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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tony Snow named Bush press secretary
Former "Fox News Sunday" host Tony Snow has been named President Bush's spokesman.

Posted by ECTVN on 4/26/2006 -  48 comments

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Carolinas station owner dead
Cy Bahakel, who parlayed a sports radio job in college into a small media empire, has died. Bahakel was the owner of Fox affiliate WCCB/Ch. 18 in Charlotte and a group of smaller TV stations in the south. An Alabama native, he first got into broadcasting calling games while in law school at the University of Alabama, according to the Charlotte Observer. His side job became a life's work when he got out of law and became a broadcasting entrepreneur, starting his own radio and then TV stations around the south. His company's other news-producing holdings are WOLO/Ch. 25 (ABC) in Columbia, S.C., WAKA/Ch. 8 (CBS) in Montgomery, Ala., WABG/Ch. 6 (ABC) in Greenville, Miss., and WBBJ/Ch. 7 (ABC) in Jackson, Tenn. The stations face tight financing and for three years Ch. 25's low-rated newscasts originated from Ch. 18 in Charlotte before moving back to Columbia in the fall. Bahakel, who the Observer reported was in frail health after a stroke a few years ago, was also a principal investor in the Charlotte Hornets basketball franchise. He was 87.

Posted by ECTVN on 4/25/2006 -  0 comments

Friday, April 21, 2006

Chicago icon Walter Jacobson fired
Longtime Chicago newsman Walter Jacobson will reportedly step down at WFLD/Ch. 32 in less than two weeks' time after the station did not renew his contract. In 2004, Jacobson was relieved of his 11-year anchor duties at 9 p.m. following a well-publicized drunk driving arrest. Before joining Ch. 32, Jacobson enjoyed a long career at WBBM/Ch. 2 during which he and Bill Kurtis spent years atop the city's news ratings. For the past two years, he has continued on the Sunday morning show "Perspective" and delivered some commentaries on the 9 p.m. news. In a Chicago Sun-Times interview, Jacobson expressed hope he would be able to do occasional special projects, such as election reporting, for the station, but there has been no word on an agreement to this effect. Meanwhile, Fox-owned stations like WNYW in New York have been re-branding to a standardized look, one of the visible changed to the Fox group under the tutelage of boss Dennis Swanson, who used to run CBS stations, WNBC in New York, and WLS/Ch. 7.

Posted by ECTVN on 4/21/2006 -  0 comments

Thursday, April 20, 2006

WGRZ to air news on Buffalo WB affiliate
Buffalo NBC affiliate WGRZ/Ch. 2 is starting a sports-heavy weekday 10 p.m. news half-hour tonight on the city's current WB affiliate, WNYO/Ch. 49. "10 at 10" will be anchored in rotation by one of Ch. 2's main anchors and devote half of its time to "Sports Zone." This move comes three weeks after Ch. 49 shuttered its own small news department, one of those started up in its owner Sinclair Broadcasting's hybrid "News Central" experiment which provided national news anchored from the company headquarters near Baltimore to supplement a small staff gathering local stories at a number of its stations. That national feed shut down at the end of March, with the company saying it wants to pursue news partnerships with other stations as a less expensive model than producing its own news. Ch. 2 once provided a now-defunct 10 p.m. news on Pax affiliate WPXJ/Ch. 51.

Sinclair axed local news in 10 cities
Besides Buffalo, other Sinclair news operations that have folded include:
*Newscasts at WB affiliates WTTA/Ch. 38 in Tampa, WVTV/Ch. 18 in Milwaukee, and WLFL/Ch. 22 in Raleigh were terminated at the end of March. The Raleigh newscast had run since 1992. Sinclair's WB affiliates are set to be part of the new Fox-owned My Network TV starting this fall.
*Also, WSMH/Ch. 66 (Fox) in Flint, Mich., is scheduled to broadcast its last independently-produced 10 p.m. newscast tonight. On Monday, WNEM/Ch. 5 (CBS) will take over with an hourlong broadcast featuring its main anchors and a sports block in the last quarter-hour.
*In early March, the news was shut down at Sinclair's Las Vegas duopoly. KVWB/Ch. 21 (WB) had its 10 p.m. newscast replaced in April by an hour of KVBC-3 (NBC) news with the main anchors. Ch. 3 also does a weekend half hour. Independent station KFBT/Ch. 33 lost its 7 p.m. newscast.
*In February, WSTR/Ch. 64 (WB) in Cincinnati lost its 10 p.m. news after about two years.
*In January, WPGH/Ch. 53 (Fox) in Pittsburgh axed its 10 p.m. news after a decade. WPXI/Ch. 11 (NBC) hired sports anchor Alby Oxenreiter and took over the slot using its 11 p.m. anchors. Ch. 11 had actually broadcast the city's first 10 p.m. news on its cable channel, PCNC. Ch. 53 anchor Sheila Hyland has a new temporary gig to co-anchor the morning news on KDKA/Ch. 2 (CBS) in place of another anchor on medical leave.
*Last fall, Sinclair's Greensboro, N.C., duopoly lost news. This was the second time Sinclair cancelled news on WXLV/Ch. 45 (ABC), which had begun airing an 11 p.m. news again in addition to the 10 p.m. news that began on WUPN/Ch. 48 (UPN) in 2003. Also, the 9 p.m. news at WTTO/Ch. 21 (WB) in Birmingham closed after two years, with Sinclair entering a partnership with WIAT/Ch. 42 (CBS).

