Station Break

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Pressed for time

More evidence of CBS-owned stations' squeezing prime time to add extra commercial spots was offered last week by Hearst-Argyle competitors in Boston, where CBS's WBZ-TV competes with Hearst's WCVB-TV, and in Baltimore, where CBS's WJZ-TV competes with Hearst's WBAL-TV. CBS's station group had no comment.

The issue gained attention with the revelation that CBS's KDKA-TV had compressed part of a football-game broadcast for additional ads, and competitors, including Hearst's WTAE-TV and Cox Broadcasting's WPXI(TV), said the practice went well beyond the game (B&C, 11/5/01, p. 14). Reliable sources have confirmed that the practice has taken place in prime time on other CBS-owned stations.

Time may be Wright

Among the many departures at Secaucus, N.J.-based New York-metro station WWOR-TV since its purchase by Fox is News Director Will Wright, but he will leave having had a significant impact in his nine years at the former Chris-Craft station.

Wright was credited with attracting to the newscast the young and largely urban and minority audience watching the station's UPN program-ming. Two years ago, WWOR-TV became the first non–network-affiliated station to win the RTNDA's Edward R. Murrow Award for large-market stations. The newscast was strong enough to beat the long-dominant, pre-merger WNYW(TV) in the ratings book last May.

But when Fox brought Jim Clayton from Detroit to run its new New York duopoly and Clayton brought Neil Goldstein to oversee both operations, some believed Wright's days at WWOR-TV were numbered.

After having worked in New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta, he wants most to work in San Francisco. Given the upheaval that has taken place in that city due to the change of NBC affiliations, "the time may be right," Wright said.

The Jig is up

Former KDVR(TV) Denver Managing Editor Scott McDonald has pleaded guilty to securities fraud. He had persuaded colleagues to invest hundreds and thousands of dollars with him, investigators say, only to feed his gambling addiction.

He has promised to repay more than $150,000 to 13 victims, including Denver consumer reporter Tom Martino, who hired a private detective to investigate McDonald before suing him. Among Martino's charges is that McDonald used his position to pressure employees to entrust him with their money.

McDonald worked at KUSA-TV Denver before KDVR. He had fraud victims at both stations.

McDonald, who will be sentenced next month, could receive up to 24 years, despite his having no prior criminal record.

Geo news

National Geographic says it's answering the call of local stations when it begins offering a new source of archival footage from Afghanistan as well as other footage through a news service to be unveiled this week. The National Geographic's film library as well as the World Bank and other partners will offer the service through Pathfire's Media Commerce Network, with cost based on market size.

"We've got a large archive here," said Film Library Vice President Matt White, "and local stations are our natural markets. National Geographic has always played a unique role, and we believe we can bring some of that to newsrooms."

Talking stalking

TV news anchors Melanie Moon of KPLR-TV St. Louis and Harris Faulkner of KSTP-TV, who have discussed their experiences being stalked with B ROADCASTING & C ABLE , discuss them with A&E's Investigative Reports
Nov. 11. Moon was threatened by more than one stalker while reporting for WDBJ(TV) Roanoke, Va. Faulkner's book on her experiences while anchoring at WDAF-TV Kansas City, Breaking News: God Has a Plan,
has been optioned for a possible TV movie.

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