Jim Cullen, the managing editor of Milwaukee NBC affiliate WTMJ, died Wednesday of brain cancer.
Cullen was the station’s “colorful, lovable managing editor” for 15 years, according to WTMJ. He was diagnosed two years ago with brain cancer. His first granchild was born last month. “We miss you Jimmy. We know you’re in a better place, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family,” anchor Mike Jacobs said in an on-air tribute Wednesday.
Samara Sodos has joined Milwaukee NBC affiliate WTMJ as noon co-anchor and morning show reporter.
Sodos started her career at WTMJ as an associate producer. In June 2012, she left her job as a reporter for Tampa’s WFLA to work as the public information officer for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.
Duane Dudek of theMilwaukee Journal Sentinel reports at Sodos’ last press conference before taking the job as as spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn told reporters, “Now she’s going to be an obstacle to all of you doing your jobs. She’s going to be on this side of the podium giving you all hell, denying your freedom of information requests and saying she has no comment whatsoever, (and) that David Gee is the greatest sheriff in the history. Sam, we love ya, it’s been a long time.”
Five months after a sensationalized promo for a Sweeps story, Milwaukee NBC affiliate WTMJ has apologized to a police officer featured in the promo.
WTMJ promoted an “explosive I-team investigation months in the making” by showing surveillance video of police officer Matthew Knight at an ATM with a man. The promo copy reads: “A Milwaukee police officer taking a man’s cash out of an ATM. Then walking off with that cash in hand. What’s really going on? The Milwaukee police department has some explaining to do.” (Video of the promo is after the jump.)
The police officer in the surveillance video was cleared of wrongdoing in March, two months before WTMJ aired the story. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s Duane Dudekreports that during Tuesday’s 5 pm newscast, anchor Mike Jacobs read the following statement:
We strive for accuracy in our reporting. But despite our best efforts, when we do get a story wrong, we owe it to you to stand corrected. Earlier this year, our reporting and promotion of a story involving Matthew Knight, a Milwaukee police officer, left the wrong impression that Officer Knight was involved in inappropriate or wrongful behavior. He was not. Read more
Last week WTMJ and Time Warner Cable settled a nearly two-month long battle over retransmission fees. While Time Warner Cable customers can watch NBC programming again, they can’t watch it on channel 4 anymore.
The Milwaukee station that markets itself as “Today’s TMJ4″ was moved two slots down to channel 2 on the standard definition tier but stayed at channel 1004 on HD. TWC added the “Game Show Network” to SD channel 4.
WTMJ executive vice president Steve Wexler told TVSpy, while the move may have initially confused TWC customers, “it’s clear viewers have made the adjustment, as we’ve seen audience levels bounce back quickly.”
Last month’s decision by Time Warner Cable to drop WTMJ has prompted three of its customers to seek a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all TWC subscribers who no longer get the Milwaukee NBC affiliate.
Steven Delonge and Paul Scoptur of Wauwatosa, WI, and Stephen Raymonds of Menominee Falls are looking for unspecified damages for breach of contract and a days credit for each customer affected for every day service was interrupted more than four hours. The plaintiffs are represented by Paul Scoptur’s law firm Aiken & Scoptur.
“My contract is with Time Warner, that’s who I pay,” Scoptur told WTMJ. “They promise to give us Channel 4 and they made the decision to remove Channel 4.”
Time Warner pulled WTMJ on July 25 over a dispute with WTMJ’s parent company Journal Broadcast Group over retransmission fees.
Dudek found out Koebel is now a budding actor. He’s taken on character roles in USA Network’s “Necessary Roughness” alongside John Stamos and recently played a police officer, a firefighter and a Revolutionary War soldier on NBC’s “Revolution,” FOX’s upcoming series “Sleepy Hollow” and “Under the Dome” on CBS.
“I’d never have believed it if 10 months ago someone had told me I’d be part of a Stephen King-Steven Spielberg event that would be the hottest show of the summer,” Koebel told Dudek about his work on “Under the Dome.” Read more
A Milwaukee police officer is suingWTMJ and Journal Broadcast Group saying the station promoted and aired a story that put him in a bad light even though the station knew he had done nothing wrong.
The lawsuit, filed by Officer Matthew Knight, says the Milwaukee NBC affiliate promoted and aired a story using surveillance footage showing Knight and what Milwaukee police say was a drunk Marine walking into a bank. The video shows the officer taking the man’s ATM card, punching in the man’s pin, withdrawing money, then counting the money out and leaving with the man.
The promo copy for the May sweeps story said, “It’s the video that has everyone talking. A Milwaukee police officer taking a man’s cash out of an ATM. Then walking off with that cash in hand. What’s really going on? The Milwaukee police department has some explaining to do.”
What the promo didn’t say was that police were called when a man broke a taxicab’s window. The cabdriver said he would not press charges against the man if he paid $300 to repair the damage. The man and officer Knight went to the ATM where Knight helped the man withdraw the money and pay the cabbie. Read more
A story Milwaukee NBC affiliate WTMJ promoted for sweeps as “an explosive I-Team investigation months in the making” about a Milwaukee police officer taking money from a man at an ATM has landed the station in hot water with the Milwaukee police chief.
“People deserve to know the truth,” said Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn in a press conference the morning before the story aired. “And I have no confidence that that truth will be known watching this TV story’s coverage of its own sweeps story.”
The promo (above) shows surveillance video of a Milwaukee police officer at an ATM with a man in February. The promo copy says, “It’s the video that has everyone talking. A Milwaukee police officer taking a man’s cash out of an ATM. Then walking off with that cash in hand. What’s really going on? The Milwaukee police department has some explaining to do.” Read more
Sims comes from Cincinnati, where she has been freelancing as a morning reporter and fill-in anchor at WXIX. She was released from her contract at WKEF-WRGT in Dayton after a year as the station’s main anchor in January.
Sims told TVSpy she is looking forward to working with the “winning team” of journalists, photographers and producers at WTMJ.
“At this point of my career moving to Milwaukee and working at TMJ4 to hone my skills as a reporter and command anchor seems like the perfect move,” Sims wrote in an email.