Thursday, June 30, 2005

Iler Moving On

As reported HERE first, KARK News Director Rick Iler resigned today. In speaking with Arkansas Iler had this to say:
“I do want to make it clear that my resignation has nothing to do with Nexstar or Perry’s firing,” Iler said. “An opportunity came along that I’ve talked with Nexstar about and it’d be hard to pass up. “Everybody has been great and there are no hard feelings with anybody or anything like that,” Iler added.

Iler's last day is July 22nd.

KARK News Director Resigns

This from an insider:

Nexstar’s “Golden Boy” Rick Iler, currently News Director at KARK in Little Rock announced to the station today that he was resigning his position as News Director. In a tearful goodbye Iler thank his staff for the great things they accomplished over the last four years. He told them he was grateful to have such a great staff and they were part of the reason he was able to move up and forward.

The announcement comes 3 weeks after they fired their General Manager. Iler reassured everyone that his reasons for leaving was one of a professional move and had nothing to do with KARK or Nexstar. There were rumors that Iler would be the new GM and many people believed today’s announcement was to name him GM. For several months rumors have been flying around about Iler talking to several large media groups about jumping ship. Iler told his staff that he was not ready to tell them about his futures planes until a later date. Iler will stay at the station until July 22nd.

Nexstar will have a tough time filling Iler’s shoes. It is made harder with the fact they have to tell their candidates “come to KARK were we have no General Manager, no Associated Press, we don’t subscribe to Nielsen, and by the way we will be off cable at the end of the year”. WOW, were do I sign? Knowing Nexstar like we all do they will drag their feet in hiring Iler's replacement so they can pocket his salary and at the last minute they will hire an inexperienced EP or ND and pay them $40,000. Good luck to the KARK Newsroom…

Where Are They Now

Today we feature former KTHV anchor/reporter T J Holmes.

T.J. began his career in journalism in Joplin, Missouri. His next visit was to Little Rock, Arkansas where he started his career in broadcasting as a weekend reporter and anchor for KTHV.

What's doing now? T J is a 5pm news co-anchor at NBC-11 serving San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

'Best of Arkansas' Announced

The Arkansas Times has announced the 2005 Best of Arkansas winners. There is a category for just about everything you can imagine. Below are the winners in the media categories:

KATV, Channel 7

Kate Sullivan
RUNNERS-UP: Scott Inman, Andy Pearson, Pamela Smith.

Ed Buckner
RUNNERS-UP:Barry Brandt, Tom Brannon, Ned Perme.

Craig O’Neill
RUNNERS-UP: Paul Eells, Steve Sullivan.

Kate Sullivan Profiled

Source: Arkansas Times Kate Sullivan has come a long way from the new-on-the-job general assignment reporter at KATV, Channel 7, who on an early as-signment spent a month cooped up in an apartment with only the Internet to take care of all her necessities. Five years later, she’s anchoring KATV’s news at 5 and 6 p.m., and Times readers rate her the state’s best TV news person.

Also in that short time, she’s now just behind KTHV’s Anne Jansen as the grand dame among female anchors in the Central Arkansas mar-ket in terms of tenure.

"That assignment, the e-partment, helped people get to know me," Sullivan recalled "People still come up to me in the drugstore and say, ‘We’ve watched you grow up here in Arkansas.’ People really connected and have followed my career."

The native of Lakeville, Mass., about 40 miles south of Boston, says she’s comfortable calling Arkansas home. She may not sound like an Arkie, but her accent is a far cry from what it was before Arkansans first got to know her.

“I sounded like Pat Bradley,” she said, referring to the Massachusetts native who starred as a Razorback basketball player for four years. “No one would want to hear Pat Bradley do the news.”

“And I love Pat Bradley,” she makes sure to add, in a way that people around her have found is her nature.

“She has the nicest smile I’ve ever seen and is genuinely a nice person,” says Bob Steel, a public relations executive and the former KATV news director who hired her away from a South Bend, Ind., station where she worked for two years after graduating magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame.

Today, as Steel says, “her voice has got a real news sound to it.” And, he adds, “She’s pretty steady under fire. I’ve been impressed with her live reporting, the ability to ad-lib, such as at the grand opening of the Clinton Library, which I thought was her best live event yet.”

As a general assignment reporter, she covered everything from tornadoes to explosions to election nights. Now, she blends her anchor duties with other “franchise” reporting that airs three nights a week at 10 p.m. — the “Amazing Arkansas Woman” series, a financial segment called “It’s Your Money,” and “Crimestoppers.”

“I never really came into it thinking I’d be an anchor,” Sullivan said. “I just loved what I did and gradually got promoted. I guess that’s how everyone gets there. I’ve paid my dues. That’s the fun of the job, reporting and being out there and telling the stories. It just adds to being able to anchor.”

Steel said Sullivan’s credentials when she arrived were that she “was very bright and a very good writer. She had an exuberance about her reporting and an excellent way of telling a story. I enjoyed watching her stories on her resume reel. In one, in her standup close, there was a story about fishing and she was holding a giant mackerel. I thought, any woman who can hold a fish is going to fit in in Arkansas.”

TV viewers seem to agree.

Today's Getting Facelift

Well it seems KTHV is not only getting a new studio set BUT Today's is getting a facelift. This notice has been put up on it's website:
Notice. We are making upgrades to the look of TodaysTHV.Com. From time to time during this evening (June, 29 2005) some elements may be missing or not functional for a short periods of time. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for visiting and using TodaysTHV.Com.

THV GM Larry Audas told Arkansas Monday the new set will probably be rolled out tomorrow!

Thanks to David for the tip!!

UPDATE: New graphics surfaced on THV at 10 Wednesday night. ALSO the message on the website has dissappeared so I guess the major change was the new top anchor banner. Was anyone else besides me expecting a major overhaul?

Presidential Address #'s

Source: Drudge

CBS 5.8 [million]
NBC 5.3
ABC 5.0
FOX 3.1
CNN 913,000
MSNBC 313,000

Peacock Peeved at Pax Makeover

Source: Broadcasting and Cable NBC Universal was not happy with Paxson's announcement Tuesday that it was morphing its network into something completely different and would be moving its Pax TV programming to the as-yet little-watched digital space. NBC is a one-third owner in the network.

"NBC Universal was not informed in advance of today's programming announcement issued by Paxson," said the company in a statement. "While we have no direct input regarding Paxson programming, we continue to disagree with the direction Paxson management is taking the company.

"Our concern is that Paxson's strategy will erode our financial investment and, in our opinion, is not in the best interest of any Paxson stakeholder."

"We are doing what is best for our company," Paxson President Dean Goodman told B&C before NBC issued its statement. Goodman says the move was to make its operating structure more efficient and its programing more flexible.

Where Are They Now

Leeza Glazier is in the spotlight today.

Leeza worked at KTAL in Shreveport, Louisiana and KLAX Alexandria, Louisiana. Leeza is a 1999 graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, where she worked at WOUB-TV and Radio.

