News Articles

Station Break

11/01/2008 08:00:00 PM Eastern

Communications breakdown

An internal flap at WBZ-TV Boston went public when a memo written in an apparently angry moment by General Manager Ed Goldman was leaked to both local papers. The memo suggested that a wall was being erected between WBZ(AM) radio and its co-owned TV station.

At issue in the memo had been the appearance at the radio station of New England news icon and competitor Natalie Jacobson from rival WCVB-TV. The TV station execs apparently were embarrassed that they had not been told in advance of Jacobson's visit—she was discussing her 25th anniversary in the market—and were thus not able to greet her properly. They also felt it was awkward that WBZ-TV anchor Joe Shortsleeve delivered a radio promo for his upcoming late newscast with Jacobson sitting in the booth.

A WBZ-TV spokesman said that, despite the memo, which referred to the radio station's "callousness and lack of respect for the ch. 4 newsroom," there would be no lasting rift between the CBS-owned entities and that there have been no changes in policy regarding cooperation with the radio station.

Josh Binswanger, co-host of The History Channel's This Week in History, has returned to local news as a weekend anchor at WBZ-TV. He left a morning host slot at Fox's WTTG(TV) Washington last year, he says, when the station told him he couldn't do both its morning show and the cable show. Binswanger is a Boston native and was a reporter-anchor for WBZ in 1994. The CBS-owned Boston station sees no conflict, he says. He will anchor weekends at WBZ-TV at 6 and 11 p.m., in a schedule change that also sees Jack Williams changing from Monday-Thursday and Sunday to Monday-Friday.

WWJ-TV launches newscast

At long last, CBS-owned WWJ-TV launched its new newscast, sort of. Although the newscast is new to WWJ-TV, which hasn't seen news in years, it shares anchors, management, staff and equipment, as well as ownership, with WKBD-TV. "While the show is new, the team is not," the station says. "Veterans Rich Fisher and Amyre Makupson, both native Detroiters, will anchor the 11 p.m. newscast. Meteorologist Jim Madaus has First Warning Weather and Chuck Garfein has Sports."

The Monday-night launch, following the NCAA finals between Arizona and Duke at about 11:45 p.m., drew a 5.2 rating and a 13 share. Tuesday night was the first real competition at 11 p.m., and the numbers were 3.4/8. WKBD was third of the three 11 p.m. newscasts both nights. General Manager Mike Dunlop says, "We were pleased. But it would have been much better if Michigan State had made it to the final game."

Friendly fire

KPHO-TV Phoenix reporter Donna Rossi was hurt covering the melee that took place Monday night after the University of Arizona Wildcats' loss to Duke University at the NCAA basketball finals. Rossi was struck on both legs by shrapnel apparently from police non-lethal fire, was treated at the scene by paramedics and remained there, reporting. Police had fired stun grenades and rubber bullets into the crowd of rioters after about an hour and a half of activity that included setting cars ablaze and other property damage.

Rissi was live at the time and exclaimed in pain when she was struck. "I said 'I've been hit,'" adding "ow" a few times, she recalled. "Then I looked down and saw blood coming from both my pant legs."

A former Phoenix police officer herself, Rossi said she was reluctant to criticize the police action and said she had not made a complaint to police. Maybe, she said, police didn't use proper discretion in clearing the area of journalists and bystanders, "but that was a risk I was willing to take."

Doubleheader

It was a big week for popular WBBM-TV Chicago sports anchor Tim Weigel, who has been off the job for months while recuperating after surgery for a brain tumor. Not only was Weigel back at work, covering the Cubs on Opening Day, but he was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame as a living legend.

Newsroom with a view

Lisa Ling (c), co-host of ABC's The View, visits WCVB-TV Boston to discuss with local anchors Susan Wornick and Jim Boyd her upcoming run in the April 16 Boston Marathon. Ling is running the race to benefit a fund in honor of her late cousin and uncle to benefit "Ali & Dad's Army," a U. Mass Memorial Foundation fund dedicated to researching pediatric cancer.

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