New York—Just as things were beginning to settle down at CBS flagship WCBS came last week's stunning word that lead anchor Ernie Anastos is jumping ship. Anastos is headed for Fox O&O WNYW, where he will likely pair up with Rosanna Scotto at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.
WNYW gets a well-known and popular face on which to build its future, while WCBS chalks up another change. By year's end, WCBS will have made over most of its anchor team. First, it brought in ex-WABC star anchor Roz Abrams (currently teamed with Anastos), then dumped sports legend Warner Wolf and imported wunderkind Chris Wragge from KPRC Houston to replace him. More recently, WCBS lured WNBC morning anchor Maurice DuBois and placed him in an anchor chair at noon and 6 p.m. In an industry that cherishes stability, that's a lot of change in a short time.
CBS2 GM Lew Leone issued a terse statement to congratulate Anastos on his "success in seeking future opportunities." As for Anastos' replacement, WCBS is lean on options. DuBois would appear the mostly likely candidate, but he has been at the station only a few weeks. Stay tuned.
Orlando, Fla.—CBS affiliates continue to be flooded with letters, calls and e-mails by viewers outraged over the Dan Rather scandal. The CBS affiliates board was scheduled to meet to discuss the matter on Oct. 5. Several news directors and general managers expressed strong sentiments and concerns over how "Rathergate" might affect their stations:
"We all went through a lot of anguish over this 'mistake,' and it's important that the real disservice [to viewers] be acknowledged," WKMG Orlando General Manager Henry Maldonado said in an on-air editorial.
KWCH Wichita, Kan. GM Joan Barrett sent an automated reply to e-mails complaining about the station's position. "CBS has admitted error; now comes the task of deciding how it happened, why and what's to be done about it," wrote Barrett, a former news director.
KELO Sioux Falls, S.D., put its internal reporting guidelines on its Web site. News Director Mark Millage, a former RTNDA chairman, said that any story of such magnitude would be run by at least two high-level managers and a station attorney before it hit the air. "It's great to be first," Millage told viewers, "but it's far more important to be right."
Jim Ogle, news director at WLKY Lexington, Ky., compares the error to that of a Las Vegas gambler who bets it all on one roll of the dice. He told the Courier-Journal, "[Rather] let himself, CBS News and the affiliates down."
Evansville, Ind.—The trucks are loaded and ready to roll. Bob Walters, news director of Nexstar-owned Fox affiliate WTVW, is spearheading a station campaign to collect food, clothing and cleaning supplies for residents of tiny Brewton, Ala., a community devastated by Hurricane Ivan last month.
A member of Walters' church approached him about a plan to fill a pickup truck with supplies. "I said maybe there is something more we can do, as a station," he said. Walters made a few phone calls and lined up a local trucking firm to donate a couple of 18-wheelers. Other Evansville TV and radio stations are helping promote the drive.
"All of those people connected and set in motion a project that, for me, exemplifies how Brewton has been adopted by strangers from far away, as if we were family," said Anna Lee, managing editor of The Brewton Standard. A relief convoy heads for Alabama on Oct. 5.
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WAVY Yorktown, Va.'s Chopper 10 found and rescued a missing 24-year-old woman suffering a diabetic seizure. A fire department rescue team conducted a five-hour ground search for Suzanne Moore after she called 911 on Sept. 22 to say she was disoriented and lost. When her cellphone died, authorities summoned the station's helicopter, which is equipped with infrared cameras.
Pilot John Massey landed after spotting the woman in chest-high weeds. Photographer Tom Marks loaded Moore into the helicopter and took her to a waiting ambulance. She was treated and released from a hospital.