What is Leeza doing now? She is a producer for WOWK, serving Charleston and Huntington, West Virginia.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Pax TV Becomes "i"

Source: Broadcasting and Cable Paxson Communications says it is changing its name to "i"--an "independent broadcast platform for producers and syndicators," starting July 1.

During a transition phase, both the old Pax TV and the new "i" brands will appear onscreen, after which the Pax TV brand will continue on one of the digital multicast channels of its owned stations (it is multicasting on 45 of its 60 stations).

Paxson President Dean Goodman said the move was to make its operating structure more efficient and its programing more flexible.

Goodman says the new independent channel will be "a mix of original series, movies, specials, sports and news that appeals to a variety of interests. Supported by our broad distribution platform, we want to evolve our primary network as a strongly branded television destination for all viewers and for producers and syndicators seeking a national venue for their programs."

Goodman told B&C that the model for i would include both programming that Pax owns and time it would sell to syndicators and other producers.

For example, a small syndicator could buy its way onto a 60-station national launch pad for a show, then sell all the time it in.

Goodman would not say what the ratio of programming it paid for to programming time it sold would be, nor, citing ongoing litigation with one-third owner NBC, how the move jibed with that network's charge that migrating to a paid programming model violated its contract.

An NBC spokeswoman said the network was not aware of the changes. "It would not be unusual for NBC not to know what was going on," said Goodman. "But we are doing what is best for our company."

But for the family-friendly Pax TV, that means a move to digital, where there are currently few TV sets to receive it. Its fate likely depends on the government requiring cable to carry broadcasters' multicast channels. "That will be crucial to the entire industry," said Goodman, not just to Pax TV.

Goodman wouldn't give a timetable for the transition from Pax TV to "i" (the actual channel logo will not have quotation marks around it), but said it would be within a year.

Last Week's Evening News Ratings

Source: TV Newser The NBC Nightly News was #1 in total viewers last week, while ABC's World News Tonight was #1 in the 25-54 demographic. "Despite 91% coverage on Tuesday and Thursday, World News Tonight still outperformed Nightly News by 190,000 Adults 25-54 (2.0 vs. 1.9)," an ABC press release says. This is the sixth consecutive week ABC has beat NBC in the demo. For the week of June 20, in total viewers and the 25-54 demo:

NBC: 7,510,000 / 2,290,000

ABC: 7,330,000 / 2,480,000

CBS: 6,370,000 / 2,020,000

> Also: In the second quarter of 2005, Nightly News was #1, but WNT outperformed NN by 70,000 adults 25-54. "This marks the first time since 1996 that World News Tonight has out-delivered Nightly News among key demo viewers in the 2nd quarter," an ABC press release says.

Mosler Back on Little Rock Morning TV

...well at least this morning anyway. A blog reader left this in the comments section of the Matt Mosler 'Where Are They Now' post.
It was weird seeing Matt filling in for Tom Brannon on Today's THV This Morning.

Where Are They Now

Today we feature Deedra Wilson.

Deedra was previously the morning anchor/reporter for KTAL Newschannel 6 in Shreveport, La. There she worked closely with the Susan G. Komen Foundation and served as the yearly host for the Easter Seals Telethon. Deedra was also called upon regularly to speak at inner city schools. Her very first job was KTVE Region Ten News in Monroe, La.

What's Deedra doing now? She has been a reporter/fill-in-anchor with WZTV Fox 17, in Nashville TN since September 2004.

UPDATE: This from an e-mailer: "Deedra Wilson is now anchoring the 5pm show at KBMT in Beaumont, Texas."

Thanks for the tip!!

Monday, June 27, 2005

KARK Community Service Awards to be Handed Out

KARK will present the 28th annual Community Service Awards Tuesday night. The event is co-sponsored by The Arkansas Governor's Office, The Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Volunteerism and St. Vincent Health System.

Each year, nominations are accepted for Community Service Awards for outstanding voluntary service which benefits Arkansans.

The awards are scheduled to air Tuesday night at 8pm on KARK.

Veteran Broadcaster Receives Award

Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Tom Longfellow, an 81-year-old veteran broadcaster, recently received the Arkansas Advertising Federation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Longfellow has worked at KHOZ-AM in Harrison and KARK-AM, and KARK-TV, Channel 4, in Little Rock. He helped create the Arkansas Radio Network and KARK-FM. He now works for Citadel Broadcasting and is a top salesman for its stations in the market.

THV's New Set To Debut Later This Week

Last week myself and alot of blog readers were wondering if KTHV was getting a new set or was just cutting the set budget. Well we all know now a new set is on the way and THV GM Larry Audas provides a little more details in an article on Arkansas
Audas said to look for KTHV’s new set, debuting “probably Thursday.” It will feature more views and a window looking out into the station’s Weather Garden.

THV's New Star

There's a creature living in Today's THV's garden and no it's not Craig O'neal. It seems for the past several months a cat has been calling THV's Weather Garden home and everyone at the station has adopted it. The cat's name is Larry and has apparently made several on air appearances. You can read all about the story behind how Larry came to live in the Weather Garden HERE.

But this just makes me wonder if this is what prompted another Little Rock station to adopt a pet last month. Hmmmmmmmm.....

The Incredible Shrinking Sportscasts

Source: The Times-Picayune Most sportscasts on local TV news are shrinking like a New Orleans Saints fourth-quarter lead, and to visit the roots of the trend -- which isn't just local -- you have to go back, back, back, back, back to the 1979 launch of the all-sports cable-TV network ESPN.

Until then, local-TV-news sportscasters were -- let's recite the cliché together, sports fans! -- the only game in town.

Ever since, scores and highlights have become a round-the-clock torrent on cable TV, all-sports radio and the Internet.

"The fact of the matter is (sports fans) can go anywhere, anyplace and find anything they want at any time of the day," said Mimi Strawn, news director at New Orleans Fox affiliate WVUE-Channel 8. "There's no reason for people to wait till 9 p.m. to get sports."

For most stations, the trend has resulted in cutbacks in sportscast air time, sports-dedicated staffing and sports-related travel.

Though some stations are bucking the trend, local TV sportscasts here and elsewhere are going, going, almost gone.

Read complete article HERE.

Where Are They Now

Today we feature Katie Mitzner.

as a student at Mason High School, in Mason, Michigan, Katie knew that she wanted to be a news reporter. While there, she helped launch the school's news station and anchored the morning newscasts.

After graduating from Alma College with a communications degree, Katie worked in a variety of internships in Lansing, before heading south to Miami and an internship at WPLG, the ABC affiliate.

WLNS in Lansing was Katie's next stop-this time as a general assignment reporter and fill-in weather anchor.

From there, she headed south to KARK, the NBC affiliate in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Katie also worked as a reporter at WJRT abc12 in Michigan, working out of the Flint newsroom.

