July 29, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011 UPDATES:


Congratulations to MARIA BARRS who’s been named General Manager for KXTV, the Gannett owned ABC affiliate in Sacramento. It’s a return to California for Maria who worked in several California markets earlier in her career, including Sacramento. We told you below that she is leaving Fox’s KDFW-TV after 17 years, 13 as news director.

More in this story in our regular weekly newsletter later this week.

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As anchors are so fond of saying…”Updating our earlier story….”.

MARIA BARRS tells me her new job will be announced at noon Eastern time today (though she specifically noted the time of the announcement would be 9:00 AM Pacific time) and said only that the announcement (and presumably the position) would be “in a place much cooler than Dallas..temp-wise at least.”  She added that it is NOT Los Angeles.

Now that’s a tease worthy of any producer.  Check back here and I’ll update the site when I can.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 UPDATE:

A Dallas-Fort Worth newspaper is reporting that longtime (13 years) KDFW-TV News Director MARIA BARRS is leaving that FOX o-and-o.  The article quotes KDFW GM KATHY SAUNDERS as ‘appreciating Maria’s hard work’ during her 17 years at the station.  The story goes on to speculate that she is headed to California for family reasons, and later speculates that she’s headed to KTTV/KCOP-TV in Los Angeles, where her former Assistant ND at KDFW, KINGSLEY SMITH, arrived in June as the ND.

Maria first joined KDFW in 1994 as Managing Editor and was promoted to ND in 1998.  She’s also been an ND in Salinas, CA, and has worked in Sacramento, St. Louis, and Redding, CA.

I tried to reach Maria tonight without success.  I’ll update this site when I hear from her.

More on this story…and some other changes…in our full newsletter later this week (though it may be delayed by my attendance at NABJ in Philadelphia.

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Lots of movement among the news director ranks this week, much of it in smaller markets.  We have SIX newly named NDs, and TWO new openings.

That means there are, by my count, 30 stations looking for a news director.

We have just ONE new news management opening.  In Names in the News, new jobs for two veteran news directors, and a new EP in New York.

This week, our industry lost a man who had an amazing impact on TV news during a long and storied career.  ELMER LOWER died at the age of 98.  If you don’t know his story, I hope you’ll spend a few minutes checking it out.  More on Elmer’s life and career below, including how I once turned this icon into a barking dog…at least on TV.

That, and more, after this week’s changes:

Newly Named News Directors:


WSCV-TV, Miami, FL…veteran Miami newswoman HELGA SILVA starts next week as VP/News for this Telemundo owned station.  Helga spent ten years as ND for WLTV, the Univision station in Miami.  She’s also been an ND for the Telemundo and Univision stations in New York City.  Most recently, she’s been the EP of the Telemundo show Persiguiendo Injusticias, an unsolved crime program.  To the best of my knowledge, Migdalia Figueroa had been ND here since 2005.


KEYT-TV, Santa Barbara, CA…C.J. WARD has been promoted to news director here.  He’s worked for this Smith Media ABC affiliate since 2002.  He’s been anchoring the evening shows but will give up the late news with this promotion.  He’s previously worked for two stations in Phoenix, as well as stations in Fresno, Lansing, MI, and Palm Springs, CA.  He succeeds JIM BUNNER who left the station in June after almost five years as news director.


WSAW-TV, Wausau, WI…Anchor/reporter MIKEL LAUBER has been promoted to ND for this Gray Television owned CBS affiliate. He’s been at the station since 2007 and is a Wisconsin native, having grown up in Fond du Lac.  He replaces SUSAN RAMSETT, who left the station a few weeks ago when she was promoted to ND for Gray’s KOLN/KGIN-TV in Lincoln, NE, after just over four years as ND.


WOAY-TV, Oak Hill, WV…SCOTT SNIDER is the new ND for this ABC affiliate.  Scott is currently ND and anchor for WDTV in Bridgeport, WV (more on that below).  He’s worked there for 13 years, first joining the staff as a reporter, then anchor, then assistant ND, and was named news director in 2004.  At WOAY, he replaces veteran newsman BOB BRUNNER who has retired.  Bob spent six years as ND and anchor for this Thomas Broadcasting owned station.


WDTV, Bridgeport, WV…JOE BROCATO has been promoted to News Director here, replacing the above-mentioned SCOTT SNIDER, who was ND for seven years.  Joe has worked for this Withers Broadcasting owned CBS affiliate since 2000.  He is currently the Sports Director.  In addition, WDTV anchor/reporter NATE SMAIL has been promoted to the newly reopened position of Assistant News Director.


