Local Listings

Apr 15, 2002  •  Post A Comment

KCBS report leads to guilty pleas
As a result of KCBS-TV investigative reporter Joel Grover’s work, four former employees at one of the largest automobile dealerships in California pleaded no contest last week in Los Angeles County Superior Court in a case involving the padding of contracts and other sales tricks. Three of the Gunderson Chevrolet employees will serve six months in county jail. The case marks the largest-ever criminal indictment against employees of an auto dealership by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, and the first time that employees of a car dealership have been criminally prosecuted for common sales tricks. Mr. Grover completed his initial piece in May 2000. In February 2002, a fifth former Gunderson employee was sentenced to 90 days in county jail. Former Gunderson General Manager James Hoban received a sentence of six months in jail plus five years probation, a $2,500 fine plus 32 hours of trash cleanup, said a Los Angeles County District Attorney spokesperson. Two other defendants are awaiting trial. The dealership is now under new management. Mr. Grover brought the piece to a national audience last week on CBS’s “Early Show.”
WHDH re-ups Price, loses Leonard
NBC affiliate WHDH-TV, Boston, announced April 10 that it has signed a new five-year contract with Randy Price, who co-anchors the 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. news. Just five days before that, rival ABC affiliate WCVB-TV hired away WHDH’s chief meteorologist, Harvey Leonard, who has been at WHDH since 1977. Mr. Leonard will pair with WCVB’s own veteran weatherman, Dick Albert, beginning Aug. 15, giving that station two heavy hitters in weather.
WNBC gets exclusive arrest footage
WNBC-TV, New York, reporter Jonathan Dienst last week helped the station get the only video of the arrests of associates of Sheik Rahman, who is in prison for plotting the first World Trade Center bombing. Lynn Stewart, the sheik’s lawyer, was arrested, as were two others in the New York area, for allegedly helping the blind inmate communicate with associates outside prison. The story was picked up nationally. One associate was arrested in London, and later that day the FBI and New York police held a press conference announcing that the individuals had been charged in federal court with aiding terrorism. Mr. Dienst had been following the story as it unfolded, and WNBC had cameras in place when the arrests occurred in Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn. “We were fortunate enough to be in the right place and the right time when the arrests happened,” Mr. Dienst said. “It was difficult and sensitive because we did not want to do anything to jeopardize the investigation, so we tried to work closely with law enforcement to make sure we did not jeopardize their case.”
Tribune food critic on WGN
In a continuation of its synergy plan with the Chicago Tribune, Tribune-owned sister station WGN-TV, Chicago, a WB affiliate, will begin broadcasting reviews April 15 by the newspaper’s restaurant critic, Phil Vettel. Mr. Vettel’s segments, “Dining With Phil,” will be on the Saturday night news and will be re-aired the following Monday morning. Mr. Vettel will continue to remain anonymous to restaurateurs because he will not appear on the air-only his voice will be heard or, occasionally, he will talk while hiding behind a menu, said WGN News Director Carol Fowler. Earlier in the month, WGN launched WGN Radio entertainment reporter Dean Richards’ local entertainment news segment “Dean’s List” on the TV station’s morning newscast.
Bulls games going digital
Fox affiliate WRAZ-TV, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., will air 37 Durham Bulls baseball games live this season on its digital channel WRAZ-DT. WRAZ is a sister station to CBS affiliate WRAL-TV, Raleigh, which has been a local leader in HDTV. “Multicasting allows us to provide our regularly scheduled programming while at the same time providing coverage of Triple-A baseball to loyal Triangle-area Bulls fans,” said WRAZ General Manager Tommy Schenck.”