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Independent Stations

WADL Fires General Manager Matt Uhl For ‘Violating Corporate Policy’

WADL has “abruptly fired” general manager Matt Uhl, the Detroit independent station announced Friday in a press release.

Uhl was fired for violating corporate policy, including “manipulation by a programmer,” according to WADL. The controversy revolves around the syndicated show “Ask Dr. Nandi,” which airs weekly on WADL. According to WADL, The station’s CFO recently informed Keven Adell, the station’s owner, that the show was 90 days and $12,000 past due in payment. Questioning the low figure, Adell asked Rich Mazzari, a former FBI agent, to investigate the show’s finances, according to the station:

This investigation uncovered that Dr. Nandi received $1.2 million dollars in film credits based on $4 million dollars in film expenses; in which WADL only received a potential $26,000 for the year.  Dr. Nandi’s application showed over 12 editors for an hour show.  Mr. Adell’s network and TV station that runs twenty four seven doesn’t have 12 editors.  Mr. Adell questions how a full time doctor at Beaumont Hospital can have 12 editors, 39 employees, and spend $4 million dollars to run a one hour television program on WADL.

In the wake of the investigation, WADL has cancelled “Ask Dr. Nandi.”

Uhl was hired by Kevin O’Brien, who was hired as a consultant to “aggressively make changes” to the station. O’Brien was fired after two months after an investigation by Mazzari uncovered “violations of numerous corporate policies,” according to a WADL announcement. O’Brien maintains that press release was “defamatory” and says no formal reason was given for the termination of his contract.

The full press release from WADL is after the jump. Read more

KTVK’s Lisa Haffner Victim of Purse Snatching

Lisa Haffner, former reporter and current host of KTVK‘s lifestyle show, “Your Life A to Z,” had her purse snatched by a man in a moving vehicle.

“It’s an intensive violation that you don’t think it’s going to happen to you,” Haffner told Mike Watkiss, reporter for the Phoenix independent station.

Haffner said she was pushing a shopping cart out of a Safeway grocery store when a man drove up behind her, reached out of his vehicle and grabbed her purse. Read more

Dan Ball Joins WFFT As News Director, Anchor

Dan Ball is joining WFFT, Nexstar’s independent station in Fort Wayne, as news director and main anchor.

“We’re excited to have Dan join our station and lead our award-winning news team,” VP-GM Bill Ritchhart said in a statement. “Dan brings a wealth of large market experience that can take our news room to the next level.”

Ball was most recently the morning anchor at KSNV, the NBC affiliate in Las Vegas. In March 2012, the station did not renew his contract.

He replaces Jim Blue, who is joining WNWO in Toledo as news director and main anchor.

Lee Eldridge Joins KUSI as Assistant ND

Lee Eldridge has joined San Diego independent station KUSI as assistant news director.

According to KUSI news director Steve Cohen, Eldridge is the first assistant news director for the station.

Eldridge has been news director at WAVE in Louisville, KY, WROC in Rochester, NY and WDSI in Chattanooga, TN. According to his Linkedin page, he was director of media and public relations at Platinum Funding Group before coming to KUSI.

KTVK Posts Raw Footage of Arizona Governor’s Reaction to Climate Change Question

When KTVK political editor Dennis Welch asked Arizona Governor Jan Brewer about climate change last week he probably didn’t expect the internet storm that followed in its wake.

In response to the growing speculation that the Arizona Governor punched (Tucson Citizen, The Atlantic Wire), slugged (Huffington Post, Jim Romenesko), took a swing (Yahoo! News) or tapped the reporter for the Phoenix independent station, KTVK posted the raw video of the interview for all to see.

In the raw video, Welch asked the Governor whether she believed humans are responsible for global warming or not.  Then after stumbling through an answer, the Governor began walking away.  She then turned back with a bemused look on her face, tapped the KTVK reporter and asked, “Where in the hell did that come from?”  You can form your own opinion of whether it was a punch, tap or slug by viewing the raw video after the jump.

Read more

Yetta Gibson Promoted to Evening Anchor at KTVK

Yetta Gibson, who has worked as a reporter and morning field anchor for KTVK since 2010, has been promoted to evening anchor at the Phoenix independent station.

Beginning Monday, Gibson will anchor KTVK’s 6 p.m. newscast alongside Fields Moseley, and solo anchor the station’s 10 p.m. news.

“Can’t wait 2 work w/u!” Gibson tweeted to Moseley on Wednesday.

As part of KTVK’s evening shuffle, Moseley and Carey Pena will move from 10 p.m. to co-anchor the station’s hour-long 9 p.m. newscast.  Pena will also host “Politics Unplugged,” KTVK’s weekly public affairs show. Read more

Dennis Welch Joins KTVK as Political Editor

KTVK, the independent station in Phoenix, has hired Dennis Welch as political editor, TVNewsCheck reports. He will begin June 1.

Welch will oversee the station’s political coverage and co-host “Politics Unplugged,” the station’s political affairs show. He joins KTVK from the Arizona Guardian, where he was owner and editor. He has been a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” for the past several years.

“Dennis gives us a first-rate political reporter who really knows Arizona’s political landscape,” executive news director Brad Remington saidRead more

Detroit’s WADL Scratches Local Newscast, Following Months of Controversy

After a series of missteps and false starts, Detroit independent station WADL has decided to scrap its 9 p.m. newscast.

“WADL is moving in a new direction, and the news programming will not be a part of its new format,” CEO Kevin Adell announced this week. “I want to personally thank everyone who helped us test the ‘News@9′ segment.”

In January, WADL launched a 9 p.m. newscast produced in partnership with Journal Register Newspapers and began building out a local news operation. But the station’s shot at local news quickly became mired in controversy and in-fighting. Read more

WADL Hires Owner’s Wife as News Director

After a tumultuous couple of weeks in which the station abruptly fired its president and news director, WADL announced today that Joelle Lukasiewicz, wife of station owner Kevin Adell, had been named news director.

Lukasiewicz, who once worked as a reporter at Detroit’s WXYZ and WDIV, currently hosts WADL’s “Motor City Movie Night,” which airs every Saturday.

A WADL spokesperson told TVSpy today that the station considered “a lot of people” for the job but Lukasiewicz was chosen because she has “a strong connection” to the market. Read more

Fired News Director Worried WADL Management Would Make Him ‘Disappear’

Hired as news director at WADL, Matt Stevens took extra precautions when meeting with station management on the day he was terminated because he feared he “might never be seen again.”

In a recent post on his personal blog, Stevens provides a detailed account of his dealings with WADL, the station’s temporary president Kevin O’Brien, the station’s owner Kevin Adell, and the station’s GM Matt Uhl.

In a series of events recently publicized by station press releases, WADL fired O’Brien and then fired Stevens.

Stevens says he was so concerned about his safety on the day of his termination that he had his wife secretly videotape his meeting with station management, “just in case they decided to recreate the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa.” Read more

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