our stations are well-positioned to continue their extraordinary success and participate in all of the new prospects for broadcasting going forward.

Allbritton writes he will look to “invest in or launch media companies that follow the POLITICO model of dominating targeted coverage.” Read his full memo here.

Allbritton owns seven stations: WJLA in Washington, D.C.; WHTM in Harrisburg, Pa.; WBMA in Birmingham, Ala.; KATV in Little Rock, Ark.; KTUL in Tulsa; WSET in Roanoke, Va.; and WCIV in Charleston, S.C. The company also owns NewsChannel8, a 24-hour local cable channel in Washington, D.C.

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