What's Katie doing now? Katie is the communications director for the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

New Pew Study Out

A new Pew Study has been released. Anyway a few items pertain to local news level so I thought I would post those items here. For the complete results of the study GO HERE.
Local TV Seen as Most Fact Oriented

The Best Thing About the Media

May Nielsen Book Shows Fox’s ‘News at Nine’ on the Rise

Source: Arkansas The first wave of May television ratings by Nielsen Media Research Inc. of New York has crossed the Outtakes desk, so we’ll spend the next couple of weeks sorting out the movers and shakers among the categories and numbers.

Perhaps the most pleased of the four bigger networks’ newscast teams is that of KLRT-TV, Channel 16, which has furthered its steady growth pattern every ratings period since its inception just more than a year ago, with the May book being no exception to that trend.

This time around is the first repeat ratings period for comparison now that Fox’s “News at Nine” has been through an entire cycle. The May ratings period in 2004, which started just four weeks after KLRT hit the airwaves, showed the newscast with a household rating of 1.8 and a 3.2 share. This May the newscast broke out with a 4.4 rating and 7.8 share, showing that the station has strengthened its legs in drawing viewers to the earlier 9 p.m. time slot.

“In the industry, growing as fast as we have is atypical,” said Chuck Spohn, general manager of the station. “It’s a great vote of confidence for the product we’re offering and the time period we selected.”

Spohn pointed out that ratings with viewers age 25-54 — as seen across the five books recording KLRT figures — have shown an increase pattern of 0.9, 1.2, 1.5, 2.3 and 3.

Steady, indeed.

“You hesitate to put a cap on the numbers you’d like to hit,” said Michael Fabac, news director at KLRT. “I think as long as we’re showing growth and we continue providing our brand of news that is first, complete and local, then just how high you can reach is something we’d hate to limit at this point.”

There’s no doubt that a solid showing from some of Fox’s improved programming aided KLRT’s numbers, especially this time around with successful seasons of “American Idol” and “The OC” along with the new “House” and more reality-based shows.

“Having ‘American Idol’ two nights a week definitely did not hurt our viewership,” Fabac said.

Spohn said that despite the talent show’s success, it was the Thursday night newscasts that proved to be the station’s best overall.

Other Numbers Analyzed

Although there’s plenty of time in the next few weeks to analyze how the big three affiliates fared, we’ll touch on the highlights this week while we’re at it.

The new morning show by KATV-TV, Channel 7, was on the books this time around, and it’ll be interesting to see if the station thinks it’s the type of show that will take a few books to get on its feet or if the format is just not what morning viewers want to see.

Dale Nicholson, the station’s general manager, and Randy Dixon, the news director, were out of town and could not be reached for comment last week.

“Daybreak” pulled a 5.8 rating and 22 share, second behind “Today’s THV,” which had an 8.3 rating and 31 share.

At 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., KATV is still very dominant, taking both slots with huge margins of a 12.7 rating and a 33 share and a 14.7 rating and 32 share, respectively. KARK-TV, Channel 4, came in second at 5 p.m. weekdays with a 6 rating and 15 share, while KTHV-TV, Channel 11, took second at 6 p.m. with a 7.9 rating and 17 share.

KTHV is hoping to better challenge KATV at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. this fall when it moves a solid contender into the lead-in spot: “Ellen” will hit the airwaves at 4 p.m. Currently, “Oprah” on KATV draws an 11.2 rating and 38 share, blowing away KTHV’s “Jane Pauley,” which has a 1.9 rating and a 6 share.

“Ellen isn’t going to take down Oprah or anything, but I think it’ll definitely improve our chances at making some more headway with viewers at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.,” said Larry Audas, general manager at KTHV.

At 10 p.m., KATV slid while both KTHV and KARK gained in the ratings. KATV won the slot with an 8.5 rating and 22 share, while KTHV follows right behind with a 7 rating and 18 share. KARK had a solid showing, with a 6 rating and 15 share behind the anchor team of Jancey Sheats and Bob Clausen.

On a side note, Audas said to look for KTHV’s new set, debuting “probably Thursday.”It will feature more views and a window looking out into the station’s Weather Garden.

Next week we’ll have a complete chart of the May ratings, more analysis from the stations and a closer look at the book’s trends.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Anchor Go Round Weekend


My oh my there are lots of fill-ins at the news desks this weekend. So here we go:

KATV- Beth Hunt filled in for Pamela Smith Saturday. Ned Perme is in the weather center this weekend as the hunt for a weekend weather dude OR gal is underway.

KTAL- Darrell Rebouche is in the anchor chair as that station can't seem to find a regular weekend anchor. Brian Keane covered the weather department Saturday.

KTHV- Tom Brannon was covering weather on Saturday as Becky Ditchfield was off due to filling in for the vacationing Ed Buckner this past week.


KTAL: Weekday anchor Shawn Patrick is in the anchor chair today. Wonder how much longer Channel 6 will go without a permanant weekend anchor?

KATV: Ned once again manning the weather center and Scott Inman is at the news desk filling in for Pamela Smith.

KTHV: Tom Brannon is filling in for Becky Ditchfield in the weather center.

KSLA: Ed Duranczyk is filling in for Ron Young in the KSLA weather center.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Coverage You Can Count On In Texarkana!

KSLA literally invaded KTAL's backyard in Texarkana this past week. KSLA broadcasted from Central Mall in T-town during its 5:00pm and 6:00pm newscasts. All the main anchors were on hand along with an audience. KTAL has offices and studios in Central Mall. KTAL once was the dominate station covering news in Texarkana but over the last couple of years the coverage of news from T-town by KTAL has decreased. There are handful of pictures of KSLA's broadcast from Central Mall HERE.

Short Takes

  • Cynthia Turner: As 60 Minutes Wednesdays prepares for the great newsroom in the sky, CBS will be edging it out slowly, first by moving it to Fridays at 8pm beginning July 8. With that move,the show will also change back to its original title, 60 Minutes II. Big Brother debuts on July 6 at 8p.

Where Are They Now

Today we feature Matt Mosler.

Matt is perhaps best known as a television meteorologist, morning show host and award-winning reporter. For nearly 15 years Matt helped wake people up in such cities as Jackson, MS, Austin, TX and Little Rock, AR. In Little Rock, Matt helped make KATV’s “Daybreak” the top-rated local morning show in the country. Matt has flown with the Navy’s Blue Angels, appeared on the Today show with Willard Scott, was one of the first reporters to interview John Grisham and won more than $8,000 in prizes as a contestant on the Wheel of Fortune. Matt is currently part of the “Morning Edition” at KLAZ radio in Hot Springs where he also serves as the stations staff meteorologist.

Whats's Matt doing now? Matt Mosler is the president of Beautiful Feet, Inc. a non-profit ministry intended to inspire, encourage and motivate the believer to want to be all God created them to be. Matt speaks and sings more than 150 times a year for churches, schools and civic groups. He has recorded two CD’s, writes a syndicated column, has completed one book and is at work on another.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Got a tip? Share it ANONYMOUSLY. CLICK HERE to send your tip. Your e-mail address and name ARE NOT required to send an anon tip. Wanna e-mail it? E-mail your tip to

KATV To Carry Crowning of Miss Arkansas Saturday

Yep it's time to crown a new Miss Arkansas and like in years past KATV will carry the crowning live Saturday night. Competition begins Wednesday night at 7:30 at the Summit Arena in the Spa City and will wrapup Saturday with the crowning of the new Miss Arkansas Saturday night.

