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Feb 4, 2002  •  Post A Comment

NY1 settles into rat-free home
Just as former New York City Mayor David Dinkins was the first guest when NY1 News launched in 1992, current Mayor Michael Bloomberg was the first guest from the 24-hour cable news channel’s new Chelsea Market facility at 7 a.m. Jan. 28. There is a new set and graphics-and no more of those rats that used to crawl around NY1’s old 42nd Street newsroom.
“The main newsroom is where the cellblock of the penitentiary was for `Oz,’ but beyond that there are no similarities,” said NY1 Senior VP and General Manager Steve Paulus, referring to the HBO series, which has since moved to New Jersey. “We found this place, and it’s perfect.” The Oxygen cable network also is based at Chelsea Market.
The week that was at KPIX
CBS-owned KPIX-TV, San Francisco, had a busy week. First, a lawsuit filed Jan. 28 came as a surprise to CBS management, who had to read about it in the San Francisco Chronicle. In the suit, an African American reporter alleged that for the past five years, management passed him over for promotions, while an African American photographer said she was paid less than other photographers, and a fellow photog said he was demoted when he sympathized with his colleague’s claims. “We find it disturbing that the plaintiffs, who are all currently employed by KPIX, have chosen to approach the media before the station,” a CBS spokesman said. “Although we have not been served with the complaint, we are confident that their claims, as reported by the press, will prove to be unfounded and the station’s treatment of all three individuals has been at all times equitable and fair.” Then on Jan. 29, in a move “unrelated” to the lawsuit, KPIX General Manager Jerry Eaton announced his retirement. A CBS spokesman said Mr. Eaton had planned to retire for several weeks. Viacom also owns UPN affiliate KBHK-TV in San Francisco, and speculation is that KBHK General Manager Jerry Braet may also run KPIX. KBHK staffers are in the process of moving into the KPIX building, and the transition should be completed in March.
Seattle’s Wood replanted in Baltimore
After 19 years at CBS affiliate KIRO-TV, Seattle, Brian Wood started his 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. anchor gig at WMAR-TV, Baltimore last week. He received calls from former Seattle viewers who now live in the Baltimore market. Mr. Wood was seen nationally last February when an earthquake struck Seattle while he was covering a live mayoral press conference.
After his contract was not renewed in September, Mr. Wood had to look for work beyond Seattle, which was hit hard by the recession, with layoffs at ABC affiliate KOMO-TV and no openings at NBC affiliate KING-TV. Mr. Wood had to get an agent (Laurie Jacoby) for the first time-unusual in an industry where people move often. He was surprised with the quick response from stations across the country. In addition to his wife and two boys, Mr. Wood’s mom is also making the move to Baltimore. “The whole family is treating this like an adventure,” Mr. Wood said. “It’s amazing how much this place reminds me of Seattle. It may be 2,335 miles away, but the quality of the journalists here make this an easy transition, and I’m excited to be here.”
L.A. quake shakes up 10 p.m. numbers
On Jan. 28, a 4.2 earthquake hit near Los Angeles just before the 10 p.m. newscast, causing ratings to spike when KTTV and KCAL-TV went commercial-free and jettisoned their entire news lineups for head-to-head earthquake coverage. KTTV used an earthquake map connected to the California Institute of Technology, while KCAL’s live electronic seismograph gave viewers a real-time look at aftershocks. At 10 p.m., KTTV averaged a 4.6 Nielsen Media Research rating and 7 share for the hour, up from its January average of 3.5/6. KCAL had a 4.7/8 average for the hour plus an extra 10 minutes, up from its January average of 3.0/5. KCAL News Director Nancy Bauer plans to show the seismograph more. “It’s the thing that people can see-it’s tangible,” she said. “We just let viewers know that we have a policy that when the ground shakes, we go on television.”