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Sep 10, 2001  •  Post A Comment

KSPR-TV adds evening newscast
ABC affiliate KSPR-TV, Springfield, Mo., launches a 6:30 p.m. newscast today that is the only newscast in that time slot in the market. The newscast will be anchored by John Brown and Susan Harding. The station will keep its half-hour 5 p.m. newscast, but instead of having a 6 p.m. newscast, KSPR will air “Everybody Loves Raymond” reruns. “We’ve been getting more feedback from people who are working later,” said KSPR News Director Dean Adams. “People’s days have really become busy, and we want be a trendsetter to meet the needs of people who are really busy.”
WSVN getting new look
Usually, Sunbeam-owned Fox affiliate WSVN-TV, Miami, is known for its coverage of crime and news. According to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel last week, WSVN production assistant Howard Burkhart Jr. was arrested on Sept. 1 and charged with money laundering and illegal financial drug transactions by the Oconee County, S.C., Sheriff’s Department. WSVN General Manager Robert Leider told Electronic Media that WSVN did not report the arrest on its newscasts and that Mr. Burkhart did not report to work last week. “Right now we’re status quo until we know the details,” Mr. Leider said. “We’re going to see what happens. The facts will come out on this one way or the other.”
In other WSVN news, viewers will be surprised on Thursday when the station unveils its new look. WSVN newscasts primarily had the electric blue color scheme that many stations are using. There is talk the main color the station will use in its graphics and backgrounds will now be red with silver block lettering. “Our motto at Sunbeam is always to be cutting edge, and when we’re doing well, that’s when we make changes,” Mr. Leider said. “We’ve been working on it for four months because it takes so long to develop something like this, because we started from the ground up.”
In addition to the new graphics and look, there will be new music, created by a staffer in a small music studio at the WSVN facility. WSVN began using its own custom music in 1989. The station also has its own animation staffer, instead of outsourcing that task.
New home for controversial reporter
ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV, Detroit, hired controversial investigative reporter Steve Wilson, who began his new job Sept. 8. Mr. Wilson got ink last year when he and his wife, Jane Akre, who were both investigative reporters at Fox-owned WTVT-TV, Tampa, Fla., sued WTVT after they were fired in 1997 for a piece on bovine growth hormone. Ms. Akre alone was awarded $425,000. Mr. Wilson is appealing the decision and seeking the back pay he would have earned had he not been fired. He has not been at a station since his firing.
WXYZ News Director Bill Carey said Mr. Wilson will increase the quality of investigative journalism in the market. “I think an investigative reporter by nature is controversial,” Mr. Carey said. “I’ve always admired his work. I think he is one of the serious investigative reporters in the business who knows how to tell great stories and doggedly pursues the truth. I think his integrity and the values that he brings to his work is above reproach.”
NBC affiliate changes hands
West Virginia Media Holdings has agreed to acquire NBC affiliate WBOY-TV, Clarksburg, W.Va., From Hearst-Argyle Television, with the closing scheduled for the fourth quarter. Gary Bowden will continue to serve as WBOY’s general manager.
Luque, Rivera join Boston NBC affiliate
NBC affiliate WHDH-TV, Boston, has hired Tina Luque as assistant news director. She starts Sept. 17. WHDH also hired Frances Rivera as anchor/reporter. Ms. Rivera, who starts Oct. 29, will co-anchor the weekend 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts with Steve Cooper. WHDH reporter and fill-in anchor Julie Auclair, who joined the station two months ago from CBS-owned WFOR-TV, Miami, will co-anchor the weekend morning newscasts with Sean Hennessey.
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.