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Posts Tagged ‘WLS’

Chicago ABC Station Adds to I-Team

wls_knowles_croppedWLS has moved general assignment reporter Jason Knowles to investigative reporter.

“Jason is no stranger to incisive investigative reporting,” Jennifer Graves, VP and news director of the Chicago ABC owned station, said in a statement. “Jason is a tenacious reporter and knows how to dig up a good story.  He’ll be a valuable asset to the I-Team and will undoubtedly work well with Chuck Goudie, whose reputation for investigative journalism is outstanding.”

Knowles joins the station’s I-Team, led by Goudie, January 20.

Before coming to WLS, Knowles worked at WTVG in Toledo and WKAG in Hopkinsville, KY. He started working at WLS in 2004 as a special projects producer and was named general assignment reporter in 2009.

WLS Surveys Viewers About Weather Team

jerry taft wlsWLS, the ABC owned station in Chicago, is enlisting a “select group of Chicago area viewers to aid in formulating a long-range weather plan” for after longtime meteorologist Jerry Taft (pictured) retires, media reporter Robert Feder reports:

One of the participants in the ongoing research study shared with me a copy of the online survey, which includes such questions as: “If Jerry Taft were no longer one of the weathercasters on ABC 7 News – WLS, how much more or less often would you watch the local news on ABC 7 News – WLS?”

Another question asks: “If Tracy Butler were no longer one of the weathercasters on ABC 7 News – WLS, how much more or less often would you watch the local news on ABC 7 News – WLS between 4:30 a.m. and 7 a.m.?”

[...] “We’re always looking for ways to improve our product and serve our viewers,” [WLS general manager John] Idler told me Monday. “It’s standard to ask multidimensional questions so we can fully understand our viewers’ affinity for the way we keep them informed.”

Gil Soffer Joins WLS as Legal Analyst

gil sofferGil Soffer is joining WLS, the ABC owned station in Chicago, as a legal analyst, the Chicago Business Journal reports.

Soffer, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago, is the managing partner of Katten, Muchin and Rosenman’s Chicago office.

“Gil offers tremendous input and clarity on criminal law cases with his years of experience as both a defense attorney and federal prosecutor. He is smart, articulate, quick-witted and does an impressive job simplifying complex cases for our viewers,” news director Jennifer Graves said.

Tanja Babich Joins Chicago ABC Station

babich_croppedNow we know where Tanja Babich is heading after sweeps is over.

Chicago’s ABC owned station WLS has announced Babich will join the station as a reporter and substitute anchor.

The morning anchor for WSYR recently announced she was leaving the Syracuse, NY, ABC station at the end of November.

Babich told WSYR viewers about the move on her facebook page Tuesday, “After more than six years at NewsChannel 9, I will be leaving at the end of the month to pursue an exciting opportunity in a great new city. I will miss Central New York, our viewers, my co-workers and, especially, my family and friends.”

Confusion on Chicago Stations as Jesse Jackson Jr. is Turned Away From Prison

The big story in Chicago today is former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who reported to federal prison in North Carolina Monday afternoon. In a strange twist, Jackson — who was four days early to start serving his 30 month sentence — was turned away from the prison yesterday before he was officially admitted this morning.

On Monday’s late newscasts, only WLS reporter Ben Bradley correctly reported that “a paperwork problem means he’s not technically in custody.” NBC owned WMAQ, Fox owned WFLD and CBS owned WBBM all reported Jackson had begun his sentence.

“He was given his sheets, he was given his clothes, he was searched, and he was forced to do a body cavity search, which is the most demeaning thing that could happen to an individual,” WBBM legal analyst Irv Miller told reporter Jay Levine (watch after the jump).

The stations walked back the accounts of Jackson’s surrender on the morning newscasts this morning, after The Chicago Tribune reported that prison officials said he was not in custody. Read more

WLS Expands Weekend Morning News

wls_304Starting November 2, WLS viewers who are early risers will get to see an extra hour of weekend morning news.

The ABC owned station in Chicago will start its weekend morning news at 5:00 a.m. making two, two hour blocks of news bookending Good Morning America on the Weekends.

The first block will air from 5:00 to 7:00 a.m., followed by GMA from 7:00 to 8:00 a.m. Then WLS airs its second block of news from 8:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m.

In a statement, WLS vice president and news director Jennifer Graves said, “I’m pleased we can serve our community with expanded news and weather coverage and give viewers the information they need to kick off their weekend.”

Ben Bradley will join his Sunday morning co-anchor Stacey Baca on Saturday’s morning news.

Disney Reportedly Thinking About Selling Local Stations

walt_disney_304 The New York Post is reporting the Walt Disney Company is looking into selling its eight owned and operated stations.

With station groups like Sinclair Broadcasting buying up local stations left and right, local affiliates are quickly becoming the new hot property. The Post said the move could be worth billions.

In July, Tribune paid $2.73 billion for 19 stations owned by Local TV, while Sinclair paid $985 million for seven Allbritton-owned stations. Earlier, Gannett bought Belo and its 20 stations for $1.5 billion.

There has been a wave of consolidation as companies buy up TV stations to reap the rising “retransmission” fees cable companies and other distributors cough up for the right to carry broadcast signals.

The more stations a company owns, the more leverage it has when it enters negotiations with pay-TV providers such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

In September, CBS president and CEO Les Moonves told analysts that the local station business is better than ever. Read more

Chicago Station Plans Return to ‘Eyewitness News’ Brand

wls_304Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports ABC owned Chicago station WLS will once again brand itself as “Eyewitness News.”

Feder said the “Eyewitness News” name ran from 1969 until 1996 on WLS. Today, WABC in New York, KABC in Los Angeles, KTRK in Houston and WTVD in Raleigh-Durham use the brand.

WLS general manager John Idler told Feder, “The reality is ['Eyewitness News'] still has a very strong identity with this station — even though it was dropped a number of years ago. It’s still very important to our viewers, and they associate it with ABC 7. That’s principally why we’re bringing it back.”

Idler emphasized that the goal isn’t to go retro. “The execution of this is going to be very contemporary,” he said. “It is not going to be a look back to ‘Eyewitness News.’ It is going to be a look forward to what ‘Eyewitness News’ means to viewers today.” Read more

Troy Christensen Joins WLS From KFOR

troy christensenMeteorologist Troy Christensen has joined WLS, the ABC owned station in Chicago, Robert Feder reports.

Christensen joins WLS from KFOR, the NBC affiliate in Oklahoma City. He made his debut Saturday morning on the 6 and 8 a.m. newscasts, which are anchored by Stacy Baca. He replaces Mark Bishop, who left in June to join WZTV in Nashville.

Before joining KFOR, Christensen worked at KLBK, the CBS affiliate in Lubbock, Texas.

WLS Takes Morning Ratings Hit After Recent Schedule Changes

When Chicago’s WLS dropped its 11:00 a.m. newscast to make room for “Live with Kelly and Michael,” it may have done the right thing for parent company Disney but the wrong thing for its viewers.

Robert Feder reports the station’s 25 year run of being number one in the mornings may be coming to an end for the ABC owned station.

Since the new schedule debuted Sept. 2, according to Nielsen figures, ABC 7′s overall ratings are down 13 percent at 9 a.m., 29 percent at 10 a.m. (with ABC’s “The View”), and 36 percent at 11 a.m. In the 25-to-54 adult demo, ratings are down 11 percent at 9 a.m., 41 percent at 10 a.m. and 46 percent at 11 a.m.

Feder also said “ABC7 News This Morning” has dropped out of the top spot from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. weekdays in overall audience and in adults 25-54. Read more

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