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Flint-Saginaw-Bay City

Ice Storm Knocks Michigan Station Off Air

ice_towerIce falling from WEYI‘s transmission tower after a weekend ice storm knocked the Flint, MI, NBC affiliate’s local news off the air Saturday.

The station told viewers via facebook that it was shutting down over safety concerns. “To our NBC 25 viewers: Due to the severe threat of falling ice at NBC 25′s broadcast studios, we will not be airing any newscasts Saturday. Our primary concern is for the safety of our employees.”

Meteorologist Jason Adams posted an explanation of what happened with a picture (left), “The tower goes up over 1000 feet. The top is supposed to be orange and white, like the bottom, but the ice was too thick that high to see it.”

The station aired its regular programming including network news. It was back on-air for Sunday’s 6:00 p.m.

Read more

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John Christianson to Head Lilly Broadcasting’s Eastern Division

Lilly Broadcasting LogoJohn Christianson has been named executive vice president of Lilly Broadcasting’s Eastern Division and general manager of One Caribbean Television.

Christianson was replaced as GM of Toledo ABC affiliate WTVG by Peter Veto who was director of sales and national sales manager for both WTVG and WJRT as well as serving as GM of SJL Broadcasting’s WJRT.

“It’s been an honor to work at WTVG with the fantastic staff and management team, to continue the tradition of excellence in journalism and involvement in the community,” said Christianson in a statement.

Previously, Christianson worked as news director and later GM of WSEE in Erie, PA. He has also served as GM at WICU and WBEP in Erie and is credited for his involvement in creating and finding distribution for One Caribbean Television.

NABET Rejects Latest Contract Offer from Michigan Station

wnem_nabet_304Members of the union representing workers at WNEM have rejected the latest offer from the Meredith owned Saginaw, MI, CBS affiliate.

“WNEM’s latest contract proposal would severely jeopardized (sic) workers’ job security, retirement security, work jurisdiction and reduce on-air employees to ‘at will’ employment status,” Zara Maldonado, president of NABET-CWA Local 54048, said in a statement.

Maldonado told TVSpy, “Meredith is doing fine economically, and these demands are unnecessarily delaying reaching an agreement on a fair contract.”

The two sides have been working on a deal for nearly a year and half. The current contract expires November 3. Read more

WEYI Says Goodbye to Morning Anchor Elizabeth MacFarland

Flint, MI, NBC affiliate WEYI said goodbye to morning anchor Elizabeth MacFarland after six years with the station.

“I have worked with nine news anchors in my career,” MacFarland’s co-anchor Joel Feick said in a statement. “None of them worked as hard or made me laugh as much as her.”

MacFarland is getting out of broadcasting. She has taken a job with non-profit Wellspring Lutheran Services working with seniors, families and children.

“I will miss the hustle and bustle of daily news, live television and the sense of urgency it gave me everyday,” MacFarland said. “I covered many day-to-day stories, but the stories most near and dear to my heart are the stories that made people at home smile a little, laugh a lot or shed a tear.” Read more

WATCH: Flint Reporter’s Road Construction Map Looks Suspiciously Familiar

Siobhan Riley, a reporter for Flint, MI, ABC affiliate WJRT, tried to illustrate which streets would be affected by construction in downtown Saginaw. Instead, she ended up drawing what looked like a penis.

>UPDATE: WJRT news director Jayne Hodak told TVSpy, “This was an innocent mistake on behalf of the reporter. In no way was it intentional.”

“This construction is happening along North Michigan,” she told viewers during last night’s 11:00 p.m news. But it wasn’t until she drew the streets affected by the construction, “…starting at Colton Avenue and going all the way along State Avenue,” that the report seemed like it was code for something else.

[Hypervocal]

WEYI Pushes News Back to Let Viewers Watch ‘Voice’ Finale After Power Outage

Viewers of WEYI were not happy after the station took a power hit that knocked the Flint, MI, NBC affiliate off the air during the finale of the NBC show “The Voice.”

Viewers screens froze around 10:25 p.m. last night during the build up to the announcement of the winner. Many viewers took to the station’s facebook page to air their displeasure with the situation. One viewer commented, “Someone’s getting fired. #VoiceFinale

The station came back at 11:05 p.m. with anchor Jane Park telling viewers, “We want to apologize for some technical issues we’ve been dealing with here. We’ve had a power hit at the station. At this time, we’re going to take you to the last segment of “The Voice” finale. We’ll be back after that with your local news.” Read more

Kathy Reynolds Joins WGME as News Director

Kathy Reynolds is joining WGME, the CBS affiliate in Portland, Maine, as news director. Reynolds comes from WEYI in Flint, where she has been the news director since June 2011.

“I’m pretty excited both personally and professionally speaking,” Reynolds told TVSpy. “My husband is the chief photographer at WPTZ in Burlington, Vermont. So this will put me closer to him and the many friends we have in Portland.”

“I have a great team here at WEYI and will miss them dearly,” Reynolds continued. “The goodbyes are hard but the my last day here is March 6.”

Reynolds begins at WGME on March 13.

VIDEO: Paul Ryan’s Testy Exchange with WJRT Anchor Terry Camp

Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan had a testy exchange during an interview on Monday with with WJRT in Flint, Mich. (video, via BuzzFeed, above).

The interview took a tense turn when WJRT’s Terry Camp asked Ryan if the United States has a gun problem. Ryan said the country has a “crime problem” and noted that gun laws “aren’t properly enforced.” He went on to advocate crime prevention in another way:

Ryan: The best thing to help prevent violent crime in the inner cities is to bring opportunity in the inner cities, is to help people get [inaudible] in the inner cities, is to help teach people good discipline, good character. That is civil society. That’s what charities and civic groups and churches do to help one another make sure that they can realize the value in one another.

Camp: And you can do all that by cutting taxes? With a big tax cut?

Ryan: Those are your words, not mine.

At that point in the interview, a Ryan aide can be heard in the background ending the interview, saying, “Thank you very much, sir.” Both Camp and Ryan stood up. Read more

Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa Out at WEYI

Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa has parted ways with WEYI, the NBC affiliate in Flint.

Torregrossa, who has been WEYI’s chief meteorologist since 2003, confirmed to mlive.com that he is no longer at the station. WEYI declined to comment on the matter.

“We do not make comments on personnel changes, these changes and decisions are between the employee and the company,” the station’s statement reads. ”We are very pleased with our weather staff and product and we look forward to continuing to provide the most accurate weather to our viewers.”  Read more

WEYI Hires Assistant News Director

WEYI has hired Neille Giffune as assistant news director.

In April, WEYI’s owner, Barrington Broadcasting, tapped news director Kathy Reynolds to oversee sister station WNWO in Toledo, in addition to leading the news department at the Flint NBC-affiliate.  Giffune will assist Reynolds as she splits time between both stations.

“Neille Giffune is a competitor,” said Becky Butcher, president and CEO of WEYI and WBSF, announcing the hiring.  “She understands effective leadership and isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves and pitch in to get the job done.” Read more

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