Fox owned-and-operated WFLD Chicago has tapped local news veteran Andrew Finlayson to be its news director. Finlayson, most recently news director for Meredith Broadcasting’s WSMV Nashville, Tenn., will replace former news chief Debra Juarez, who exited in October.
It is one of the first high-profile executive moves at a Fox-owned station since the group’s new President Dennis Swanson, formerly Executive VP/COO of the Viacom TV stations, arrived two months ago. Industry executives have been expecting Swanson and Fox Television Stations CEO Jack Abernethy to shake up the executive ranks in some markets. Swanson, who also ran WLS Chicago and WNBC New York, is particularly well-known for his makeovers of local news product.
Finlayson, a native of Chicago’s Arlington Heights suburb, will join the station Jan. 3.
In Nashville, he was known for directing a fast-paced, aggressive style of news. WSMV is having success, winning early-evening news and battling CBS affiliate WTVF in late news. But the station has had to overcome a recent tragedy. In August, the station’s general manager, Steve Ramsey, died suddenly from complications after an emergency appendectomy. The following month, Meredith appointed Elden Hale Jr., most recently general manager for its Hartford, Conn., affiliate, to be the new chief at WSMV.
Before joining WSMV in 2003, Finlayson was news director at Cox Broadcasting’s strong Fox affiliate KTVU in the San Francisco-Oakland market.