Station Break


Close call

A known stalker with wedding and engagement rings strapped to his chest tried to enter the New Jersey home of WCBS-TV New York reporter Vince DeMentri and his wife, Pat, last week. Arizona resident Phillip Young contended that he had "things to talk about" with Pat DeMentri, a former model and current QVC host.

Young was convicted of stalking QVC host Kathy Levine in 1998 and given probation. Last week, he told police he wanted Pat DeMentri to introduce him to another QVC host, Lisa Robertson. He apparently tracked DeMentri to her home via the Internet, flew to Newark, rented a car and tried to push through the door when she wouldn't open it. He remained outside until police came and arrested him. He was under psychiatric evaluation in New Jersey following the incident.

Unsolving a murder?

The family of Mary Sullivan, the last woman killed by the man police call the Boston Strangler, and the family of Albert DeSalvo, the man who confessed to being the killer who terrorized Boston in the 1960s, say they have more evidence that DeSalvo was not the serial killer and that the killer is probably still at large.

WBZ-TV Boston producer Casey Sherman, who is Sullivan's nephew, said it is a major step in what has become a years-long personal crusade to determine the real killer. Sherman's and DeSalvo's families say private DNA testing found DNA from two individuals, but not DeSalvo's, on Sullivan's clothing and remains. "It proves DeSalvo isn't the strangler," Sherman said. Police, who have defended the original investigation, say it proves only that DeSalvo didn't sexually molest all his victims.

If police don't act, "we'll just go along with our private investigation, which so far has been very successful," Sherman said. Although he believes he knows the identity of his aunt's killer, Sherman says he will not reveal it "until we're able to put him at the scene of the crime. I don't want to create another Albert DeSalvo-like rush to judgment."

NABET win in Wilkes-Barre

An attempt by employees of two allied Wilkes-Barre, Pa., TV stations to decertify the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians has failed by a wide margin.

Technical employees of WBRE-TV and WYOU(TV) rejected decertification by a vote of 60-34. The vote had been ordered by the National Labor Relations Board following a petition reportedly circulated principally by WYOU staffers. Under an unusual shared-services agreement between WBRE-TV owner and former WYOU owner Nexstar Broadcasting and current WYOU owner Bastet Broadcasting, many WYOU workers are employed by Nexstar, which handles many of WYOU's operations. WBRE-TV's staff belonged to the union, whereas WYOU staff had been non-union for years. Decertification had the backing of WBRE-TV management.

Carrying the Torch

A secretary for the group that campaigned to bring the Olympics to Salt Lake City revealed last week that she was the source of a letter that led to local TV reports implicating both local and international Olympic officials in vote-buying and bribery.

Stephanie Pate was secretary to Tom Welch, who led Salt Lake City's successful bid. She said she gave a letter drafted by Welch's deputy, Dave Johnson, to an Olympic trustee. That letter eventually got to KTVX(TV) reporter Chris Vanocur. There are various accounts of how that happened, and Vanocur has consistently said that, to protect sources, he would not discuss the matter. He reiterated the no-comment last week.

The story brought considerable recognition to Vanocur and the station, which won an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio-Television News Directors Association, a Peabody and a DuPont award. Word has it that Vanocur has been asked to help carry the Olympic torch on the way to the games.