Station Break

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Let My People Go

New York—Tribune Broadcasting and Nielsen Media Research inked an eight-year deal for the service on Tribune's 26 stations. Eight Tribune stations—in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, Dallas, and Atlanta—will participate in Nielsen's local-people-meter service. The people meter, which provides daily demographics, is already up and running in Boston. WLVI Boston will immediately join the service. Nielsen expects to introduce the top 10 markets by 2006, and Tribune stations will participate in that rollout.

Swept Away

San Francisco—With February sweeps wrapped up, Cox Broadcasting's Fox station KTVU notes distinctions against its competition and its Fox brethren. Its 10 p.m. newscast was the top-rated late news in the market. (Second-placed KRON does news at 9 p.m., and four others have 11 p.m. newscasts.) KTVU was the only Fox station in the top 10 markets to have a top-rated newscast during sweeps. In Detroit and Atlanta, the Fox stations came in second. Outside the top 10, Fox stations in Birmingham, Ala., and Greensboro, N.C., also placed first in their markets.

Thais That Bind

Minneapolis—Hubbard Broadcasting's ABC station KSTP dispatched a team to Thailand last week to bring an international story home. Reporter Andy Skoogman and photographer Lorri Burchett accompanied St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly to a Hmong refugee camp and reported on a proposed Hmong migration to Minnesota. Under an agreement with the Thai government, at least 1,500 Hmong may be resettled there. The state is already home to an estimated 60,000 Hmong. Skoogman and Burchett's weeklong series Inside Thailand—The Hmong Exodus
aimed to "put in perspective the impact [the refugees] could have on our community," says News Director Chris Berg.

It wasn't the station's first trip abroad. It sent crews on the governor's trip to Jordan and Iraq, as well as his trip to Bosnia last December. KSTP also had an embedded reporter with American forces in Iraq. "It is not unusual to make this kind of commitment to news," Berg says, "but it is unusual in this market."

Deep Coverage

Denver—As the scandal surrounding the University of Colorado football program swirls, the station that broke the story—Gannett's KUSA—is working overtime to cover all the angles. "Trying to break a new element becomes even more compelling now that state and national media are interested," says Patti Dennis, news director for the NBC station. CU is investigating allegations that sex and alcohol were used to entice recruits. Three women said they were raped by football players and recruits. Separately, a former female kicker said she was raped by a teammate.

KUSA has a political reporter on the story full-time and five other reporters pitching in. Its sports reporters are also involved, although Dennis admits that's a challenge: "The sports department wrestles with the closeness they have with these people."

People

Denver—Tribune's WB station KWGN has tapped Jim Zerwekh as VP/GM. He joins from WBZL Miami, where he had been VP/GM for four years.

Chicago—Reporter Rafael Romo is joining CBS's WBBM as a general assignment reporter. Previously, he was a weekend anchor and lead reporter for Univision's WGBO. Mexico-born Romo moved to the U.S. at 18 and holds a broadcasting degree from Arizona State University.

Foul Play

Destroy a baseball and get on TV. At least if you live in the Windy City. Employees from famed sports bar Harry Caray bought the infamous foul ball that dashed the Chicago Cubs' 2003 postseason hope—and slated it for destruction Feb. 26. The event attracted Chicago personalities as well as Today's Katie Couric, Al Roker, and Lester Holt. The event—and visitors—boosted morning news to a 5.4 rating/17 share, edging out WLS ABC, which recorded a 5.2 rating and a 17 share.

When WMAQ President Larry Wert showed up at the studio at 4 a.m., he was greeted by hundreds of fans waiting to catch a glimpse of the Today show hosts.

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