Where Are They Now

Former KSLA, News 12 anchor/reporter Tony Taglavore is in the spotlight today.

Tony has 19 years of television experience, behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, Tony's television career began at KLMG-TV in Longview, Texas. Tony worked 17 years as an Anchor/Reporter at KSLA-TV in Shreveport. He left KSLA to become news director for the ABC/FOX stations in from Victoria, Texas.

What's Tony doing now? Taglavore is the News Director at KTVE/KARD in Monroe, Louisiana.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Where Are They Now

Today we put yet another former KTAL, Newschannel 6 anchor/reporter in the spotlight. That person is Jennifer Andrews.

Even though ATN couldn't find any info on Andrews' past experience in television news, ATN did learn Andrews has more than 13 years of experience in the biz. We also know Andrews left KTAL in early 2001.

What's she doing now? Well Jennifer has found a home at KTVE, Region 10 News in Monroe, Louisiana where she serves as the 6 & 10 anchor/producer.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

New Set For KTHV?

Well I have gotten a few e-mails and also noticed the comment on the message board about KTHV's new set. I too have noticed the new digs BUT just assumed it was used every now and then, but it seems as of late it has become home. Don't have a screen grab of the set to post but it looks like it could be a temporary set. I hope it is anyway.

From the comments section: New set is on the way. No date has been set for it to be revealed.

UPDATE: 6/23 It's now being said in the comments section the new set will be revealed either Wednesday OR Thursday of next week.

May 2005 Ratings--Little Rock

6:00 - 7:00 AM // KARK 5/20 // KTHV 8/29 // KATV 5/20

5:00pm // KARK 7/17 // KTHV 4/10 // KATV 13/31

6:00pm // KARK 7/14 // KTHV 7/15 // KATV 13/31

10:00pm // KARK 7/16 // KTHV 10/22 // KATV 11/24

Does anybody have the Shreveport #'s? E-mail them to OR use the anonymous tip box. Remember when using the tip box your name and e-mail address are not required to send tips. Just leave the items as is.

UPDATE:2004/2005 comparison:

6:00 - 7:00 AM

2005 // 2004

KARK- 5/20 // 4/14

KTHV- 8/29 // 7/28

KATV- 5/20 // 7/26

5:00 pm
KARK- 7/17 // 8/17

KTHV- 4/10 // 5/12

KATV -13/31 // 13/30

6:00 pm
KARK- 7/14 // 7/13

KTHV- 7/15 // 8/15

KATV -14/29 // 15/28

10:00 pm
KARK- 7/16 // 7/15

KTHV- 10/22 // 12/23

KATV- 11/24 // 12/24

Where Are They Now

Former KTAL anchor/reporter Ed Myrick is in the "Where are they now" spotlight.

Myrick began his career at KNOE in Monroe, Louisiana. Myrick left Monroe for KFDX in Wichita Falls, Texas. Then it was off to KTAL in Shreveport. After leaving KTAL Myrick headed back to Texas and took a 2 year hiatus from television.

What's Ed doing now? Ed is Managing Editor and anchor of the 5,6 and 10pm newscasts at KTEN, serving Ada, Ardmore and Denison, Oklahoma.

Monday, June 20, 2005

ATN EXCLUSIVE: Sneak Peak at KYPX 10PM 'Newscast'

As reported in May KYPX will soon debut a 10pm newscast hosted by Doug Krile who currently hosts a talk-back news program on KWBF-TV, Channel 42 at 5:30pm weekdays. ATN asked Krile a few questions about what viewers can expect when the newscast begins July 1.

  • Is the date for the debut of the 10pm newscast still July 1? Krile: Start date is still July 1, although we're airing our 30 minute special on the USS Razorback Submarine on July 4th.

  • Besides yourself who else will be involved with the newscast on air? Krile: Eric Britt (our stock analyst from The WB 42 5:30 Report) will help with an expanded business segment. We'll sometimes bring in someone to comment on a story. And look for Sheryl Lackey to be a contributor.

  • How will this newscast be different than the other newscasts on the air at 10pm in the Little Rock market? Krile: It's not going to be a traditional newscast. We're getting positive feedback on the approach we're taking with The 5:30 Report, so I'll apply somewhat the same philosophy to the KYPX program. It's titled"It's A Wrap". The basic concept is that we'll focus on (and talkabout) the most important information of the day. Once again, we're not chasing the local stories in an attempt to compete with the other stations at that level. And we'll continue what we do on the 5:30 -focus on longer-form issues that are generating debate at a national level and we'll continue to utilize the blog concept and treat the blogosphere as a source of comments. We'll also have a tech segment.Those who have followed my career know that I've always been interested in that aspect. At KARK, we were the first to utilize email in the market (back in the days of the Prodigy service) and were among the first TV stations to get a custom Prodigy ID. And we were one of the first TV stations to put live video on the net.

  • Some folks would say KYPX should put the newscast at 9pm to counter KLRT's. What's your response to that? Krile: Been there. Done that. At 9 pm. Also, we have very solid 7-10 pm programming lined up when the PAX programming goes away.

  • Is KYPX committed to this project for the longhaul? Krile: As with the 5:30 Report, we'll have a contract with CNN to provide some of the content. So, yes, it should have a pretty solid lifespan.Obviously, we are producing these programs because we believe in local programming and a local presence. I simply don't believe that it has to be your traditional "newscast". As you'll note, we don't use that term to describe these programs. They are information and content based.

Where Are They Now

Today we feature Greg Hurst.

Greg was a reporter and anchor at KFMB-TV in San Diego, California before working 10 years in the news business in New York at WABC. He began his broadcast career at KATV-TV in Little Rock in 1981.

Nationally and internationally, Greg has reported on everything from Washington politics, to the Pope in Mexico, from plane crashes, to floods and hurricanes. He's traveled coast to coast to report on earthquakes in California and the World Trade Center bombing in New York. Greg's work has also taken him abroad, reporting from the Kremlin in Russia, to the ruins of war in Viet Nam. His interest in politics has led him to serve as the moderator for numerous political debates, and has allowed him to cover every major political convention since the Reagan era.

What's Greg doing now? Greg is an anchor/reporter at KHOU in Houston, Texas. He has been with KHOU since June 1999.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Clear Channel Announces Changes in Regional Leadership

Source: Arkansas There have been some changes at Clear Channel involving upper management types who ultimately oversee two of its Little Rock TV stations.

Chuck Spohn, Clear Channel's local general manager and vice president of KLRT-TV, Channel 16, and KASN-TV, Channel 38, is staying put, but the company has a new regional vice president and executive vice president/chief operating officer.

