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Jun 4, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Tulsa station gears up for golf tourney
When the U.S. Open Golf Championship is held in Tulsa, Okla., June 14-17, it will be the first time in two decades the event has been in that market, said Michael Kronley, general manager of NBC affiliate KJRH-TV. Tiger Woods will be going for his fifth consecutive major title at the tournament.
From June 10 to 17, KJRH will air eight daily half-hour specials on the event. During the week, KJRH will pre-empt syndicated “Friends” episodes at 6:30 p.m. to air the specials. KJRH anchors John Walls and Karen Larsen and sports anchor Al Jerkens will host the specials live from the Southern Hills golf course, where the tourney will be held. On the weekends, the station will air the coverage at 10:30 p.m.
The specials will include pieces on how the tournament will affect the city, where the pros are staying and eating, and golf fashions. Plus, Ms. Larsen will share her experience learning the sport-she took golf lessons for three months. “This is local television as it should be,” Mr. Kronley said. “We’re taking an event that’s going to impact the community in a big way, and we’re going to bring it to people’s living rooms every day in a bigger format than just news coverage.”
KCBS story leads to indictments
A chill went through Los Angeles auto dealers last week after the May 24 indictment of seven top managers at Gunderson Chevrolet, the largest Chevy dealership in California. They were indicted in Los Angeles Superior Court, charged with a felony conspiracy to defraud. It was the largest indictment ever involving a car dealership.
The indictments were a result of KCBS-TV investigative reporter Joel Grover’s piece during the May 2000 sweeps on how the dealership padded customers’ contracts, especially for minority buyers-a practice common in the business. The indicted are out on bail. They will be arraigned June 18.
Boston’s news race heats up
CBS-owned WBZ-TV, Boston, celebrated its May book because the gap is shrinking in the 11 p.m. news race-WBZ was just 1.3 ratings points away from No. 1 NBC affiliate WHDH-TV. WHDH had a 7.3 Nielsen Media Research rating and 16 share; second place ABC affiliate WCVB-TV got a 7.2/16 and WBZ had a 6.0/13.
But the book was bittersweet for some viewers because the market’s veteran meteorologist Bruce Schwoegler gave his last weathercast May 26. That same weekend, meteorologist Melissa Bell joined WBZ from CBS affiliate WBTV, Charlotte, N.C.
Mr. Schwoegler, who was at WBZ for 33 years, maintains he is not retiring. “The contract expired, and WBZ opted not to renew him and enter in any discussions about an extension,” said Mr. Schwoegler’s agent, Stephen Freyer. WBZ General Manager Ed Goldman, who is also general manager of sister station UPN affiliate WSBK-TV, Boston, said a half-hour 7 p.m. newscast will launch on WSBK in the fall. It will likely have its own branding, while WBZ’s newsroom will put the newscast together. By summer’s end, WSBK’s staff will be located in the WBZ building. “It’s like a multivitamin,” Mr. Goldman said, referring to the 7 p.m. newscast when he announced it to WBZ staff.
In other Boston news, June 8 is Heather Unruh’s first day as WCVB co-anchor to Ed Harding for the morning newscast. She comes from NBC affiliate KFOR-TV, Oklahoma City.
Big shoes to fill in Miami
In Miami, the biggest buzz is about who will replace Fox affiliate WSVN-TV anchor Rick Sanchez, who left for MSNBC. A Miami Herald column speculated Jose Diaz-Balart, morning anchor for Telemundo-owned WSCV-TV, Miami, could be the lucky guy. But WSVN General Manager Robert Leider told Electronic Media: “You’re talking to the guy who is going to make that decision, and Jose is a fine person, but he’s not a candidate.” Instead, Mr. Leider said WSVN is evaluating the performance of its own anchor Craig Stevens.#
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.