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Apr 9, 2001  •  Post A Comment

KICU-KTVU simulcast fades to black
On April 2, independent KICU-TV, San Jose, Calif., ceased its simulcast of the four-hour 5 a.m. newscast of sister station Fox affiliate KTVU-TV, Oakland, because ratings weren’t high enough. “It was a great experiment, but the viewers found their morning news on KTVU,” KICU General Manager Tom Raponi said. For now there will be paid programming.
But during the weekend of March 31, KICU upgraded its half-hour “Silicon Valley Business” newscast, which Mr. Raponi calls the station’s “heart and soul.” The newscast has a new set, new graphics and new co-anchors-KTVU’s veteran business editor/anchor Brian Banmiller and KTVU’s morning news co-anchor/business reporter Pam Cooke.
`”Silicon Valley Business’ has been on-air for many years; what this is doing is taking it to the next level,” Mr. Raponi said. “We wanted to take the expertise of Brian Banmiller, [and] team [him] up with Pam Cooke, who used to be a stock trader, to fill the growing need of the Silicon Valley business community.”
In other Bay area news, CBS-owned KPIX-TV, San Francisco, will launch the market’s only Monday-through-Friday 4:30 p.m. newscast beginning June 18. It will be anchored by Kate Kelly and Barbara Rodgers and will also feature KPIX’s new meteorologist, Samantha Mohr.
Revolving door: KGUN lays off, then hires
ABC affiliate KGUN-TV, Tucson, Ariz., is starting a new 4:30 p.m. newscast April 16. Colleen Bagmall, who already anchors the 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. news, will be the newscast’s solo anchor. She will be joined by weathercaster Paul Huttner. KGUN anchor Guy Atchley will conduct a newsmaker segment on the 4:30 p.m. newscast. KGUN General Manager Ray Depa said the station will be the only one in the market to have a newscast at that time.
KGUN was one of the stations recently acquired by Emmis Communications, which last month eliminated 120 positions across its 15 television stations. Three people at KGUN were among those 120. But Mr. Depa said the station is committed to news and expanded that department, adding a tape editor and producer. KGUN also added two salespeople.
“Our future is in local news, so we want to control our own destiny-we’ve got a news product that over the last three years is growing in ratings, and people are resonating with what we’re doing,” Mr. Depa said. “So we look at this [4:30 p.m. news] as a marvelous opportunity to reallocate our resources [rather than] going out and buying risky syndicated programs. Doing local news is our future.”
Mr. Depa is in the middle of a nationwide search for a news director. Former News Director Forrest Carr, who spearheaded KGUN’s Viewers Bill of Rights, moved to WFLA-TV, Tampa, Fla.
KRQE hires Knipfing away from KOAT
CBS affiliate KRQE-TV, Albuquerque, N.M., which won a regional Radio-Television News Directors Association Edward R. Murrow Award this year for overall excellence, has hired Dick Knipfing from rival ABC affiliate KOAT-TV. Mr. Knipfing, who will anchor the 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and
10 p.m. newscasts, begins June 1.
KRQE News Director Dan Salamone said Mr. Knipfing is the “dean of anchors” in the market. “We feel like for the first time we’re giving people in Albuquerque a different newscast to watch, with more contemporary values and energy than perhaps they’ve ever seen here,” Mr. Salamone said.
Mr. Salamone was responsible for hiring “NYPD Blue” actress Andrea Thompson last May, originally as a summer replacement. She has since become a full-time reporter at the station.
Networks-affils on the rocks
According to a survey by Media and Entertainment Strategies, a market research company, the network-affiliate relationship has reached an all-time low. The company reports 17 percent of station general managers describe their network-affiliate relationship as “excellent.”
The past two times the company conducted the survey were in 1997 and 1998. In 1998, 25 percent of station managers described their network-affiliate relationship as excellent, down from 1997, when 48 percent said it was excellent. Also, this year 48 percent of station managers say the relationship with the networks is “poor” or “fair.”
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.