On June 8, Clear Channel promoted Don Perry, this region's former vice president, to executive vice president and chief operating officer. He will oversee operations for the company's 40 television stations in the U.S. as well as the division's six regional vice presidents.

The company filled Perry's former position last week by promoting Craig Millar, the vice president and general manager of KOKI-TV and KTFO-TV in Tulsa, Okla.

Perry said Millar's primary role now will be to oversee Clear Channel's operations in Wichita, Little Rock and Tulsa, as well as fulfilling his duties as GM in Tulsa.

"As far as viewers are concerned and what happens here on a day-to-day basis, this should present zero impact and has no downside," Spohn said. "The upside is that it's a positive to have somebody who is familiar with our operation and our market as chief operations officer."

Viacom, CBS Split Seen as Positive by Local Affiliate

Source: Arkansas The recently announced spinoff of CBS as a separate company from media giant Viacom is seen as a positive deal from the top all the way down to its local affiliates, said Larry Audas, KTHV-TV, Channel 11, general manager.

Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. will begin operating as separate publicly traded companies by the first quarter of 2006.

"All it does is puts the network in a better position to focus more energy on providing a better product," Audas said.

Audas said he was in attendance as CBS held its annual network meeting two weeks ago at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, where newly appointed CBS Corp. leader Les Moonves spoke to general managers from affiliates across the country about the split.

"The mood was very upbeat and positive," said Audas. "This is something that both sides see as a chance to improve on what they have to offer."

Under the deal, CBS Corp. will control the CBS and UPN broadcasting networks, Viacom Television Stations Group, Infinity Broadcasting, Viacom Outdoor, Paramount and King World television production operations, Showtime, Simon & Schuster, and Paramount Parks.

Viacom's end of the deal has the company in control of its cable operations. The company will house MTV Networks, which includes MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Comedy Central, CMT, Spike TV, TV Land and others. It will also control BET, Paramount Pictures and Paramount Home Entertainment.

KTHV is owned and operated by another media conglomerate, Gannett Co., which will still have control over nearly everything except the national programming passed on by CBS.

"We're positioned by Gannett to make good local decisions here, and that's what we do. Then we interact with CBS in regard to its network programming and those types of things," Audas said.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Prelim Morning Show #'s

A tipster sent these #'s to ATN:

Daybreak got a 5-25
tied with KARK
THV has 7 - ?

KARK will promote its #2 in ratings

UPDATE: 06/19/2005 A look back at the November 2004 book:
KTHV with “Today’s THV” remained the morning leader at 6 a.m. with an 8.2 rating and 29 share, while KATV’s “Daybreak” was close behind with a 7.5 rating and 27 share. KARK’s “News 4 Arkansas Today” had a 3.5 rating and 14 share.

6/20/2005: Numbers clarified thanks to a comment poster:

In May from 6:00 - 7:00 am, KTHV had a 8/29. KATV had a 5/20. Last May KATV had a 7/26. KARK ties with KATV with a 5/20. KATV lost 2 rating points as KARK and KTHV gained one rating point each. KATV lost 6 share points as KARK gained 6 share points.

Anchor Go-Round Weekend

For the most part all the normal anchors seem to be at the desk this weekend.

At KTAL, News Channel 6, Al Pierce was at the anchor desk as that station continues without a regular weekend news anchor. KTAL weekend sports anchor Dave Foster is MIA. Weekday sports anchor Dave Schwartz filled in on Saturday.

As KATV continues without a regular weekend weather dude, Barry Brandt is at the helm of the weather department. Ned Perme filled in last weekend. Wonder if they have any candidates for the weekend weather position yet?

'Nightline' Newsies Can Relax

Source: Broadcasting and Cable Look for Nightline to get jazzed up over the coming weeks. But that doesn't mean a move to the ersatz smoky nightclub set, complete with jazz combo, that I wrote about a couple of months back when ABC was weighing replacement formats pending Ted Koppel's departure at year's end.

The network shot some pilots, toying with a top-to-bottom reinvention of the show that included changing its name, focus and base of operations, from Washington to New York.

But now the idea is to let Nightline keep its name and evolve over the next six months into what it will look like in the post-Koppel era. Last Friday's edition, for example, at press time was scheduled to have Bob Woodruff anchor a show with different stories built around a Father's Day theme. Other Nightline newscasts throughout the summer are likely to trade the show's traditional single-topic format for a multi-topic structure. Nightline won't abandon its news and public- affairs roots, but look for the show to retain the live format that helped make its reputation, as well as sprinkle in more human-interest and pop-culture fare.

In addition to Woodruff, a number of ABC News stalwarts, including George Stephanopoulos, Terry Moran, Chris Bury, John Donvan and Jake Tapper have surfaced as part of a rotating anchor cast. One idea being bandied about is to do away with the traditional anchor format altogether and go with something more akin to 60 Minutes, where a cadre of high-profile correspondents each introduce their own pieces.

“We can't just move into a post-Koppel era by simply putting a new person in the anchor chair,” says Nightline executive producer Tom Bettag, who plans to go out the door with Koppel. “I was at CBS when we did that, going from Cronkite to Rather, and it can just be disastrous if you don't shape the show to fit who the talent is going to be.”

Bettag has told Nightline staffers that, for “the foreseeable future,” the show will continue to be done from Washington, although, within ABC News headquarters in New York, it's still an open question whether the show may eventually make Gotham its home. Either way, the noise from New York is that the days of Nightline's being a quasi-independent D.C. fiefdom are coming to a close. ABC News brass is intimately involved in all changes being made, and network higher-ups are keeping a watchful eye. Nobody is happy that Nightline's ratings have been in descent in recent years. About 3.6 million people on average watch Nightline, down from 3.9 million a year ago. That's significantly below the 5.8 million who watch Jay Leno or the 4.5 million who tune into David Letterman.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Q and A with Jancey Sheats

This is the first of what I hope will be several in a series of Q and A's with the folks that anchor and report the news in the Little Rock and Shreveport markets.

I thought I would kick things kicked off with one of the newest faces on Arkansas TV. I thank Jancey for taking a few minutes out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for ATN.

< The Little Rock market was a big step up for your career, what kind of challenges do you face here versus the other markets you have worked in?

Anytime you move to a new market there is always the challenge of connecting with viewers and being accepted in the community. This is especially hard when you are replacing an anchor that has been a fixture in the market for years. As I have in the past - I dove in head first here in Little Rock. I always just try to be myself and try to realize you can't please everyone.

< What do you like to do in your free time?

I am the "Queen" of travel - always looking for new and exciting places to explore. I am an avid runner and try to hit the gym at least three days a week. (It's more of a stress reliever than for health reasons.) I also love to read and am "slowly" learning to play golf.

< At KARK you co-anchor the daily 5pm, 6pm and 10pm newscasts, is this your first time of being at the anchor desk for all the evening newscasts?

I have held about every position there is in a newsroom - producer, reporter, photographer, and anchor. This is my first time to anchor all three evening newscasts, although I still enjoy getting out in the community and reporting.

