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May 13, 2002  •  Post A Comment

On the road with Peter Jennings
Peter Jennings will be taking “World News Tonight” on the road this week, anchoring from Cleveland on Tuesday, Minneapolis on Wednesday and Thursday and Seattle on Friday. In those markets he will also visit the ABC affiliates and moderate town meetings that will air live locally on those stations.
While KSTP-TV, Minneapolis, has had President Clinton at a town meeting in the past in its studio, it will be the first time Mr. Jennings will moderate a town meeting for the station, and it has been gearing up for the visit. The “Ask the Media” town meeting on Wednesday will allow 75 studio audience members to put questions on the media and news coverage to local newspaper and radio journalists and KSTP anchor Julie Nelson. Hubbard Broadcasting owns a duopoly in the market, with KSTP and independent station KSTC-TV. The two stations will simulcast the town meeting for an hour at 6 p.m., pre-empting local news and the 6:30 p.m. access program on KSTP. Since the market is in the Central time zone, when KSTP goes to prime-time network programming at 7 p.m., the last half-hour of the town meeting will continue to air on KSTC exclusively. “We just appreciate the opportunity to have [Mr. Jennings] be a part of our lives for a couple of days,” said Ed Piette, the general manager for the duopoly.
KSTP had a ratings boost on April 30 when the network’s “Good Morning America” visited the St. Paul, Minn., suburb of Stillwater, where Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer went to a local cafe and a malt shop. It was the first time in 10 years the morning show had visited the market, Mr. Piette said. That day’s “GMA” pulled a 10.2 Nielsen Media Research rating and 35 share on KSTP, compared with the May 2001 average of 2.7/14. Stillwater was the second stop on a five-city tour around the country for the May book. KSTC was scheduled to re-air an edited one-hour version of that day’s “GMA” last Friday, and KSTP was slated to re-air the edited version at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, following its local newscast. “The ratings were so incredible on `GMA’ in the Twin Cities that it required us to do a recap show,” Mr. Piette said. “The turnout in Stillwater was unbelievable. It was 3,000 or 4,000 people, but it felt like 16,000. Of all of the places they visited, it seemed this was the most energetic. Charlie and Diane and Tony Perkins are the same in person as they are on the air, and that genuineness came through on the air and in person. I was just so impressed.”
Corsini to run both KCBS, KCAL in L.A.
In a surprise announcement in Los Angeles, KCBS-TV General Manager David Woodcock resigned last week after eight months at the station. The Federal Communications Commission just approved Viacom’s purchase of independent KCAL-TV from Young Broadcasting, giving Viacom a duopoly in the market, and Don Corsini, who has been KCAL general manager for six years, will take over for Mr. Woodcock and will run both stations. CBS Station Group chief Fred Reynolds sent a memo to staffers at both Los Angeles stations in which he said, “We are confident that the combination of KCBS-TV and KCAL will be awesome, as our two stations will have tremendous resources available to not only lead the growth in the market but provide the Los Angeles community with a wealth of news, entertainment and sports programming.” He also stated the duopoly will “provide us certain competitive advantages when it comes to sales, programming and cross-promotions. We will take great pains to preserve the strong local identities that both KCBS and KCAL have cultivated over the years.”
Want to work weekends in Los Angeles?
It looks as though there are weekend shift openings at three Los Angeles stations. KNBC-TV weekend anchor Diane Diaz’s last day was April 26. Ms. Diaz, who had been weekend anchor since 1992, resigned to spend more time with her children. At rival Fox-owned KTTV, the buzz is that weekend sports guy Randy Kerdoon, who has been with the station since 1995, may be leaving. And KABC-TV has had an opening for a weekend male anchor, since Phillip Palmer moved to morning anchor in March.
Emmis upgrading Kansas stations
Emmis Corp. will improve the transmission facilities and launch digital television on its Kansas outlets, which it calls its Kansas State Network stations. They are NBC affiliates KSNW-TV, Wichita, and its satellite stations KSNG-TV, Garden City; KSNC-TV, Great Bend; and KSNK-TV, Oberlin. This fall, the over-the-air signal will be improved when a new antenna is put up, and in June the stations will convert to digital cameras. By the end of the year, digital transmission will be available to viewers with digital sets.