By Dan Trigoboff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/22/2001 8:00:00 PM
Long arm of TV
Richard Kohl killed a Gary, Ind., cab driver 40 years ago in a $14 robbery, walked away from a prison work-release program in 1971 and was captured 30 years later after an Indianapolis TV station brought it to the attention of area authorities.
WRTV(TV) Indianapolis News Director Debbie Bush said the story on Indiana fugitives was a local tie-in to the Texas prison break in January. A local detective then monitored phone calls to Kohl's mother and discovered the escaped killer using an alias. Kohl had apparently become adept at being a fugitive. He tried to grab some money and escape from the federal marshals through a bathroom window. Kohl then got the officers to take him to a local hospital, claiming he was having a heart attack. Eventually, his fingerprints proved his identity.
Reporter Eric Weisfeld's story focused on a few of the 30 known Indiana escapees, including interviews with the victim's families. The family of cab driver Roy Bradshaw—including a daughter born after Bradshaw's murder—had apparently never been told Kohl had escaped.
Strong arm of TV
WJLA-TV Washington executive sports producer Rich Daniel got to be part of the main event and a subsequent news piece after he helped subdue a belligerent passenger during a flight home from an Amsterdam vacation. During the long Northwest Airlines flight, Daniel had noticed a man, apparently angered over the plane's smoking restrictions, screaming profanity in the face of a female flight attendant.
Daniel said he read later in an FBI report that the man had been drinking vodka before getting on the plane and then supplemented his supply, along with cigarettes, from the plane's duty-free cart.
Daniel asked the flight attendant if everything was under control and was assured it was. But later, the attendant summoned him to help restrain the still-furious passenger. "By then," he said, "he'd spat at one flight attendant and threatened another. But the attendants stayed calm."
Daniel, at 6 feet 2 inches and weighing 240 pounds, helped hold the man while a flight attendant slipped a pair of handcuffs on him. Then, upgraded to first class, Daniel had nodded off when he was pressed into service again to loosen the cuffs so that they would not cut the struggling passenger. When the plane landed, disembarking was delayed as federal marshals boarded to make an arrest. Daniel was also delayed, as airline officials presented him with two roundtrip passes anywhere the airline flies.
'Break a leg'
WFTC(TV) Minneapolis certainly hopes a troubled dress rehearsal will mean a good show. As the station gets ready for its news debut on April 30, it has had to work out glitches that could have paralyzed a broadcast.
"It could have happened on-air," muses a relieved News Director John Fischer, of two significant technology crashes recently. As a result of its experience, Fischer says, the station will employ such tried and true alternatives to server-based clips as tape playback. "We'll have three or four different ways of getting material on the air" for the debuting 9 o'clock news, he says.
WFTC's 40-person news department, operating since December, will start with a weeknight newscast, with plans to expand to weekends next year.
Maybe it's that famous moon over Miami, but another couple has met at WFOR-TV and will marry. Last year, viewers watched as anchor Phil Lipoff proposed to Juli Auclair on air. They recently tied the knot. This year, it's anchor Maggie Rodriquez, who joined the station last summer and, at the apparent instigation of General Manager Steve Mauldin, began dating the sales manager. The popular anchor insists she'll keep her own last name when she marries Mike Rodriquez next year.
Missing in Mississippi
WHLT(TV)'s newscasts were honored by the Mississippi Associated Press Broadcasters Association for Best Newscasts of 2000 in a small market. We hope that fits on the headstone. The Hattiesburg station pulled the plug at the end of last month due to low ratings.
Home after hiatus
After a year off the Albuquerque air due to a noncompete clause in his contract with his former station, KOAT-TV, Dick Knipfing returns in June via KRQE(TV). Knipfing has been working at KRQE as managing editor. His co-anchor will be Erika Ruiz, who comes from KDFW(TV) Dallas.
All news is local. Contact Dan Trigoboff at 301-260-0923, e-mail email@example.com , or fax 413-254-4133.
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