< You've been on the air for several months now, are you finding more and more people recognizes you when you're out shopping, eating out, etc.?

I don't think people necessarily recognize me - but they definitely recognize the name. Channel 4 did a great job in getting my name out in the community before I got here. I do get a lot of "you look a lot different in person than you do on-air." I think people don't expect me to be as tall as I am.

< So far what's your impression of "The Natural State"?

I am extremely happy with my decision to move to Arkansas. I have met the nicest people and thankfully everyone has welcomed me with open arms. Plus, I'm excited to live somewhere that actually has four seasons.

Where Are They Now

Recognize the person in the picture? Yes it's Karen Image hosted by Photobucket.comFuller, a fixture for a number of years at KATV.

A native of Jonesboro, Arkansas, Karen earned her Bachelor of Arts in Radio/Television from Drake University, located in Des Moines, Iowa. She began her career as a weekend anchor for KIMT-TV in Mason City, Iowa and was quickly promoted to weekday morning and noon anchor. Fuller then moved to Arkansas in 1994 and was an anchor and reporter for KATV.

What's Karen doing now? After leaving KATV in October 2003 she is co-anchor of the evening newscasts at KCTV5 in Kansas City.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

KSLA Plans Fourth of July Blast

Making plans for the Fourth of July? Well KSLA, Channel 12 is planning a little shin-dig along the Red River. It's being dubbed 'KSLA News-12's River Blast and will offer a little bit of everything. Enterntainment, food, contests and of course fireworks to put the cap on the festivities. The website says the fireworks,"will last 22 minutes and for the first time will be launched from a barge on the Red River offering viewers an even larger than life choreographed show than the previous years. "

The Event will run from 4:30pm until 10:30 on Monday, July 4th.

KARK 'Restructuring and Enhancing' Sports Department

Source: Arkansas A spokesman for KARK-TV, Channel 4, on Thursday denied rumors that the Nexstar Broadcasting-owned NBC affiliate is shutting down its sports department but said changes are on the way.

"There's a rumor going around that we're closing down our sports department and that's not true," Jeff Whatley, assistant news director, said. "For competitive reasons we can't go into it, but we are enhancing our sports and restructuring it as a way to enhance, not take away from us."

News director Rick Iler was out of town and unavailable for comment.

UPDATE:4:42pm News director Rick Iler was out of town, but did comment through a message left with Arkansas Business.

"That is not true," he said. "I'm not sure exactly how that rumor got started. We are going to be doing some different things with our Razorbacks coverage and some other things but we will have a full sports department."

Whatley said the fact that sports anchor Mark Rushing being on vacation this week has added to the rampant rumors.

"He'll be back and nobody is being told to leave," he added.

Where Are They Now

Today we put former KSLA, Channel 12 anchor/reporter Kysa Daniels in the spotlight.

A native of Baytown, Texas, Daniels graduated from Texas A&M University and earned a master's degree from Eastern New Mexico University. Daniels has worked as an anchor and reporter for ABC affiliate KMBT-TV in Beaumont, Texas, and host of Southeast Texas Weekly and was a primetime and morning anchor for CBS affiliate KSLA-TV in Shreveport before leaving and becoming an anchor for CNN-Headline news in September 2000.

What's Daniels doing now? Kysa left CNN in either last 2001 or early 2002 and started Clarion Communications, the umbrella company for her public speaking and writing projects.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

KARK Scrapping Sports?

Is this just a rumor or does it hold water? ATN received this earlier today from an e-mailer: "Word on the street is that KARK dumped local sports. They will use a feed from Fayetteville to "cover" the Razorbacks."

This morning ATN e-mailed KARK's ND to get confirmation of this BUT has not gotten a response. SO maybe all the other eye's and ear's out there can shed more light on this.

UPDATE: 6:00pm CDT As KARK"s newscast came on I didn't see a sports anchor in the chair. AND I don't recall any sports during the 5pm newscast. But I was trying to eat supper so I could have missed it. We'll see in about 20 minutes if a sports segment is aired.

Update: 6:20pm EDT Sports is on. hmmmmmmmmmmmm....

Someone e-mailed requesting a venue to discuss"local news hotties". Well it seems everyone has forgotten about the Ark-La-Tex News message board. It hasn't gotten much traffic BUT that would be the best place to do the talking. So start the discussion.

Poll Results: Who is Little Rock's NEWS Station?

You had a week to vote and the results are in. We asked blog readers: Who is the NEWS LEADER in the Little Rock Market? Well here are the results. KARK came in first with 96 votes OR 48% of the votes; KTHV came in second with 58 votes OR 29 % of the votes; KATV came in third with 36 votes OR 18% of the votes AND KLRT came in last, with 10 votes OR 5% of the votes.

Where Are They Now

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Today we feature Kent Bates.

Bates spent four years as an anchor at KARK in Little Rock. From 1994 - 1998 Bates worked at WGHP in North Carolina.

Bates is a highly decorated journalist who has more than a decade of experience in news anchoring and reporting. Bates has received an Associated Press award for a documentary, an Emmy Award for spot news event coverage, and the Edward R. Murrow Award for best news series. Also, one of the broadcasts that Bates anchored won an Emmy for best newscast.

Bates has covered many big stories in his career. From Hurricane Fran in 1996, the devastating Arkansas tornadoes in 1999, to the terrorists' attacks in September 2001.

What's Bates doing now? He is currently the the evening co-anchor of the 5pm, 6pm, and 11pm newscasts at WFMY in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Where Are They Now

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Former KTHV Met Marc Weinberg is in the spotlight.

Marc was born in Connecticut and lived there for about 10 years before moving to Massachusetts. In 1996, he moved to Oklahoma to attend the University of Oklahoma where he received a bachelor's degree in Meteorology with a minor in Mathematics. In the summer of 1999 he took a job in television at KSWO in Lawton, Oklahoma. In 2001, he moved to KTHV in Little Rock, Arkansas.

What's he doing now? Marc is Chief Meteorologist at WDRB/FOX 41 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Monday, June 13, 2005

KATV Rolls At Murrows

Source: Broadcasting and Cable KATV Little Rock, Ark., took home two Edward R. Murrow awards, the most of any station--for overall excellence in small-market television and documentary--as the Radio-Television News Directors Association handed out its top prizes for excellence in electronic journalism Monday.

NBC News led the national news outlets, with four awards, but CBS News won for overall excellence, one of its two wins. ABC News’ World News Tonight was also a winner and ABC News Radio took three awards, including overall excellence in radio news.

Among cable networks, MTV News won in the news documentary spaces, while ESPN was recognized for feature reporting and CNN for writing.

The awards will be presented at the RTNDA Awards Dinner on October 17, 2005, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York. RTNDA has been awarding Murrows, named after the former CBS reporter and news executive, since 1971.

Where Are They Now

Image hosted by

Today we feature David Shuster. From 1994 - 1996, Shuster was a political reporter for KATV (ABC) Little Rock, Arkansas. He led the station’s coverage of “Whitewater,” including the indictments, trial, and convictions of Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker.

