By Dan Trigoboff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 7/22/2001 8:00:00 PM
Bittersweet home, Alabama
Eric Land, a second-generation TV-station general manager, is used to taking over troubled stations.
When he arrived at WBMG(TV) Birmingham, Ala., a few years ago, he determined that a total overhaul was necessary, quickly changed all sets and graphics, took the news off the air for more than a month while he replaced the on-air staff, and even renamed the station WIAT-TV.
But when Media General Broadcast Group President Jim Zimmerman brought him to his new home at Tampa, Fla.'s WFLA-TV, a successful station by any measure, Land found a station troubled by the murder of Weekend-Operations Director Danielle Cipriani a few days before.
In his first meeting with the staff, Land said, he shared prayers and committed to working through the grief as a team.
Reporting at the end of the month to the Media General flagship, Land said that even a successful station "still has room for growth." Once you climb the mountain, "the job is to look for new peaks."
Local news, signing off
The decision to cancel news at WEVV(TV) Evansville, Ind., came suddenly for the few dozen members of the station's news staff, but parent Communications Corp. of America says the station's low ratings had been apparent for some time—even as its entertainment programs were improving.
The CBS affiliate's noon, 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts will be replaced by syndicated runs of Home Improvement and M*A*S*H at first.
Contracts will be honored, and the dismissed staffers will receive severance and can use station facilities to make tapes.
It's unusual for a Big Three affiliate to be without news, but company spokesman Tim Lynch says the network will likely be happy with higher-rated shows leading into Dan Rather's newscast.
Houston anchor is honored
Late KHOU-TV anchor Sylvan Rodriguez will be honored by the city of Houston with a new park named for him in Clear Lake, said Mayor Lee Brown last week.
Rodriguez, a popular figure in Houston for more than 20 years before his death from cancer last year, has also had a school named for him.
No-show in L.A.
KNBC(TV) Los Angeles weatherman Christopher Nance waited at Hawthorne Memorial Park late Monday, July 16, for escaped prisoner Kevin Jerome Pullum to surrender to him, but Pullum, convicted of attempted murder, never showed.
The station had received a call from someone claiming to be the Pullum, who said he would surrender to Nance and a camera crew. Nance was not in the station at the time but was contacted along with the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. The man claiming to be Pullum did not appear.
A second call was received at the station, a surrender set up with a camera crew as witness, but again no escapee, and the massive manhunt for Pullum continued into the latter part of last week.
The station said it was unsure why it, or Nance, had been contacted.
'I' had it first
Former WJW(TV) Cleveland investigative reporter Carl Monday's dealings with his former station may not have ended with his switch to cross-town rival WKYC-TV after 22 years at WJW. Both Monday and his former station claim ownership of the name "I-Team" in the market, and the issue may be settled in court, as lawyers' letters have already begun flowing.
WJW says its use of the name precedes Monday's, while Monday, who believes he and the term "I-Team" became synonymous over the years, says he registered the name with the state in 1996.
Jones leaves Meredith
Cary Jones resigned last week as president of the Meredith Broadcasting Group, citing personal reasons. The company announced a search for a replacement. In the interim, Group Executive VP Doug Lowe will take over.
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