By Dan Trigoboff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/29/2002 7:00:00 PM
All news is local. Contact Dan Trigoboff at (301) 260-0923, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or fax (413) 254-4133.
WFLA-TV 'Stalking' Ban Lifted
Tampa— The court order issued earlier this month under Florida's stalking law enjoining WFLA-TV Tampa reporter Steve Andrews from approaching a drunk-driving defendant ended Dec. 19 following an evidentiary hearing before the same judge who issued the order. But, noted Andrews's news director Forrest Carr, even the temporary order had damaged Andrews's ability to do his job and set an unfortunate precedent for the use of stalking statutes against journalists.
Orders intended to prevent stalking are frequently issued liberally by judges wishing to preserve order and protect petitioners—typically women—claiming to be living under threat. Media lawyers say the temporary injunction here misused the stalking statute and threatened the practice of journalism.
A New News Network With Angels
Atlanta— A broadcaster here says that next Monday he'll be launching the American News Network (ANN), which will provide national newscasts and news updates for independents and other news-less stations passing millions of homes in dozens of markets across the country, including Los Angeles and Atlanta.
Founder and CEO Vincent Castelli, who runs Prism Broadcasting, owns low-power WANX-LP and Class A station WANN-CA, both based in Atlanta, and who has been affiliated with conservative political TV efforts called America's Voice and the Renaissance Network.
Castelli says the fledgling network will start off using video from ABC's NewsOne service voiced by its own anchor team. ANN's Angels, Castelli said, are the network's five "classy, articulate and attractive" female anchors, including former CNN anchor Patti Tripathi.
ABC said it will be providing only video feeds but will not offer reports using its correspondents or from its affiliates. Much of ANN's distribution will be to stations with a religious bent; Castelli said that the newscasts "will be family-friendly, but the news is the news."
Reno Station Sold for $41.5M
Reno— Gray Television, which reached an agreement to purchase Smith TV's KOLO-TV Reno for $41.5 million in September, took over the station in mid December and quickly filled two vacant top-management positions.
Terry Cole, who had been president and general manager of WJHG-TV Panama City, Fla., is KOLO-TV's new president and general manager; Matt James, who has been station manager for KHSL-TV and KNVN(TV), Chico-Redding, Calif., becomes news director.
Indiana Station Gets L.A. Stations' Sets
Los Angeles— WKJG-TV, Fort Wayne, Ind., the 104th-largest market, is the new home of three news sets auctioned off by Viacom's KCBS-TV-KCAL(TV) Los Angeles on E-Bay. The first bids rose from $5,000 to the winning $26,500 by WKJG-TV General Manager John Dawson.
The station triumphed over some strong competition, particularly from WSIL-TV in Carterville, Ill.
Dawson exclaimed, "The second-largest market in Indiana will now have a set from the second-largest market in the country. How cool is that?" Several TV managers say it's worth three time as much.
The L.A. stations plan to give the proceeds to a scholarship fund for the children of cameraman Larry Greene, who died on assignment in the Persian Gulf in September. Dawson said he'll fly out to L.A. to look over his purchase, from which he'll pick one set for his own station; he'll likely sell the rest.
He said he immediately received e-mails from other bidders and industry sources in Texas, Illinois, Virginia and as far away as Bahrain.
Univision Lands in North Carolina
New York— Spanish-language giant Univision has agreed to buy Bahakel's WKFT(TV), an independent serving Raleigh-Durham.
Call It the 'Big Tenn.'
WUXP(TV) Nashville says airing of the Tennessee high-school football championships proved competitive with nationally televised sporting events, even outdrawing Tiger Woods at times, according to WUXP'sGM Steve Mann. The games aired over a network including WBXX-TV Knoxville, WFLI-TV Chattanooga and on Time Warner Cable in Memphis. A similar effort was a success in Alabama, where WABM(TV) Birmingham led a network including WBPG(TV) Mobile, WRJM-TV Montgomery and cable WB affiliate WAWB in Huntsville.
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