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Posts Tagged ‘WWSB’

Caught on Tape: Woman Drives Off with Florida Station’s News Car While Camera Rolls


A Sarasota, Florida woman may face charges of Grand Theft Auto after asking and then showing WWSB reporter Josh Taylor what she wanted him to do while he was getting ready to report on an alleged rental property scam.

The video posted to the Sarasota ABC station’s website shows the woman putting her hand over the reporter’s camera lens and telling him to leave multiple times. She then throws his tripod into the back of his station car and drives away with the vehicle all while he was rolling.

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Calkins Media Co-Owner Dies

calkins_smith_obitCarolyn Calkins Smith died Thursday after a long battle with cancer.

Calkins Smith was the co-owner of Calkins Media, owner of three local TV stations in the South as well as several newspapers.

“The story of Calkins Media – our private ownership, our continued dedication to a community service and committed family stewardship was made possible because of Carolyn’s life and the example she set,” said Calkins CEO Mark G. Contreras.

Smith is credited with the expansion of WWSB in Sarasota, FL.

“She was the president and hands-on manager of the station,” said Ed Birch, a former Calkins executive. “She went down there and represented the family in the early days. Her news days at the Courier Times gave her a leg up. The quality greatly improved from her being there so much.” Birch added, “The company is going to miss Carolyn.”

Carolyn Calkins Smith was the daughter of Stanley Willis Calkins, Sr. the founder of Calkins Media the family owned station group owns WAAY in Huntsville, AL, WTXL in Tallahassee, FL, and WWSB.

Smith was 74.

Paul Dughi Named VP-GM at WAAY

paul dughiPaul Dughi has been named vice president and general manager of WAAY, Calkins Media’s ABC affiliate in Huntsville-Decatur, Ala. He will begin at the station in January.

In a note announcing the hire, Jeff Benninghoff, the vice president and general manager of sister station WWSB, said Dughi brings “an impressive track record in broadcasting.” Dughi was previously the president of Cowles California Media Company, which owns and operates six stations in California. He is a former general manager of KNDO-KNDU in Yakima and news director at WBNS in Columbus, KHQ in Spokane and WAEO in Rhinelander, Wisc.

Dughi replaces Art Lanham, who tipsters tell us resigned in October. Read Benninghoff’s note after the jump. Read more

With Lauren Dorsett Set to Resign, WWSB Shuffles Morning, Evening Anchors

lauren dorsettAfter three years at WWSB, Lauren Dorsett (pictured) has announced her departure from the Sarasota ABC affiliate, setting changes to the anchor lineup for the morning and evening newscasts into motion.

Dorsett will be replaced on the evening newscasts by Hayley Wielgus, who currently anchors the morning and noon newscasts at WWSB. Wielgus will anchor at 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m. with Scott Dennis and at 11 p.m. solo. She will also serve as one of  the station’s health reporters.

“Hayley is a strong, well respected voice in our newsroom and has proven to be a great storyteller,” news director Steve Sabato said in a statement. “…Hayley will be a dynamic addition to our weeknight broadcasts. I’m confident that she, Scott and Chief Meteorologist Bob Harrigan will make a terrific team.”

Stephanie Roberts, who has worked as a freelance meteorologist and news anchor at WWSB, will join the station full-time as she replaces Wielgus on the morning newscast.  Read more

Calkins Media Promotes Jeff Benninghoff to VP of Broadcast

Jeff Benninghoff has been named vice president of broadcast for Calkins Media. His appointment is effective Monday.

Benninghoff will continue to serve in his current role of vice president and general manager of WWSB, Calkins Media’s ABC affiliate in Sarasota, Fla. In his new role, he will also oversee WAAY in Huntsville and WTXL in Tallahassee.

“As those of you at WWSB get a chance to see everyday, Jeff leads by example by motivating our employees, instilling a sense of urgency about our mission and in working collaboratively and effectively with colleagues throughout the company,” Calkins Media CEO Mark G. Contreras wrote in a note to employees. “It’s these leadership traits that make Jeff a natural fit for this promotion.”

Ben Kaplan Second Anchor To Leave KXLY

KXLY has cut a second anchor from its lineup. Sports director Ben Kaplan is the latest to get the ax from the ABC affiliate for Spokane, WA.

“We’re restructuring the sports staff between our TV & radio properties, as we also own the local ESPN radio affiliate,” news director Jerry Post told TVSPy. “Ben has done a tremendous job for us as Sports Director, but this move made the best strategic and financial sense going forward.”

This week, evening anchor Mike Gonzalez was also let go from KXLY in what looks to be a round of cost cutting moves.

Post told TVSpy the station was looking to Dennis Patchin to lead the sports team for both KXLY and ESPN radio affiliate KXLX.

Kaplan joined KXLY from WWSB in Sarasota, FL.  He started his career with KFBB in Great Falls, MT.

WWSB Hires Steve Sabato as News Director

Steve Sabato has joined WWSB, the ABC affiliate for Sarasota, FL as news director.

“WWSB has an outstanding news operation and deep commitment to serving the Suncoast community,”  Sabato said in a statement. “I look forward to helping take ABC 7 News to the next level and expanding our exceptional news brand across multiple media platforms.”

Sabato, who was also named director of digital content, comes to WWSB from Cell Journalist LLC where he was partner and executive vice-president of the media technology company.  Previously, he was the director of news and local programming for WKRN in Nashville.

[Broadcasting & Cable]

Gene Ross Out as News Director at WWSB

Florida News Center is reporting Gene Ross, news director at WWSB, has left the Sarasota ABC station.  The move comes a little more than a month after Jeff Benninghoff was named the new general manager at the station.

While TVSpy has not heard back from WWSB about Ross’ departure, yesterday the station posted a job listing for a “hands on” news director on its website.

Ross had been the station’s news director since June of 2010.

[Florida News Center]

Triston Sanders Named Assistant ND at WWL

Triston Sanders is joining WWL, the CBS affiliate in New Orleans, as assistant news director next month.

Sanders joins WWL from WCTV in Tallahassee, where she has been the news director since 2010. She has also worked at WINK in Fort Myers, WWSB in Sarasota, WFLA in Tampa, WSVN in Miami and WPBF in West Palm Beach.

In a memo to WWL staffers, executive news director Bill Siegel praised Sanders’ leadership at WCTV, noting “her experience with social media and emerging technologies fits perfectly with the direction we are moving as a digital news organization.” Read more

Jeff Benninghoff Named VP-GM of WWSB

Jeff Benninghoff has been named vice president and general manager of WWSB, the ABC-affiliate in Sarasota.

Benninghoff is currently an executive at Calkins Media, the parent company of WWSB. The move is a return to the station for Benninghoff, who worked there from 1998-2008 as controller and station manager.

“Jeff has the perfect combination of skills to lead ABC 7 into our digital future,” Calkins Media CEO Mark Contreras said in a statement. “He has an impressive track record of accomplishments in broadcasting and has been with the company for nearly 20 years.  His optimism, energy and forward-looking approach will serve us well as we continue to evolve our business models.” Read more

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