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Memphis

WPTY: Photojournalist Attacked by Memphis City Employee

Memphis ABC affiliate WPTY says a photojournalist was attacked by a Memphis City employee while he was shooting video on public property.

The station reports Nick Sheluga was shooting video of a sculpture at a car inspection station Wednesday when the city employee “grabbed me, put me in a headlock and pulled me down,” pushing the camera out of his hands. The employee said Sheluga needed permission to be there.

Police were called to the scene and have launched an investigation into the incident, according to WPTY. Sheluga gave the police a copy of the recording and described the incident to detectives.

Watch video of the incident after the jump. Read more

WPTY Meteorologist Mark Walden Dies at 38

Mark Walden, the chief meteorologist at WPTY in Memphis, died over the weekend from “apparent natural causes,” according to the station. He was 38.

“Our ABC 24 family is deeply saddened by the passing of chief meteorologist Mark Walden. He was highly respected among his colleagues and served this community as a gifted meteorologist and through his generous work with local charities. He touched our lives and will be greatly missed,” WPTY VP-GM Ardyth Dierks said in a statement.

Walden joined the ABC affiliate in 1999. WPTY described him as “as a gifted meteorologist with a passion for weather, and keeping our community safe and informed.”

The station reported the news of Walden’s death on the WPTY website Sunday morning. Rival stations WHBQ, WMC and WREG reported the news on the Sunday evening newscasts.

“Our family thanks everyone in the Mid-South for their condolences and kind words,” Walden’s wife, Jackquelynne Walden, said. “Mark really loved his viewers. He never met a stranger. And we’re grateful for all the prayers and support.”

Watch WPTY’s tribute to Walden after the jump. Read more

Nexstar Names Lisa Lovell-Ayres News Director of Memphis, Jackson Stations

Lisa Lovell-Ayres has been named news director of Nexstar Broadcasting’s WPTY and WLMT in Memphis and WJKT in Jackson, Tenn, effective immediately.

Lovell-Ayres has been acting news director of the stations since December. Nexstar acquired the three stations from Newport Television last year.

“With her depth of expertise in news production and programming and deep knowledge of the local Mid-South communities, we are confident in her ability to provide effective leadership to build upon the achievements of our Memphis / Jackson news operations,” Ardyth Diercks, VP-GM of the three stations, said in a statement.

Before becoming acting news director, Lovell-Ayres served as the stations’ executive news producer for eight years.

WREG Anchor a Passenger on Stranded Carnival Cruise Ship

Kris Anderson, anchor for Memphis CBS affiliate WREG, couldn’t go far enough on his vacation to get away from breaking news.

Anderson was vacationing with his family on the Carnival cruise ship Dream when the ship had problems with one of its generators on its final stop in St. Maarten. Anderson told WREG both he and his family are doing fine.

He’s been giving the station regular updates on what’s been going on with the down on its luck cruise liner. “Most of the folks who I talk to, in fact 90 to 95 percent of the people I talk to, are enjoying it,” Anderson told WREG. He added most passengers are soaking up the sun and the extra time they get to spend on the Caribbean island. Read more

Veteran Memphis Anchor Pam McKelvy Joins WMC

Veteran Memphis anchor Pam McKelvy is returning to the anchor desk at NBC affiliate WMC.

McKelvy spent 10 years as the primary anchor at WREG, the CBS affiliate in Memphis. She left in 2005 after the birth of her son. At WMC, McKelvy begins today as co-anchor of the 4 p.m. newscast alongside Jarvis Greer.

“For years, I watched Pam on television here in the Mid-South and admired her focus and community spirit,” WMC news director Tammy Phillips said in a statement. “I am thrilled that she’s on our team and I think our viewers will be too.”

Nexstar Names Ardyth Diercks VP-GM at Memphis, Jackson Stations

Ardyth Diercks has been appointed vice president and general manager at three Nexstar stations in Tennessee: WPTY and WLMT in Memphis and WJKT in Jackson.

Diercks was most recently the president and general manager of WTVJ, the NBC-owned station in South Florida. She left in January 2012 after eight years.

“Ardy is a leader with unquestionable integrity and a proven track record of administering successful procedures to enhance relationships and initiate unique programming concepts while advancing the effectiveness of station operations and leading teams to produce revenue generating results,” Nexstar EVP and Co-COO Timothy Busch said in a statement.

Before her time at WTVJ, Diercks spent 20 years at Gannett, where she was general manager at KVUE in Austin, KSDK in St. Louis and WUSA in Washington, DC. She was also a senior vice president of the company for five years. Read more

Himes Named Station Manager, Crain Named Director of Integrated Media at WREG

Memphis CBS affiliate WREG has promoted Jim Himes to station manager and vice president of sales and hired Steve Crain as director of integrated media.

Himes has been general sales manager at WREG for five years. According to WREG general manager Ron Walter, Himes’ broader management role at the station has been in the works for more than a year.

“We recognized his achievements by implementing a plan to give him bigger exposure to news, engineering, accounting and the interactive platform,” Walter said in a statement. “This step to station manager is a natural progression of events.”

Crain begins at WREG immediately as director of integrated media. He comes from crosstown rival WMC, where he has been Internet sales director since 2002. Read more

WMC Reporter Arrested After Refusing to Move Station Vehicle From No Parking Zone

Jason Miles, a reporter at WMC in Memphis, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct on New Year’s Eve after a verbal altercation with police. The Commercial Appeal has details:

Jason Miles, 39, refused to move his Channel 5 News SUV from a no parking zone on Beale Street, police reported. Miles told officers he would move the Ford Explorer in 15 minutes, according to the affidavit.

When asked again to move his vehicle, he responded by calling the officer a name, the affidavit said. Miles allegedly bumped the arresting officer with his chest and tried to resist when officers tried to handcuff him.

According to the affidavit, Miles later apologized to the officers while in custody.

Miles posted $100 bond and was released on New Year’s Day. The station reported briefly on his arrest during Tuesday’s newscasts.

Two Weeks After Breaking His Neck, Joe Birch Returns to WMC

Two weeks after breaking his neck in a traffic accident, Joe Birch will return to the WMC anchor desk tonight.

Birch, who has worked at the Memphis NBC-affiliate for 33 years, will return to his normal shift, anchoring the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts.

“We miss Joe, like many of you do, and we know he is excited to come back,” the station said in a statement on its website.

Longtime Memphis Anchor Breaks His Neck

On his way to mail a thank you gift Tuesday night, veteran WMC anchor Joe Birch was involved in a traffic accident and broke his neck.

Birch’s wife told the Memphis NBC-affiliate that the doctor who treated him following the accident indicated that it was the best possible kind of break a patient can have.  Birch did not suffer any other injuries and he will not need surgery.

Right now, it is unclear how long it will take him to recover.

Birch, who has been with WMC for over three decades, co-anchors the stations 5, 6, and 10 p.m. weeknights newscasts. Read more

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