Station Break

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Dan Trigoboff is recovering from surgery and will return. In his absence, Mark Miller is writing Station Break and can be reached by e-mail at mkmiller@comcast.net.

Community Service

Wausau, Wis.— Mention Wisconsin and most people think of cheese or the Packers, not Southeast Asians. But there are about 15,000 Hmong immigrants living in and around Wausau. The city's minority-affairs office wanted to produce a half-hour news show targeting that population and enlisted NBC affiliate WJFW-TV in nearby Rhinelander and Wausau's cable access channel. The result was Hmong News, a weekly half-hour news program, supported by commercials in Hmong, that is rerun on the access channel.

According to WJFW-TV General Manager Ron Montezon, the show, launched Sunday, April 13 in the 10:30-11 a.m. time slot, is a success. "Viewers say it's very creative, unique and they applaud our efforts. Advertisers have been extremely supportive: The show is sold out for 52 weeks."

The program is co-hosted by Blong Yang and Mai Kao Moua, who also host a weekly Hmong broadcast on WXCO(AM) Wausau. Notes Montezon, "They memorize their scripts from start to finish" because of problems in using Hmong language characters on a prompter.

The show's volunteer staff of six works with WJFW-TV's news director, production manager and the cable access manager. And the station, Montezon adds, is setting up an intern program so those volunteers may be able "to work with our station leading into a possible career in broadcast television."

Changing Hats

Jacksonville, Fla.— WJXT(TV) anchor Deborah Gianoulis is moving out from behind the anchor desk, where she has been a fixture since 1981. She's tapping a background that includes documentary projects to become the Post-Newsweek station's outreach and development manager and develop long-form projects for her TV Verite production company. TV Verite's first production, One Mind at a Time, aired on WJXT in January.

General Manager Sherry Burns said of the Gianoulis move: "As [former CBS affiliate] WJXT evolves in its role as a purely local TV station, our emphasis on local programs will only grow. Deborah's desire to pursue her dream of documentary production fits perfectly with our need for more content-driven local shows."

WBTV Anchor Dies

Charlotte, N.C.— WBTV(TV) reporter and anchor Bob Knowles, 42, died May 13 at his home. In 2000, he was diagnosed with uveal melanoma, a rare form of cancer that affects the eyes. Soon after surgery to remove an eye, Knowles returned to the air, wearing a patch until he could be fitted with a prosthesis. He continued to work as an anchor and the lead investigative reporter with the station's I-Team. In late 2001, doctors found signs of the cancer in his liver. Experimental chemotherapy treatment at the National Institute of Health brought it into remission. This March he married Emily Patrice. Within weeks after the couple returned from their honeymoon, the liver cancer returned. On Friday, May 2, Knowles made a brief visit to the WBTV studios to promote the American Cancer Society's Greater Charlotte Relay for Life. To send the station any thoughts, memories or a message to Knowles's family, send an e-mail to rememberingbob@wbtv.com.

Bullish on the Bears on TV

Da Bears are on WMAQ-TV. The NBC O&O signed a five-year deal covering preseason games and pre- and post-game shows during the regular season plus a series of specials. In addition, the preseason games will be simulcast in Spanish on co-owned Telemundo WSNS(TV). The first special will cover the unveiling of the renovated Soldier Field, set to reopen Sept. 29. Shown outside Soldier Field are (l-r) Leo Ramos, GM of WSNS; Dave Greeley, Bears chief marketing officer; and Larry Wert, GM of WMAQ-TV.

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