*UPDATE: Also, the news share in Syracuse at WSYT/Ch. 68 (Fox) is set to fold today after Granite-owned WTVH/Ch. 5 (CBS) decided to stop producing 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. news. -- April 21

Posted by ECTVN on 4/20/2006 -  0 comments

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Schieffer commentary planned for Couric cast
Even when Katie Couric takes over the "CBS Evening News" in the fall, current anchor Bob Schieffer will likely stick around for some cameo appearances on the reformatted broadcast. Schieffer, who has garnered lots of praise pinch-hitting for Dan Rather for the past year, has reportedly been offered a twice-a-week commentary slot on the Couric "Evening News," but he has yet to accept the new role. Schieffer, who also does a commentary on his Sunday political talk show "Face the Nation," told the Philadelphia Inquirer he is not sure if he is up to writing three a week. However, he said he is excited that the newscast is becoming more competitive in the ratings and wants to help out. "With all the excitement that Katie has created by coming over here, it really has rekindled some of my competitive juices," he told the Associated Press. "I think it would be fun to be part of this." Commentaries have not been a regular feature of any network newscast for more than a decade.

Posted by ECTVN on 4/19/2006 -  0 comments

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 founder Don Fitzpatrick dead
Don Fitzpatrick, a TV news agent who started the website, has died. Fitzpatrick developed an online community for the TV news business starting from the very early days of computers, with his e-mail newsletter Rumorville in the late 1980s. The newsletter provided gossip and newspaper articles about the industry and later was renamed Shoptalk and posted on the website, which added "The Watercooler" discussion board, a key venting place for TV news staffers. The website has been a part of the job website for the past few years. Fitzpatrick's online ventures stemmed from his work of two decades as a headhunter for local news anchors and reporters based out of San Francisco. By 2000, Fitzpatrick had closed his company Don Fitzpatrick Associates. In 2005, he was given a special award at the annual Radio-Television News Directors Association conference. Fitzpatrick reportedly died after being released from an Alexandria, La., hospital where he was being treated for intestinal bleeding. He was 56.

Posted by ECTVN on 4/18/2006 -  0 comments

Monday, April 17, 2006

Prescription change for CBS flagship
Staffers at WCBS/Ch. 2 are greeting the new week in the midst of a shakeup: the station fired its news director on Friday and today is premiering new anchor teams and an updated on-air look. Dianne Doctor, with Ch. 2 for three-and-a-half years, presided over the hiring of several reporters from WNBC/Ch. 4 and the implementation of a harder-edged newscast with simple blue graphics. At one point, the word "senior" was added to her vice-president title after a good May ratings book. "Known in the business as the 'horse whisperer' of local television news, Dianne has once again worked her magic to establish CBS 2 as a force to be reckoned with," said then-general manager Lew Leone in a 2004 release. Ch. 2, a longtime third-place finisher in New York's local news derby, has nevertheless suffered from constant talent changes and had trouble holding on to the strong CBS lead-in for its 11 p.m. news. Doctor, who was previously Ch. 4's news director, will be replaced at least temporarily by assistant news director and KNBC alum Kim Godwin. Meanwhile, the station unveiled a new video backdrop for its dayside news set, similar to the one used on Ch. 4's nighttime set, to accompany two of its new anchor teams: Maurice DuBois and Kate Sullivan (morning) and Roz Abrams and Mary Calvi (noon and 5 p.m.). New graphics, music, and promotional adveritsements also debuted.

Posted by ECTVN on 4/17/2006 -  0 comments

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Quote of the Day
"Mother Nature reclaimed the Mississippi Delta. If she wants to move the delta, or the city for that matter, then she will."
-- WCNC-36 Charlotte weatherman Brad Panovich, working at sister station WWL-4, shared his thoughts on the state of New Orleans (

Part 2 of a Special Edition
The roof may have blown off its newsroom, but WLOX-13 is still fighting to provide information to viewers in the hard-hit Biloxi/Gulfport area. How other stations are helping out, plus a check on other media outlets affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Previous Coverage
Hurricane not good for TV trucks
Mobile station also damaged

WLOX update; reporter on roof
Hurricane hits WLOX building
New Orleans stations in high gear

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