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May 7, 2001  •  Post A Comment

WABC anchor covers Sierra Leone war

After stepping down from the WABC-TV anchor chair in January, veteran New York anchor Bill Beutel will be delivering reports beginning May 13 on his first major trip out of the United States for the station. WABC sent a crew with Mr. Beutel, who got 10 vaccines and donned a bulletproof vest for his trip to Sierra Leone. In the five-part series, Mr. Beutel rides on tanks with U.N. peacekeeping troops and covers a civil war being funded with diamonds smuggled out of the country and sold on the black market, according to News Director Dan Forman.

“Children are being abused, enslaved and having their arms hacked off, and this is an important piece of journalism that needed to be done,” Mr. Forman told Electronic Media. “The diamond trade-a lot of it comes back to New York City. This is the worst the AIDS epidemic has been there, so we went to do both these two stories.”

This month, WABC will also send reporters to Terre Haute, Ind., for convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh’s execution-and to Oklahoma City for reaction. In a twist on its old promos “There goes that news van!,” on April 27, WABC debuted spots that have people saying that phrase in nine languages, including Spanish, Hindi, Gaelic, Korean and Haitian.

Tully gets VP post at KXAS

Susan Tully has been named vice president and news director at NBC-owned KXAS-TV, Dallas, effective immediately. She comes to Dallas from a position as assistant news director at WCAU-TV, Philadelphia.

KSFV courts Central American viewers

KSFV-LP, a low-powered station in Los Angeles, debuted last Monday as the newest station in the market and possibly the first in the country to concentrate solely on Central American viewers.

The station doesn’t have cable carriage yet and can only be seen over the air on UHF Channel 26. It is owned by World Television, a division of Venture Technologies, which runs eight ethnic stations, including KSFV.

The station features a one-hour 7 p.m. weekday newscast, which Brian Holton, World Television’s vice president of broadcasting, says is the only Spanish-language newscast that focuses on Central American news. KSFV has 10 news staffers and correspondents in Guatemala and El Salvador and trades news footage with stations in Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama.

It’s a new ballgame for WLVI’s Mallicoat

Tribune-owned WB affiliate WLVI-TV, Boston, signed a new five-year contract with former sports director/anchor Frank Mallicoat. Mr. Mallicoat makes the transition from sportscasting to anchoring the morning newscast. He began trying out the gig in February, and the show’s ratings increased by about 60 percent. Mr. Mallicoat’s move to news anchor is part of a recent trend in the market, following similar moves by Scott Wahle at CBS-owned WBZ-TV and Ed Harding at ABC affiliate WCVB-TV.

KABC’s live chase coverage drives ratings

ABC-owned KABC-TV, Los Angeles, got a spike in ratings May 2 when a driver was killed during a bus chase in downtown Los Angeles. KABC is the only station in the market to have two helicopters in operation during sweeps, and was the only one to capture the video live. A suspect allegedly shot someone and then hijacked a bus, ordering the driver to flee from cops. At 4:45 p.m., the bus went through an intersection and hit a van, killing a 35-year-old woman. The bus then hit a UPS truck and careened through a parking lot, mowing down a half-dozen cars. The suspect fled on foot before being caught by officers.

KABC got a 5.7 Nielsen Media Research rating and 15 share for that half-hour. The only other station that had a newscast at the time was KNBC-TV, which had a 2.8/8.

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.