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The Long Arm of KOB
Albuquerque— KOB-TV Albuquerque reporter Neil Simon helped police capture a Lebanon, Tenn., woman accused of the statutory rape and abduction of a 14-year-old boy she'd home-schooled. She was apprehended after she turned up in New Mexico as the beneficiary of a local charity.
The station had only done one short voice-over saying that the woman and the boy were believed to be in the area, but a call came in last Sunday (Dec. 29) from a local charity that was helping house a woman in a local hotel while her car was being repaired. After seeing the story on TV, the charity's staff believed her to be fugitive Cynthia Guthrie, a suspicion that appeared confirmed when she registered under that name. Guthrie had told the charity she was traveling with her son, visiting relatives in the area when her car broke down. They contacted KOB-TV, telling Simon they had told police, who had given the call low priority. Simon called Tennessee police, who contacted New Mexico authorities themselves and set the arrest in motion.
"It was definitely awkward," said Simon, who joined the station late last year. "Usually you're not the one calling the police." The police, he said, explained they were busy with emergencies, but told him to keep an eye on her and "if she leaves, to follow her."
Simon stayed and got exclusive footage of the woman's capture at the motel.
KIRO Shares News Wealth
Seattle— Viacom's KSTW-TV Seattle has contracted with local Cox-owned CBS affiliate KIRO-TV for a late-night newscast. Expected to premiere early this year, the newscast will be produced by KIRO-TV and use its anchors. The deal was announced last week by John Woodin, vice president and general manager at KIRO-TV, and by KSTW-TV's new VP/GM Gary Wordlaw, himself a veteran and award-winning newsman.
KSTW-TV, which dropped its local newscast and news department four years ago when it was part of the Paramount group, will face competition in the 10 o'clock hour from Tribune-owned Fox affiliate KCPQ(TV) and from Belo-owned independent KONG-TV, which gets news product from co-owned KING-TV.
It's the second deal of its type in recent weeks for Viacom stations, which announced a partnership in Detroit with Scripps-owned ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV to produce news for UPN station WKBD(TV) there. That deal accompanied the decision to end news at duopoly sister station and CBS affiliate WWJ-TV. KSTW-TV has not had news of any sort for years.
Powell Exits WHUT
Washington— In a surprise announcement, Adam Clayton Powell III said he was resigning as general manager of WHUT-TV Washington, effective Jan. 11. Powell said the hours had been difficult for him and that he hopes to spend more time with his family.
Powell said he'll also be working on a series of articles, possibly a book, regarding the future of the media and will remain as a consultant to the station. A veteran TV newsman and producer, Powell had made significant impact at the station in only nine months, expanding both the PBS station's original and acquired programming. Powell will also head the replacement committee.
Reporter Nominated for Labor Secretary
Albuquerque— While a KOB-TV reporter was assisting police (see lead item), a former one was preparing to render government assistance of a different sort. Reporter Conroy Chino has been nominated by New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to be the state's secretary of labor. Although Chino has no government experience, Richardson told local media he wanted the veteran investigative reporter to use his fact-finding skills to protect New Mexico workers.
Chino, who left KOB-TV in 2001 after many years at the station, had been working part-time for KOAT-TV. Chino, an elder in the Acomo Pueblo tribe, has also been making films documenting the American Indian experience.
"I told Conroy he'll probably be confirmed," said KOAT-TV News Director Pahl Shipley, "but his hearing will be payback for all those legislators he's chased over the years."
KTLA Comes Up Roses
Overnight ratings gave bragging rights to KTLA's coverage of the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year's Day. Its show, hosted by Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards, "delivered the largest audience with an 18/40 share, 2.5 times greater than all competitors combined," the station said.