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Jacksonville

Judge Won’t Hold WJXT In Contempt After Airing Report It Was Told Not to Air

Saying the station made a mistake “as human beings do at times,” a Florida Circuit judge has decided not to hold WJXT in contempt after airing an arrest report it was ordered by the court not to air.

According to the Florida Times-Union, the station obtained a copy of an arrest report that showed the confession of  James Patrick Tadros who was charged with attempted murder, false imprisonment and criminal mischief after allegedly attacking a nine-year-old girl in the restroom of a local Best Buy store.

When the State Attorney’s Office heard WJXT had a non-redacted version showing the confession, Circuit Judge Adrian Soud issued a temporary injunction known as prior restraint barring the station from airing the police report.

But the station aired the report the next day. Tuesday, Judge Soud ruled “The Court concludes that employees of WJXT TV-4, as human beings do at times, made a mistake.”

The court has yet to decide whether it will eventually allow the station to publish the report. “It’s hard to imagine a circumstance in which the judge could have told a TV station that it could not print this document,” Gregg Leslie, a staff attorney with the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press told the Times-Union. “There’s almost never going to be a valid justification for prior restraint.”

TVSpy has reached out to WJXT. We will update when we hear back.

Jacksonville News Anchor Helps Police Nab Burglary Suspect

First Coast News morning anchor Phil Amato was in the right place at the right time for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s department. Amato was credited with helping Officer Mike Blanton (pictured right) catch a suspect who was on the run from the police.

On the Friday morning newscast for the Jacksonville, FL, ABC-NBC affiliate, Amato told viewers, “I was coming back from breakfast, driving my pickup truck at the time and saw the chase. Well, the suspect ran out from in between two houses and I just happened to be right there.”

Amato said he stopped his truck, the suspect hopped in the back followed closely by Officer Blanton. After a brief struggle, the suspect was arrested. Amato said the suspect was wanted for armed burglary and hitting someone in the head with a cinder block.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office posted a note of thanks to Amato and Blanton on its facebook page, “Thank you both for a job well done and getting another criminal off the streets of Jacksonville!” You can watch the video the Sheriff’s Office posted to its YouTube page of Amato telling the story after the jump Read more

WTEV-WAWS Renovating Newsroom

The newsroom at WTEV-WAWS, Cox Media Group’s duopoly in Jacksonville, is undergoing a renovation to “to upgrade and coordinate its news dissemination through traditional and web channels, social media and mobile apps,” according to the Jacksonville Daily Record:

Jim Zerwekh, vice president and general manager of WAWS TV-30 and WTEV TV-47, said changes in the news industry necessitate the newsroom updates for efficiencies.

[...] the newsroom has been vacated to prepare for the work and those functions have been relocated to other areas in the building during renovations. About 140 employees work in the TV operation, according to Zerwekh. He expects the project will be completed in 10-12 weeks.

“It’s a significant investment for our parent company,” he said. “It definitely shows their commitment to us and our continued growth.”

Former Jacksonville Anchor Dies at 58

Sally Fox, a former morning anchor at WTLV-WJXX in Jacksonville, died on July 3. She was 58.

Fox worked for the dupoly from 1988 to 1995. While she worked as the anchor of “Good Morning Jacksonville,” she founded Angelwood Inc., an organization that provides group homes for developmentally disabled children and their families.

“She loved doing the morning show. She grew the audience. She had a lot of compassion,” WTLV-WJXX reporter Ken Amaro, who has worked at the stations since 1979, said. “She was a good person and a solid journalist.

Jennifer Waugh Moves to Mornings at WJXT as Staci Spanos Transitions to Reporting Role

Jennifer Waugh (left) is moving from evenings to mornings at WJXT, the independent station in Jacksonville. She will replace Staci Spanos (right), who will transition to a reporter role on the morning newscast.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Spanos said in a statement. “This is my TV family. I’m simply downshifting my role here just a bit so I can spend more time with my family at home.”

Spanos will continue anchoring on a limited basis, according to WJXT. Waugh will co-anchor alongside Bruce Hamilton and meteorologist Richard Nunn.