KECI/KTVM/KCFW-TV…Missoula, MT…SEAN DUNSTER is being promoted to ND for Bonten Media’s cluster of NBC affiliates across Montana.  He’s been the Assistant ND, based in Bozeman.  Sean’s been in Bozeman a year.  He previously worked for WCPO-TV in Cincinnati for 22 years in a variety of roles, from news to sports to EP of the station’s special projects unit.  He also has worked in Dayton, OH, and Lima, OH, where his father, GEORGE DUNSTER was ND for almost 20 years at WLIO-TV.  Sean replaces GAVIN MALISKA who is returning to Florida as ND for WJHG-TV in Panama City after one year in Montana.

New News Director Openings:


WHSV-TV, Harrisonburg, VA…after five years as ND here, ED REAMS is leaving to be the new Assistant ND for Hearst’s WISN-TV in Milwaukee.  It’s a return to Hearst for Ed, who spent seven years as a reporter and fill-in anchor for the company’s WDSU-TV in New Orleans.  He’s also worked in Atlanta, Raleigh, and Roanoke, VA., but he began his career as a reporter and photojournalist at WHSV in 1990.  The station is an ABC affiliate and is owned by Gray Television.


KREX-TV, Grand Junction, CO…KEIRA BRESNAHAN has left the station to be a full time Mom.  Keira gave birth to a baby boy named Ford in February.  She’s worked for this Hoak Media owned CBS affiliate since 1999, first joining the station as a reporter, and has been ND since July, 2001.  She also anchored for the station…here’s her farewell on-air.

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Other News Management Openings:

Assistant News Director:

WFLD-TV, Chicago, IL (relisted 7/1/11))
KHOU-TV, Houston, TX (relisted 7/1/11))
KSDK-TV, St. Louis, MO (relisted 7/1/11))
WTHR-TV, Indianapolis, IN (relisted 7/1/11))
WRTV, Indianapolis, IN (relisted 6/10/11)
WVIT-TV, Hartford/New Haven, CT (relisted 6/24/11)
WPMT-TV, Harrisburg, PA (Morning EP, new listing this week)
WREG-TV, Memphis, TN (listed 6/24/11)
WAVE-TV, Louisville, KY (listed 7/1/11)
WMTW-TV, Portland, ME (listed 7/1/11)

Executive News Producer:

The Weather Channel, Atlanta, GA (Weekend EP, listed 5/13/11)
KTVK-TV, Phoenix, AZ (AM EP, listed 5/8/11)
KOVR-TV, Sacramento, CA (PM EP, listed 7/15/11)
WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh, PA (Dayside EP, relisted 6/17/11)
WRAL-TV, Raleigh, NC (relisted 6/17/11)
WCPO-TV, Cincinnati, OH (2 openings, AM & afternoon, relisted 6/24/11)
WVIT-TV, Hartford/New Haven, CT (listed 6/24/11)
WHBQ-TV, Memphis, TN (listed 7/1/11)
KVOA-TV, Tucson, AZ (relisted 6/24/11)
WNWO-TV, Toledo, OH (AM EP, listed 6/3/11)

Managing Editor:

KIAH-TV, Houston, TX (listed 6/17/11)
WEWS-TV, Cleveland, OH (listed 6/17/11)
WVIT-TV, Hartford/New Haven, CT (listed 6/24/11)

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Elmer Lower

ELMER LOWER died Tuesday, July 26, at the age of 98.  He was truly one of the pioneers in our industry.  I’m biased because I had the pleasure of knowing him, but he held major roles at the three original networks, including serving as President of ABC News from 1963-1974.  During the time, the then-struggling network hired PETER JENNINGS, TED KOPPEL, FRANK REYNOLDS, SAM DONALDSON and many others.  He later went on to a teaching career, including a short stint as interim dean of our shared alma mater, the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

I hope you’ll permit me a personal story of our first meeting.  In April, 1975, Elmer visited the journalism school and stopped at the NBC affiliate the University owns, KOMU-TV, during the noon news.  I was producing and was told to include a sound bite from an interview Elmer had done the night before.  That interview was preceded by a package on the dog pound (done by current NBC Correspondent MARK POTTER).  Someone (probably me) had failed to cue Mark’s audio cart, so the package didn’t air.  We went back to anchor SALLY FITZ (who went on to anchor at WSVN-TV in Miami) who ad libbed and then introduced Elmer’s interview.

Unfortunately, what came up was the tail (pun intended) end of the dog pound story and two dogs going “Woof.  Woof.”