Shuster began his journalism career in CNN’s Washington, D.C. bureau. From 1990 - 1994, he was an assignment editor and field producer, helping CNN cover the Persian Gulf War and the 1992 Presidential election campaign.

From 1996 - 2002, Shuster was a Washington, D.C. based correspondent for the Fox News Channel. He was at the Pentagon on 9-11 and led Fox’s coverage of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan. During the Clinton administration, Shuster led Fox’s coverage of the Clinton investigations including “Whitewater,” the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the Starr report, and the Senate impeachment trial.

What's Shuster doing now? Today David is a MSNBC correspondent based in Washington, D.C. He reports daily for the network’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews.”

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Anchor Rewind Sunday at KTAL

Here we are once again with longtime KTBS anchor Al Pierce back in KTAL's anchor chair . Heck KTAL needs to put Al back on the payroll full-time. Good to see the familiar faces on the air during the weekend newscasts.

Coming Soon...New Reporter at KATV

ATN has learned a new reporter will soon be on the air at KATV. Word has it Leland Vittert will be joining "Arkansas' News Leader" soon. From what we can gather Vittert interned at KNWA in Fayetteville.

KATV's Morning People

Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette KATV, Little Rock’s ABC affiliate, is billing the new fourhost format of GMA Daybreak, its a.m. chat fest, as "the morning show that everyone is talking about." We wanted in on the conversation, so we wandered onto the set the other morning.

The hour was a quarter of 5. The first of the co-hosts we encountered was Nicole Capri. The show’s new organizing idea is to bring together four different women who exhibit different personality styles, so that everyone viewing at home can identify with someone.

Capri’s specialty is fun. Her subspecialty is wackiness. Before joining the cast a little over a month ago, Capri had never appeared on television before, let alone earlymorning television.

"I get up at 2," she told us, holding up two fingers. "Beth gets up the earliest," she said, speaking of Beth Hunt, who is the show’s serious news reporter. "She gets up at 1:30." She made a "1" with her index finger, then flashed three fingers, then used them to form an "0." Daybreak airs from 5 to 7 a.m., leading into Good Morning America. After finishing her on-air duties, Capri leaves the station for her regular job at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. The new schedule "is kickin’ my booty," she confided in a whisper.

Capri joined her three cohosts at the kitchen-island kind of station that serves as the program’s version of an anchor desk. In addition to Capri and Hunt there were Melinda Mayo, who announces the weather and is the show’s moral center, and Shareese Kondo, a former Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter. Kondo’s specialty is smartness. With about a minute until airtime, Mayo briefed the other women on some of the things they’d be talking about. "A toddler died in a day-care van," she said. "Oh, crap," Kondo replied.

The cameras began to roll, and the women reminisced about the previous evening’s thunderstorm. "I loooved it," said Capri. The storm was news to Hunt, the reporter. "I didn’t even hear it!" she said. (Earliest to rise; earliest to bed.) "I want to sleep like Beth sleeps!" Capri enthused.

As the show cut to a commercial break, we wandered into the control room. It was like the nurse’s station in intensive care: dimly lighted and watchful. Producers sat facing a wall of televisions. Some were tuned to competing stations, some to allnews formats, some to the raw feed from the Daybreak set. The producers piped music into the studio to keep the hosts’ spirits up. Someone cued up "Funky Town." Hunt responded by putting up her arms like she was lifting weights, or the victim of a holdup, and bobbed back and forth rhythmically.

The show came back from break. The theme of the month’s recipe contest was announced: rosemary. "Rosemary?!" spat Dana Bradley, the show’s associate producer. "What is rosemary ?" Every time she said the word "rosemary," she managed to sound more and more contemptuous of it. "Who picked rosemary? Rosemary is boring!"

On an average morning, Daybreak is interrupted 16 times for commercial breaks. Bradley estimated the women were actually on camera for about an hour; an additional half-hour is devoted to pre-taped segments and live reports by correspondents. The remaining time is spent on advertising.

After Tuesday’s taping, Kondo stopped by the control room to visit with Patrick Green, the show’s producer. Like Capri, Kondo is new to television (unlike Hunt and Mayo, who were already with the station and are considered career broadcasters). Therefore, she reasoned that if the new format wasn’t working, the newbies would be more vulnerable.

"How can you tell if people are watching?" she asked Green. "My neighbor asked me that. He wants to make sure you can tell that he’s watching." Green responded that ratings lagged about four to six weeks behind a broadcast period, so they’d begin gauging viewer response in about a month. "Then we’ll know if Nicole and I get to stay," she said. The show’s spirit of song-snippetingsnipping grabbed her, and she sang from The Clash: "Do we stay or do we go?"

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Dumping Nielson

Source: Broadcasting and Cable Turned off by high fees and faulty service, TV-station owners in small markets are going without ratings, and that includes KNWA and KARK in Arkansas.

Pretty good article by B and C's Allison Romano on how the ratings are getting dumped by small TV stations. There is a quote from KNWA General Manager Blake Russell. Here's what Russell has to say about the Nielson ratings:

“People don't think the world can exist without Nielsen, but it can,” says General Manager Blake Russell. “We live in a world of estimates now. Why should I pay for something that is flawed?”
The article goes on to say,"At least three dozenstations in cities from Little Rock, Ark., the No. 59 market, to Wichita Falls, Texas, the No. 143 market, are canceling their Nielsen subscriptions."

"The stations say new technology—such as the data gleaned from digital cable boxes—promises to one day complement or replace Nielsen ratings. For the moment, though, they are content to resort to cheaper methods they say are just as efficient, from compiling local survey data to polling viewers"

Then the article on to say how one broadcasting group in particular is or has canceled their accounts with Nielson altogether: "The latest wave of protest is led by Nexstar Broadcasting, which owns and operates 46 stations in 27 small and midsize markets. Over the past several years, the company has been whittling down its Nielsen accounts. Only three Nexstar markets—Springfield, Mo., Lubbock, Texas, and Hagerstown, Md.—still buy Nielsen data, and, when their deals expire, they will not renew, says Senior VP Brian Jones. That will make Nexstar the only major station group to spurn Nielsen altogether. Jones cites Nielsen's high prices and rate increases as the reasons for the defections: “They placed a value on the product that we are not willing to pay.”

So what are the stations living without the Nielson data: "In place of Nielsen, stations have assembled qualitative data sources they consider viable alternatives. Some buy reports on their markets from Simmons Research, Media Audit and The Media Center. These surveys cover a range of topics, including buying habits, technology use and TV viewing. Unlike Nielsen, which asks its participants to record as they watch TV, these services ask viewers in phone interviews to recall what they have watched."

And since the stations don't pay for Nielson numbers they don't know what their ratings are right? WRONG: Although stations may not pay for Nielsen, they are hardly in the dark on their ratings. Advertising agencies that buy ratings see the data, as do the stations' competitors. Local newspapers and trade magazines often report selected results. Under copyright laws, however, the Nielsen-free stations are not permitted to use ratings in their sales proposals or materials. In interviews, most station execs declined to even discuss their market positions, although they surely know them.