“Jen’s the pre-eminent investigative journalist in Jacksonville; she’s in a class by herself,” WJXT VP-GM Bob Ellis said in a statement. “Now the morning audience will benefit from her experience both reporting news, and growing up here in town. She’s a fabulous addition to a terrific team.”

After 27 Years at WJXX-WTLV, Sportscaster Dan Hicken Joins Rival Jacksonville Station

After 27 years at WJXX-WTLV in Jacksonville, Dan Hicken is joining rival WTEV-WAWS.

“This opportunity was a no-brainer. They’ve got the Jaguars, they have SEC football and they have a strong presence in the high school sports scene,” Hicken told the Florida Times-Union. “They’re committed to local sports, and that’s what I want to do, and that’s who I am.”

Because of a six-month non-compete clause in his contract, Hicken will begin his on-air reporting duties at WTEV-WAWS, the CBS and Fox affiliates, in November.

“We’ll all miss him,” WJXX-WTLV general manager Eric Land said. “And hopefully we will be able to see his career take a new step that is fulfilling for him and his family.”

As Hicken joins the sports team at WTEV-WAWS, Brent Martineau is promoted to sports director, effective immedately.

“Brent has done a tremendous job for us and has won multiple awards for his efforts,” general manager Jim Zerwekh said. “He’s spearheaded our coverage of not just the Jaguars but with a lot of the other sports that we cover.”

Watch WJXX-WTLV’s tribune to Hicken after the jump. Read more

Cox Names Bill Funke Director of Sales for WAWS-WTEV

Cox Media Group has named Bill Funke director of sales for Jacksonville, FL, FOX affiliate WAWS and CBS affiliate WTEV.

“Bill is a true professional, who knows that relationships are the key to driving our business in this highly-competitive market,” said WAWS-WTEV vice president and general manager Jim Zerwekh. “We are truly fortunate that we can tap into CMG’s vast sales talent pool for this key position.”

Before coming to WAWS-WTEV, Funke was general sales manager for Cox Media Group’s WFTV and WFTV.com in Orlando. He first joined Cox in 1995 as an account representative with TeleRep before joining WFTV as its national sales manager. Funke was promoted to local sales manager in 2002.

“I’m thrilled to take on this amazing opportunity to work with the CMG Jacksonville TV team of dedicated sales professionals,” said Funke.

[Broadcasting&Cable]

Amanda Zitzman Set to Join KVAL in Eugene

Amanda Zitzman is leaving WTLV-WJXX in Jacksonville, Fla. for KVAL in Eugene, Ore.

Zitzman joined WTLV-WJXX in 2010 as the morning traffic anchor. She currently anchors the news cut-ins during “Today” and “Good Morning America” as well as solo anchoring the Saturday morning newscast. She is also the anchor of “On the Town,” a Friday evening segment about weekend activities in Jacksonville.

Zitzman begins April 1 as the morning and noon anchor at KVAL.

Joy Purdy Leaving First Coast News for Family

Joy Purdy, anchor for “Good Morning Jacksonville,” has announced she is leaving the ABC/NBC duopoly branded as “First Coast News” to spend more time with her family.

Purdy described her decision on her facebook page.  The station then posted the news on its website, “I was recently offered the main anchor spot at my TV station — the 11 p.m. newscast. So exciting! However, after much prayer, and countless family discussions … I’ve instead decided to take a break from work to spend time with my family.”

Purdy, who has anchored the morning show since 2007, ended her post with, “Scary? Yes. Worth it? No doubt.” Read more

Cox Media Group Closes on Purchase of Newport Stations

Cox Media Group has closed on its purchase of four Newport Television stations in Jacksonville, FL, and Tulsa, OK.

“Countless hours of hard work have taken place over the last few months to prepare for today, and I want to thank everyone at CMG and these stations involved who made today a reality,” Cox Media Group president Doug Franklin said in a statement.  “This is an exciting time as we grow CMG’s presence in these markets, and we are thrilled that these stations are joining our team of media professionals.”

Cox acquired Newport’s Jacksonville duopolies, WAWS (FOX) and WTEV (CBS) and Tulsa’s FOX affiliate KOKI and MyNetworkTV affiliate KMYT. Read more

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