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FBI Apologizes for Video Goof
Washington—Exclusive video of an in-progress bank robbery taken by a WTTG photographer made its way into competing newsrooms after the FBI released the images.
Cameraman Scott McCathran was shooting a station promo at a suburban-Maryland fire station on June 29 when someone said the bank across the street was being held up. McCathran caught three masked bandits on tape carrying assault rifles.
The station gave copies of the footage to the FBI, which in turn sent the images to other stations without WTTG's permission. An agency spokesman called the mistake "an administrative oversight."
Numero Uno in Nueva York
Univision's WXTV New York scored a rare victory in key demographic targets during the May sweeps. Its 6 p.m. Noticias Univision 41
drew more viewers in the 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 demos on a seven-day basis than did any other New York station. It was the first time a Spanish-language station has come out on top in the important demographic race.
Stories during the sweeps period focused on immigration issues and political topics, especially those affecting New York's growing population from the Dominican Republic and Colombia.
"If you look at all the stories we did," says News Director Norma Morato, "it was information that really affected people, and they responded."
The network finished fourth in household ratings, behind WABC, WNBC and WCBS.
NLRB Moves on AFTRA Complaint
Hartford, Conn.—The National Labor Relations Board has scheduled a Sept. 27 hearing here on a complaint brought against WFSB by the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
AFTRA alleges more than a dozen violations of federal labor law, including interrogating and threatening employees, withholding raises and pay, illegally imposing new contract terms and conditions, discouraging employees from joining the union, and failure to bargain in good faith.
WFSB anchors and reporters represented by AFTRA have been working without a contract since October 2002. WFSB General Manager Elden Hale denies the charges, calling them "a rehash of old union complaints." WFSB is a CBS affiliate owned by Meredith Broadcasting.
Reporter Fired Over Politics
Phoenix—Rob Koebel found out the hard way that journalism and politics don't mix. He was fired last week from his reporter's job at KNXV just days after breaking a story about a 30-year-old rape allegation against a candidate for local sheriff. He later admitted that he had given $100 to the campaign of an opposing candidate but said the donation had no bearing on the story. His action, however, ran afoul of the station's ethics policy.
KNXV management would not comment, calling the dismissal "a personnel matter." The station, an ABC affiliate, is owned by Scripps.
Loses to News
Las Vegas—When KLAS snatches The Oprah Winfrey Show
from rival KTNV next month, the station will run the show at 9 a.m., rather than its usual 4 p.m. time slot, Only one other station does that: Chicago's WLS, the show's original home.
"We would have loved to put Oprah
on at 4," says KLAS General Manager Emily Neilson, "but this market has told us loud and clear that it wants news at that time."
KLAS, locked in a tight news battle with rival KVBC, will instead add a 4:30 p.m. newscast, giving it a solid 21/2-hour afternoon news block.
Neilson said Vegas viewers want their news sooner rather than later, which is why she opted to kill the station's 6:30 p.m. newscast in September, replacing it with The Insider, Paramount Television's new Entertainment Tonight
KLAS is a CBS affiliate, owned by Landmark Communications.