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Flint-Saginaw-Bay City

WEYI Appoints ‘Untraditional’ News Director

Kathy Reynolds is set to become news director at WEYI. The Mid-Michigan NBC-affiliate announced this week that Reynolds, who has spent the last year working as assistant news director at WAOW in Wausau, WI, would replace Jeff Reinarz in the role later this month.

Reinarz has served as WEYI’s news director since 2008 in addition to overseeing the station’s creative team. With the addition of Reynolds, Reinarz is moving into the position of media operations manager and will lead a planned overhaul of the station’s website and brand identity.

“When I first spoke to Reynolds, I knew she was different than most news directors,” said Becky Butcher, President and CEO of WEYI-WBSF. “I was looking for someone untraditional and Reynolds definitely fit the part. She is a very motivated individual and has a vision on where we are taking our news and website over the course of the next three years.”

Reynolds has held several different newsroom positions throughout her career. She’s been a sports reporter in Philadelphia and a weather anchor in Fargo. Before joining WAOW, she worked as an investigative reporter and special projects manager at WGGB in Springfield, MA.

Jayne Hodak Takes Over for Her Mentor as WJRT News Director

Jayne Hodak, who has been serving as WJRT‘s acting news director since April, has officially been named newsroom boss at the Flint ABC-affiliate.

Hodak, WJRT’s assistant news director for the past eight years, took over for longtime news director Jim Bleicher upon his recent departure.  Bleicher, who had been with WJRT for over two decades, left as SJL Broadcasting took over ownership of the station.

“It’s very bittersweet for me,” Hodak told TVSpy recently about her promotion, saying that Bleicher was her mentor.

“It was really hard in the beginning,” Hodak said of Bleicher’s exit as well as a handful of other staff changes made under the new ownership, “but the focus is now on the day-to-day job of providing the most hours of local news in the market.” Read more

Longtime Anchor Bill Harris Returns to WJRT After Being Let Go

After being dumped by the station’s new management team last month, veteran anchor Bill Harris returned to the air this week for WJRT, where he has worked for over three decades.

Harris, who had anchored WJRT’s 5, 6, and 11 p.m. newscasts, was told in April that his services were no longer needed by the station, which had recently been acquired by SJL Broadcasting.

But there Harris was on Tuesday, covering a homeland security training conference for WJRT and appearing live during the ABC-affiliate’s 4, 5, and 6 p.m. newscasts.

While not detailing what Harris’s current role with the station is, WJRT said that the former anchor would use “his more than 30 years experience with local, state and federal agencies to explain what the training entails.” Read more

Heads Continue to Roll at WJRT Under New Owner

New owner SJL Broadcasting continues to clean house at Flint’s WJRT.

After losing its general manager and longtime news director as SJL assumed control of the ABC-affiliate last Friday, WJRT is now saying Goodbye to two anchors who have been the face of the station for decades.

New WJRT GM Peter Veto has decided to dump Bill Harris (right), who has been with the station for over three decades and who most recently anchored WJRT’s 5, 6, and 11 p.m. newscasts, as well as Joel Feick (far right), a weekend anchor who has been with the station since 1983.

“Quite frankly, I don’t know much about it, because it’s still fresh, other than that my services are no longer needed,” Harris told The Flint Journal in confirming his dismissal. Read more

Longtime News Director Jim Bleicher Departs WJRT Amid Ownership Change

Jim Bleicher, who led WJRT‘s newsroom for over two decades, has departed his news director post amid an ownership change at the Flint ABC-affiliate.

According to sources, Bleicher’s final day with WJRT was last Friday–the same day that SJL Broadcasting took over ownership of the station. Last week the company, which agreed to buy WJRT from ABC in November, announced that general manager Tom Bryson was leaving the station. Bryson was replaced by Peter Veto, who has a longstanding relationship with SJL.

Jayne Hodak, who served as assistant news director under Bleicher, has been appointed acting news director as Veto considers Bleicher’s successor.

Bleicher made an indelible mark on WJRT during his long tenure with the station. Celebrating his recent induction into the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame, the station said that Bleicher had “hired almost everyone you see each and every day on ABC12.”

Ex-ABC O&Os Get New GMs in Ownership Change

The two former ABC O&Os recently sold to SJL Broadcasting now have new station heads. The general managers of both WJRT in Flint and WTVG in Toledo have decided to leave their posts and SJL has appointed replacements.

WJRT’s Tom Bryson and WTVG’s David Zamichow have opted to leave on their own, according to Broadcasting & Cable, as SJL prepares to take over ownership of the stations this week.

“Both of them are class people,” SJL president George Lilly told B&C. “We would’ve kept both in a heartbeat.”

Bryson and Zamichow are being replaced by two TV veterans that have worked for the Lilly family.  Peter Veto has been named GM of WJRT while John Christianson has been handed the reins of WTVG. Read more

Sinclair Makes GM Appointments in Raleigh and Flint

Sinclair Broadcast Group has made two general manager appointments this week. The company, which manages 58 stations across the country, announced on Wednesday that John Hummel had been named general manager of WLFL and WRDC in Raleigh, NC, and that Chad Conklin would replace him as GM of WSMH in Flint, MI.

Hummel has served as general manager of WSMH, a Fox-affiliate, since 2007.  Conklin has been with WSMH for the past 11 years, most recently serving as general sales manager.

“We are excited to promote Chad to the general manager position,” said Steve Marks, COO of Sinclair’s television group. “He has worked his way up through the ranks at the station, understands the market he is serving, and has demonstrated that he is ready for the next challenge. We look forward to Chad’s enthusiasm and leadership as he continues to build on the successes of John Hummel.”

Hummel, who has over two decades of experience in TV sales and management, said that he is looking forward to “working with the dedicated staffs at WRDC and WLFL.”

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