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Milwaukee

Does News Director Turnover Hurt a Station’s News?

TV_SetWhen WTMJ news director Bill Berra announced he was leaving for WFLA in Tampa, FL, the Milwaukee market lost its longest serving news director.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel media writer Duane Dudek points out the three remaining news directors at Milwaukee’s network affiliated stations all have a close to two years of experience in the community compared to Berra’s nine years.

How does news director flux or stability affect what viewers see?

“Stations and companies have figured out that they can’t keep changing people every 18 months and have success,” said [on-air talent agent and media blog writer Rick] Gevers. Having veterans in news management is essential to knowing where the bodies are buried.

“They know who the mayor was before the current mayor, and the story from behind the story five years ago that a reporter is covering.” Read more

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Mark Strachota Named VP-GM of Weigel Broadcasting’s Milwaukee Stations

Mark StrachotaWeigel Broadcasting has named Mark Strachota vice president and general manager of its Milwaukee properties, including CBS affiliate WDJT, independent station WMLW, Me-TV affiliate WBME and Telemundo affiliate WYTU.

Strachota is currently the general manager of Time Warner Cable SportsChannel. In his new role, which begins on March 12, he will also have oversight of MOVIES! Milwaukee, This! TV Milwaukee, Bounce TV and TouchVision.

“Mark is the perfect fit for our Milwaukee stations,” Weigel Broadcasting Co. EVP of local media Bob Ramsey said in a statement. “His leadership skills and knowledge of the Milwaukee market makes him the right person to lead our stations forward.”

Strachota replaces Jim Hall, who was recently promoted to vice president of business development at Weigel.

WTMJ GM: ‘I Believe in Local Broadcasting’

wtmj logoAs Joe Poss starts his second week as the general manager of WTMJ in Milwaukee, he talks to the Journal Sentinel about his plans for the station:

About four years ago, Poss introduced live local sports programming to [his former station] WACY, which today carries more than 100 events a year, mostly high school basketball and football, but also Timber Rattlers minor league baseball. “I believe in local broadcasting,” Poss said. But, he added, WTMJ “is already doing a great deal of local product. I don’t see a direct opportunity for sports.”

[...] Asked for his opinion of WTMJ’s news gathering, presentation and segments like “Dirty Dining,” Poss said: “Ask me in a year after the news director is in place for a little while.” But he said weather coverage is “a core responsibility.”

“As a viewer, I love getting my weather from television,” and “I think there’s a responsibility” to provide it, he said.

Melinda Davenport Joins WISN in Milwaukee

melinda davenport wisnMelinda Davenport is joining WISN, the ABC affiliate in Milwaukee, as the breaking news anchor for the morning newscast.

“Melinda understands our mission to bring viewers relevant information that impacts their daily lives,” news director Chris Gegg said in a statement. “The ability to clearly deliver breaking news information in our constantly updating world takes experience and talent, and Melinda brings both. She will be a great addition to our morning team.”

It is a move within Hearst for Davenport, who has worked at WMUR in Manchester, N.H., since 2011. She most recently anchored the station’s weekday noon newscast and weekend evening newscasts.

Milwaukee Anchor Talks About the Gender Gap of Viewer Expectations

kim_dress_wtmjWhat’s the difference between men and women on-air? WTMJ morning anchor Susan Kim thinks the answer may be found on the scale.

Kim revealed that a female viewer messaged her on facebook to tell her she looked pregnant in a dress she was wearing on the show yesterday morning. “She also told me to tell Vince [Vitrano], ‘great tie,’ said Kim. “I passed the message on.”

“Here’s the thing. At first I laughed, no big deal, I wasn’t offended and thanked her for her feedback,” Kim wrote on her facebook page. “But the more I think about it, the more those comments make me feel bad for women… in general.”

Kim said the emphasis on women’s weight makes her “sad.” She added, “Do we have to be so perfect… even if we’re on TV… that we have to have a flat stomach… and if we don’t… the observation is made that we look pregnant? I’m not looking for compliments. I’m just wondering if that’s really how women are viewed.” Read the entire post after the jump. Read more

Joe Poss Named VP, GM of WTMJ

wtmj logoJoe Poss has been named vice president and general manager of WTMJ, the NBC affiliate in Milwaukee. His appointment is effective February 17.

It is a move within Journal Broadcast Group for Poss, who has been general manager of WGBA-WACY in Green Bay since 2011. Before that, he was the station’s general sales manager for six years. He has also worked in sales at KTNV in Las Vegas, WSVN in Miami and KMSP in Minneapolis.

“With his successful background in broadcast leadership and media sales, and his great rapport with clients and colleagues, Joe will be a welcome addition to the TODAY’S TMJ4 team,” Debbie Turner, executive vice president of television for Journal Broadcast Group, said in a statement. “We are excited for the enthusiasm and expertise he will bring to the Milwaukee television market.”

Poss replaces Steve Wexler, who was named executive vice president of radio for Journal Broadcast Group next month. More in the official release after the jump. Read more

Bill Berra Leaving Journal Broadcast Group

bill berraBill Berra is stepping down as vice president of news for Journal Broadcast Group and WTMJ in Milwaukee next month, TVSpy has learned. Berra will stay with the NBC affiliate through the Sochi Olympics, which begin Thursday on NBC.

A station spokesperson tells TVSpy Berra’s last day will be March 7 and the search is underway for his replacement.

No word yet on what’s next for Berra, who joined WTMJ in 2005 from WFTS, the ABC affiliate in Tampa. He has also worked as news director for WSYX in Columbus, WKMG in Orlando, KSAZ in Phoenix, KTVI in St. Louis and WREG in Memphis. He began his local news career reporting for WTMJ’s radio station, Newsradio 620.

WTMJ Expands Morning Newscast

wtmj logoMilwaukee NBC affiliate WTMJ is expanding its weekday morning newscast by 30 minutes. Beginning January 20, “Live at Daybreak” will air from 4:30 to 7 a.m.

“People’s morning routines are changing. As more of our viewers are getting up earlier, we want to be right there with them,” WTMJ general manager Steve Wexler said in a statement.

Susan Kim and Vince Vitrano anchor the morning newscast with meteorologist Scott Steele and traffic reporter Caitlin Morrall.

Telemundo Wisconsin Adds Sandra Torres as Anchor

torres_croppedSandra Torres has joined Telemundo Wisconsin as co-anchor for the 10:00 p.m. news.

Torres told TVSpy she will continue reporting for Milwaukee CBS affiliate WDJT. Both WDJT and Telemundo Wisconsin are owned by Weigel Broadcasting and share news resources.

Torres has worked at WDJT since June 2012. She started her career at Telemundo Chicago and has also worked for WMAQ in Chicago as a content producer.

WDJT Hires Rockford Morning Anchor

saunders_wqrfSachelle Saunders is joining Milwaukee CBS affiliate WDJT.

“She is going to be a weekend anchor and will report three days a week,” WDJT assistant news director Tracy Davis told the Rockford Register Star.

Saunders said an on-air goodbye to viewers of WTVO-WQRF in Rockford, IL, on Christmas Eve.

She started at the ABC and FOX duopoly in October 2010.

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