Elmer, News Director JACK HUBBARD, and Department Chair DAVE DUGAN were all in the control room.  We all froze and looked at Elmer.  Luckily, he laughed heartily, and so I was allowed to graduate a few weeks later. Had he not laughed, I might still be there.

Ironically, Elmer was the graduation speaker a few weeks later and, of course, included the story.  Fortunately he left out the names, saving my parents the embarrassment.

That sparked a long friendship, which regularly included a Christmas card with a detailed personal note from Elmer for many years.  Given the names in his rolodex, it’s a bit of the measure of the man.

Funeral services will be private.  A public memorial service will be held later. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Elmer Lower Fund, Missouri School of Journalism, 120 Neff Hall, Columbia, MO 65211.

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Names in the News:

Congratulations to longtime Louisiana newsman CHRIS SLAUGHTER who’s back where he belongs…in a Louisiana newsroom.  Chris is now an EP for WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge, a move which reunites him with station GM SANDY BRELAND. They worked together at WWL-TV in New Orleans, where Chris succeeded Sandy as ND in 2007.  Chris spent 30 years at WWL, including 3+ as ND.  At WAFB, he’ll be working with the station’s investigative unit and also working with reporters on their daily stories. You can congratulate Chris via email: christopherslaughter2@gmail.com


Another longtime station employee turned ND, WJAR-TV’s BETTY JO CUGINI, has a new job.  She’s the new media supervisor in the marketing and communications department at the University of Rhode Island.  Betty Jo spent 22 years at WJAR, the last 7 1/2 as the station’s first female news director, before she was laid off in 2009.  She also worked for WLNE-TV in Providence and worked at a radio station in Rhode Island.

The New York Daily Newsreports that AMY COHEN has been promoted from producer to executive producer of the 5:00 and 6:00 news at WNYW-TV in New York City.  She replaces JERRY ANDREWS who was promoted to Managing Editor.  She’s worked at the station since 2008.

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The Full List:

To the best of my knowledge, here is the list of stations with open news director jobs, as of Friday, July 29, 2011.

If you know of any additions/deletions/changes/updates, please email me at: rick@rickgevers.com

NY 1 News 75 Ninth Ave.                                   New York NY 10011
KARE-TV 8811 Olson Memorial Hwy.          Minneapolis MN 55427
KGW-TV 1501 SW Jefferson St.                       Portland OR 97201
WTNH/WCTX-TV 8 Elm St.                              New Haven CT 06510
WXXA-TV 28 Corporate Circle                         Albany NY 12203
KMSB-TV     1855 N. 6th Ave.                             Tucson AZ 85705
WFRV-TV 1181 E. Mason St.                          Green Bay WI 54301
WROC-TV 201 Humboldt St.                         Rochester NY 14610
WSYR-TV 5904 Bridge St.                               Syracuse NY 13057
KWWL-TV 500 East Fourth St.                     Waterloo IA 50703
KVEO-TV 394 N. Expressway                        Brownsville TX 78521
KOAA-TV 530 Communications Cir.         Colorado Springs CO 80905
WFIE-TV 1115 Mount Auburn Rd.               Evansville IN 47720
WGGB-TV 1300 Liberty St.                            Springfield MA 01104
KTVB-TV 5407 Fairview Avenue                  Boise ID 83706
WREX-TV 10322 W. Auburn Rd.                   Rockford IL 61105
WAOW-TV 1908 Grand Ave.                           Wausau WI 54403
WFXL-TV 1211 N. Slappey Blvd.                       Albany GA 31707
WCJB-TV 6220 NW 43rd St.                             Gainesville FL 32653
KSWT-TV 1301 Third Ave.                                  Yuma AZ 85364
KYMA-TV 1385 S. Pacific Ave.                          Yuma AZ 85365
WUTR/WPNY/WFXV-TV 5956 Smith Hill Rd.  Utica NY 13502
WHSV-TV 50 N. Main St.                              Harrisonburg VA 22802
WLUC-TV 177 US Highway 41 East                Negaunee MI 49866
KGNS-TV   120 W. Delmar Blvd.                       Laredo TX 78045
KREX-TV 345 Hillcrest Manor                 Grand Junction CO 81502
KSAN/KLST-TV 2800 Armstrong                     San Angelo TX 76903
KGWN-TV 2923 E. Lincolnway                         Cheyenne WY 82001
WAGM-TV 12 Brewer Road                                Presque Isle ME 04769
KSAX-TV PO Box 189                                       Alexandria MN 56308

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