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WWAY News Director Arrested After Driving Station Vehicle Through MLK Parade Route

Scott Pickey, the news director at Wilmington ABC affiliate WWAY, was arrested Monday for driving his station vehicle through the Martin Luther King Day parade route in Wilmington, N.C. WWAY anchor Cacky Catlett reported on the arrest at the top of the station’s 5 p.m. newscast:

During the parade, which started at noon on Front Street, police would not allow WWAY employees to leave the station’s parking lot to get to news coverage. After police told a reporter he would have to wait for the entire parade, which ended after 2 p.m., Pickey asked officers again to allow the reporter to leave during one of the many breaks in the parade. Officers refused to allow this or contact a supervisor for permission. When Pickey got in the car and drove out of the parking lot during another break, police arrested him. He is charged with failure to obey a traffic officer and careless and reckless operation. Pickey was released from jail under a $1,000 unsecured bond.

Pickey’s arrest was also reported briefly on WECT, Wilmington’s NBC affiliate.

Kim Chappell Joins WBND as Evening Co-Anchor

Kim Chappell begins next month at WBND, the ABC affiliate in South Bend. She will anchor the station’s evening newscasts alongside Brian Dorman.

Chappell comes to WBND from WTVF in Nashville, where she used her maiden name, Kim Gebbia. She has previously worked for WXII in Winston-Salem and WECT in Wilmington, N.C.

“Kim has spent her career digging up stories that impact the communities where people live,” news director Aaron Ramey said in a statement. “She has a passion for one-on-one interaction with the folks who are affected by the news. I think that shows in her compassionate approach to story-telling.”

Chappell replaces Krista Fogelsong, who left WBND for WBBH in May.

VIDEO: Thunder Spooks WWAY Reporter

WWAY reporter Cliff Pyron was out in a thunderstorm Tuesday, covering a story unrelated to the weather, when a huge crack of thunder caught him off-guard (video inside). Read more

Wilmington’s WECT Christens New Set, Newsroom

Wilmington NBC-affiliate WECT is officially done with a major renovation project upgrading the studio set, newsroom and greenroom.

The project was approved by WECT’s parent company, Raycom Media, at the end of last year. The studio set was finished over the summer, in the first phase of construction, and the newsroom and green room were next.

More pictures via WECT’s website after the jump. Read more

WWAY GM Andy Combs: ‘I Understand What We Are Doing Makes People Uncomfortable’

“I understand what we are doing makes people uncomfortable,” WWAY general manager Andy Combs told StarNewsOnline recently about his station’s newfound commitment to muckraking.  “People in this market have not seen this by any news outlet in decades.”

In a profile of WWAY’s in-your-face reporting under news director Scott Pickey (pictured), who joined the Wilmington CBS-affiliate in January 2010, StarNewsOnline points out that WWAY has had to develop a different approach to local news reporting in order to compete with perrenial ratings powerhouse WECT.

“I can’t create an anchor that has been in this market for 30 years or afford an anchor with a six-figure salary,” Pickey told StarNewsOnline. “We decided we would focus on content and making a difference that way. We saw a huge opportunity to dig a little more. We’re going to focus on real stories that may have a harder edge to them.” Read more

Meteorologist George Elliott Returns to Wilmington

Popular Wilmington meteorologist George Elliott is back on the air. Elliott left NBC-affiliate WECT at the end of 2008 and now he’s back, but this time it’s with rival station WWAY, an ABC-affiliate.

“I’m really excited,” Elliott said. “I’m really grateful to WWAY for giving me the chance to get back to doing something I love: being part of this incredible community.”

Elliot spent 14 years with WECT before leaving the station so that he could be closer to his brother, who lives in Kentucky.

“We have a great news team and a great weather team in place. George’s presence and personality are the icing on the cake,” said Scott Pickey, WWAY’s news director.

Shady Waste Management Company Kicked Out of Town Following War of Words with WWAY

After a week of aggressively covering the questionable business practices of R3 Environmental, Wilmington’s WWAY finally received a response from the  local waste management company. Although it wasn’t the type of message that the ABC-affiliate was probably expecting.

In response to WWAY’s search for answers, including a running tally of how many days R3′s CEO has been MIA, the company took to its infrequently used Facebook page on Thursday and posted a definition of Yellow Journalism.

Some background: Back in July, New Hanover County chose R3, a local start-up that said it had devised a revolutionary way to convert garbage into biofuel, to manage the area’s trash operations. But after finalizing the agreement in September, R3 has had to continually ask for extensions on its clean-up plan. On March 2nd, the company announced that it could not meet the newest deadline of April 2nd.

While garbage continued to pile up, waiting for R3 to take action, WWAY began looking for answers. Read more