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Apr 30, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Million-dollar prize in WRTV promotion
From April 23 through May 25, Indianapolis ABC affiliate WRTV is conducting a contest in which viewers could win $1 million. Each day during the 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts, two four-digit numbers are drawn. The viewer with a game piece that matches those numbers and who calls in will win $100 and learn whether their number is the $1 million prize-winner.
“It’s the first time anybody has done anything like this in Indianapolis,” WRTV Program Director Paul Montgomery said. “We just decided this is the book we’re going to make it a big push.”
Born to be wi-i-ild
For sweeps last week, Fox-owned KTTV, Los Angeles-which helped break a story about a Spanish-language pyramid scheme that was one of the biggest in the area-showed viewers undercover video of the inner workings of the operation. Reporter Christina Gonzalez relied on her bilingual skills to do the piece.
This week KTTV has some fun, letting anchor Christine Devine ride a motorcycle for her piece on biker hangouts in Los Angeles. “She’s been a biker for a while-our anchors don’t just hide behind the desk,” KTTV News Director Jose Rios said. “It’s a big community, the motorcycling community, and they come from all walks of life.”
Mr. Rios was honored Thursday with the Artists Circle Award from the national Conference for Community and Justice, Santa Monica Bay Area region, for his role on the KTTV news special “Black and Brown: When Colors Collide. “ (EM Oct. 9)
Dealership grounded after fraud
Gunderson Chevrolet in Los Angeles was shut down for six days by the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office after a report on the dealership aired on KCBS-TV.
As a result of KCBS investigative reporter Joel Grover’s piece on how the dealership padded customers’ contracts-especially those of minority customers-the two agencies handed Gunderson a $2.6 million penalty, the biggest ever levied on a Los Angeles auto dealer. Gunderson must pay $1.1 million in penalties to the state and Los Angeles County and $1.5 million in refunds to customers. Gunderson is owned by South Florida-based AutoNation, the largest owner of car dealerships in the country.
Duluth stations come in from the cold
An April ice storm in Duluth, Minn., knocked stations off the air in that market for part of April 22 and 23. According to Julie Ziegler-Feiring, the spokeswoman for Duluth NBC affiliate KBJR-TV, all the local stations were off the air at 10:02 p.m. April 22. She said Fox affiliate KQDS-TV and PBS WDSE-TV were back on at 10 a.m. the next day, and the rest of the stations were back on at 2:58 p.m.
Cheesecake, CNN for `NYPD’s’ Thompson
Andrea Thompson, the former “NYPD Blue” actress turned local TV reporter, will be on CNN Headline News in late June as an anchor. She joins CNN from CBS affiliate KRQE-TV, Albuquerque, N.M., where she has worked for one year, cutting her teeth as a television reporter. Dan Salamone, news director at KRQE, originally hired her for a few months as a summer replacement, to the chagrin of many longtime television journalists in that market.
One talent agent told Electronic Media that many broadcasters last week logged onto the “Newsblues” Web site to see a nude photo of her from her early acting days. His clients are upset at the CNN move, which he thinks has to do with new Turner Broadcasting head Jamie Kellner trying to give the all-news network a more Hollywood edge.
”We’ve been told, `We want the absolute best people in the country.’ This is what they mean by best?“ the agent said. “There’s a lot of good journalists who are not getting in and would like to work there.”
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.