Read the article. No Subscription needed!!

Another Anchor Rewind Weekend at KTAL

Man the 'Anchor Rewind Weekends' continue at KTAL, News Channel 6 in Shreveport. Former KTBS, Channel 3 Sports Director/Anchor Ed Baswell is at the desk anchoring the Saturday early evening newscast.

I'm not complaining, just wondering if KTAL is having trouble finding weekend news anchors.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Nexstar Fires KARK General Manager

Source: Arkansas Though we couldn’t get anybody at Nexstar Broadcasting Inc. to actually say the words, KARK-TV, Channel 4, General Manager Perry Chester was fired last Tuesday and worked his last day at the station on Friday.

A senior vice president of the station’s parent company, Nexstar, made it sound as if the decision was mutual. We think he was just being nice.

“The way I would describe it is we’ve been talking, the both of us, about [Chester] doing some different things and [Nexstar] doing some different things,” said Brian Jones, senior vice president and regional manager for Nexstar. “We worked out an arrangement that Perry is on board with and everybody else is on board with.”

Though “an arrangement” was “worked out,” the only insight Jones gave was that the deal means Chester would no longer be employed by either KARK or Nexstar.

Jones will be in Little Rock “two or three days a week,” he said, to help run the station until a thorough search for Chester’s replacement is completed. Jones oversees 26 Nexstar-owned television stations throughout Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Montana.

Nexstar brought Chester to Little Rock from a company-owned CBS affiliate in Champaign, Ill., soon after Nexstar bought KARK from Morris Multimedia in August 2003. Chester had been with the company for six years before his fate was decided last week.

Another local television executive, who wanted to remain anonymous, said Chester was more or less doomed after Nexstar’s decision last November to cancel KARK’s subscription to Nielsen Media Research’s quarterly ratings and axed an affiliation with the Associated Press.

Nexstar, which also owns NBC-affiliated KNWA-TV in northwest Arkan-sas, also pulled that station’s subscription to the Nielsen and the AP.

It’s no secret among media buyers and sales managers that the Nielsens are a far-from-perfect system, but they also say that it’s all they have to offer advertisers, who line up to buy spots based on who is watching which programs and at what time.

“We wish him well,” said Jones. “He’s been with the company for six years and has done some good things both in the Champaign and Little Rock markets. But he’s going to do some new things now and so are we.”

Channel 4 Yanked From the Air?

Source: Arkansas While talking to Brian Jones, senior vice president and regional manager for Nexstar about K ARK-TV, Channel 4's general manager move, we were told that an issue involving a few of the company’s other stations might soon be making headlines here.

Cable systems Cox Communications and Cable One are at odds with Nexstar, which is demanding a monthly subscriber fee to carry the company’s network-affiliated broadcasts.

As a result, Nexstar stations in the Shreveport-Bossier City, La., Abilene-San Angelo, Texas and Joplin, Mo., markets have been yanked from local cable system airwaves.

“We have requested to negotiate retransmission consent payments from the cable systems involved, which is absolutely our right under the law to do,” Jones said. “They have chosen to not be willing to negotiate for retransmission payments. So, in essence, we come off the air because we shouldn’t have to give it to them for free.”

The fee Nexstar is seeking runs between 25 and 30 cents per subscriber.

None of the stations pulled from the air were on Comcast, which serves the Little Rock market. A Comcast spokes-man could not be reached for comment, but we’ll keep you posted as things progress. The current retransmission consent agreement between KARK and Comcast runs through the end of this year.

“Obviously we’re hopeful to be able to work out an arrangement with those cable systems,” said Jones. “At the same time, we’ve shown our resolve that this is very important to our industry and the future of our business.”

Thursday, June 09, 2005

How CBS must fix the 'Evening News'

Source: Media Life Toni Fitzgerald seems to think he has the answer for CBS to be a player in the 'Evening News' war. Fitzgerald writes:

This is what CBS should do to become relevant again:

1. Sign on a female anchor. This should be a no-brainer. A woman anchor would bring a different and fresh perspective to the news. The buzz alone would draw viewers. It would also draw women. Female news viewership has dipped on all three networks this year. There are lots of female anchors already on cable, such as Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren and CNN’s Paula Zahn. And there are a number of network newswomen who would be a good fit for CBS, including NBC’s Katie Couric and ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas. ABC's Robin Roberts or CBS's own Hannah Storm would also be good choices.

2. Juice it up. The nightly news is stale news. News shows for years got by regurgitating the front page of that morning's New York Times. It doesn't work anymore, not with the constant updates on cable news shows and the internet. Network nightly news has to be that afternoon's news, not yesterday's. That means up-to-the-minute reports from Wall Street and Washington as you see on cable news. Nightly news must also be entertaining, covering pop culture, for example. America is enormously entertained by Britney Spears’ love life and Tom Cruise’s various relationships. Why shouldn't nightly news viewers be as well? Bring on the personalities. Open up a few minutes for debate on a hot topic with fun, opinionated people like Jon Stewart, Bill O’Reilly or Al Franken. Let Howard Stern or other equally outrageous guests rant about whatever. So what if they offend some viewers? At least they'll stay awake.

3. Go shorter and smarter. Come 6:30, no one wants to sit through an interminable book report on much of anything. Monday’s stories on outlawing medical marijuana seemed interminable. Stories need to be shorter, snappier, and have some unique angle. A short feature can be just as intelligent as a long one.

4. Ditch the depressing stories. Leave that to the newspapers. It’s a common misperception that young people don’t watch the news because they don’t care. Wrong. They don’t watch the news because it’s too depressing. CBS in particular needs to do a better job of delivering interesting stories that are not by definition depressing. People turn on the news to learn, not to attend a funeral.

5. Take a page from ESPN. The network’s 6 p.m. “SportsCenter” focuses on analysis and reaction rather than a retread of the news that people have already read on the internet. It poses so-called Burning Questions to its correspondents at the top of every show, offering perspective on the day’s events.

6. Lastly, hire more young correspondents. They’ll have a different idea of what’s important and attract more young viewers. Raid MTV News if you have to.

Where Are They Now

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Today we feature former KTHV anchor/reporter Christine Haas.

Haas has worked at KARE 11 News in Minneapolis, MN. She served as weekend anchor and general assignment reporter for the top rated NBC affiliate in the country. Previously, Haas worked as an anchor/reporter at WTSP in Tampa, FL, at KTHV in Little Rock, AR, WUHF in Rochester, NY and KAMR in Amarillo, TX.

In 2002, Haas was honored with an Emmy award for a story focused on the importance of organ donation. In both 2001 and 2002, she received the prestigious Edward R. Murrow award for Best News Writing. Also during that time, Haas was awarded 9 Associated Press Awards for her reporting and writing. She was also awarded 3 "Best of Gannett" awards including one for "Best Anchor/Reporter.

What's Christine doing now? She is currently anchor of the 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts at KVUE in Austin, Texas.