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Feb 19, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Who wants to be a news director?
NBC-owned KXAS-TV, Dallas, has been flooded with resumes since Feb. 14’s announcement that News Director Kim Godwin-Hughes will leave in a week to become vice president of news operations for the NBC-owned stations, a job created for her. She will be based in Atlanta, where her husband Calvin Hughes is an anchor.
“She is a terrifically talented person and really knows the news business,” said KXAS General Manager Steve Doerr. “She and I worked together for 10 years, and I’m really going to miss her. She is, in my view, one of the best news directors.”
Since Mr. Doerr took over KXAS a year and a half ago, the station has created competition for longtime leader ABC affiliate WFAA-TV and started the market’s first 4 p.m. newscast. Mr. Doerr, who is conducting a nationwide search, said the job is “wide open” but news executives from NBC owned-and-operated stations get first priority. “It’s only been 24 hours and we’ve had an overwhelming response-the phone’s been ringing off the hook,” Mr. Doerr said last week.
WWJ returns to local news
CBS-owned WWJ-TV, Detroit-which has not had a news program since 1994-will have an 11 p.m. newscast starting April 2, thanks to CBS’s duopoly in the market. According to the Detroit Free Press, sister station and UPN affiliate WKBD-TV,
Detroit, will produce the newscast, which will be anchored by WKBD’s Rich Fisher and Amyre Makupson along with weatherman Jim Madaus. WWJ will have its own sports anchor as well as up to two reporters yet to be hired.
Undercover stories drive L.A. ratings
KCBS-TV’s award-winning Special Assignment team is perhaps the pride of the Los Angeles station, and investigative reporter Joel Grover has once again put fear into auto repair shops. This time, his team conducted an undercover investigation to test the theory that car mechanics rip off women customers by telling them their cars need to be fixed when in fact the autos were fine.
The investigation showed seven out of eight shops tried to fix a woman’s car when it did not need to be repaired, while only one out of eight shops tried to rip off a man. Mr. Grover also did a follow-up story on one of the only honest auto repair shops in town, which has been getting more customers than it can handle.
“We get hundreds a letters of year about car repair from viewers,” Mr. Grover said. “We still get more letters about car repair than any other consumer problem.”
Meanwhile, colleague Randy Paige conducted an investigation finding that the Los Angeles Unified School District’s administrators spent $9 million to travel to exotic locales such as Hawaii for conferences and to recruit teachers-when students are studying in schools that have leaky ceilings and other poor conditions.
Across town, Christina Gonzalez, a reporter at Fox-owned KTTV, conducted an investigation for several months at a tax-supported residential care facility for the mentally impaired. It turns out some of the patients were using crack cocaine and prostituting themselves. “When you think of a residential care facility, you think there is more assistance there,” KTTV News Director Jose Rios said.
But perhaps one of the most talked about sweeps pieces was UPN affiliate KCOP-TV reporter Peter Thorne’s undercover piece on a Korean/Japanese restaurant. Customers not only get to select their fish and shrimp from a fish tank, it’s served live while still squirming on the plate. One jumbo shrimp leaped off the dinner plate and scurried off the table-on camera.
Little Rock to L.A. to Las Vegas
John Overall, former KCBS-TV, Los Angeles, morning anchor, now has a solo-anchored 10 p.m. newscast on Fox affiliate KVVU-TV, Las Vegas. For a while last summer, he was the talk of Los Angeles because he made the big jump from Little Rock, Ark., to Los Angeles. Although he was only in the first year of a four-year contract at KCBS, he tried to negotiate a raise without the help of his agent, Mendes Napoli (Electronic Media Local Listings, July 10). After being offered a double-digit raise by his KCBS boss, John Severino, he still wanted more; instead he was later demoted to field reporter.
Karissa S. Wang can be reached by phone at 323-370-2430, via e-mail at kwang@crain.com or by fax at 323-653-4425.