Station Break

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Paging Lou Grant

Minneapolis—Hubbard's ABC affiliate KSTP, the No. 3 news station in the market, has asked Minneapolis's most famous news director—Lou Grant—for help. Local ad shop Kruskopf Olson is producing a series of five ads promoting the station's news brand and featuring Ed Asner, who played a tough WJM news director and boss to Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

In addition to the TV spots, the campaign includes radio buys, billboards, bus boards, and bus sides. The spots, which will debut in the Oscar telecast Feb. 29, will have Asner/Grant—he isn't identified as either—pushing the "straightforward news and more of it" message. "That emphasis is nothing new," says station spokeswoman Dayna Deutsch. "We're just marketing it." It's all about "great reporting, succinct writing, and not wasting our viewers' time with irrelevant information."

One of the bus sides reads, "Eat, breathe, sleep, report (not necessarily in that order)." The spots use a mix of actors and staff, with the latter forced to work around the film crews during shooting.

Putting its money where its mouth is, the station plans to expand its news offerings, possibly on weekend mornings.

People on the Move

Nashville, Tenn.—Young Broadcasting's ABC affiliate WKRN has tapped Vicki Montet as news director. She comes from Scripps Broadcasting corporate, where she recently directed coverage of the war in Iraq for Scripps stations and newspapers. She had been news director at Cox Television's WSOC Charlotte, a pedigree that impressed WKRN VP/GM Mike Secrist. "Cox news directors are very exposed to tons of research. They are all result-driven." Secrist himself is a former Cox news director.

Las Vegas—Mark Neerman has been named news director for Meredith Broadcasting's Fox affiliate KVVU. He arrives from Raycom Television's CBS affiliate WTVR Richmond, Va.

Mauldin on the Mend

Dallas—Steve Mauldin, who oversees Viacom TV stations in Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin, Texas, and Oklahoma City, has been in Little Rock, Ark., receiving treatment for throat cancer. According to a spokeswoman for the stations, he is almost finished with his treatment, which is going "quite well."

Mauldin is president/GM of CBS affiliate KTVT and UPN affiliate KTXA, both Dallas-Fort Worth. Day-to-day responsibilities for both have been assumed by Bill Maples, VP/station manager for KTXA. Station group Executive VP/COO Dennis Swanson has been overseeing KEYE Austin and KAUT Oklahoma City. Any well wishes can be sent to the station: 10111 N. Central Expressway, Dallas, TX 75231.

We Break for Shootings

This wasn't your average car chase, even by Los Angeles standards. On Feb. 23, police fatally shot an armed-robbery suspect who took them on an erratic, high-speed chase. The suspect was shot after he reversed his car and headed toward the police. The scene unfolded as local station helicopters hovered overhead. And, although many stations won't cut into programming for car chases, this one happened during morning news.

KTLA, which had a chopper on the scene, wasn't in position to see the shooting but wouldn't have shown it anyway, says news director Jeff Wald. "I know from experience, you want to pull out immediately if you see it's going to turn into a standoff situation."

A former LAPD pilot controls the KNBC chopper. When he sees trouble, he widens the shot, says News Director Bob Long. That's what happened during this particular chase, so KNBC viewers didn't witness the shooting. "It shouldn't happen," says Long. "I feel no need to be competitive on things like that."

Correction

In the Feb. 23 issue, kids personality Ray Rayner was incorrectly identified as the actor who played Bozo on WGN's long-running kids show Bozo's Circus. Rayner, who died last month, portrayed Oliver O. Oliver on the show from 1961 to 1971 and hosted his own Ray Rayner and his Friends
on WGN from 1962 to 1981.

If you have local news, contact Allison Romano at (646)-746-7027 or aromano@reedbusiness.com.

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