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May 20, 2002  •  Post A Comment

WWOR gets Son of Sam exclusive
UPN affiliate WWOR-TV, New York, which is owned by News Corp., aired an exclusive interview with David Berkowitz, also known as the “Son of Sam” and the “44 Caliber Killer,” on its 10 p.m. newscast May 15. In what was Mr. Berkowitz’s first local television interview in years, the convicted serial killer-who has a parole board hearing in three weeks-told reporter Matthew Schwartz that he does not deserve parole and should be in prison for the rest of his life. Mr. Berkowitz is now 48 and a born-again Christian. Between July 1976 and August 1977, Mr. Berkowitz killed six people and wounded seven, leaving one person paralyzed and another blind. In other news from the News Corp. duopoly in New York, after experiencing chest pains on May 15, “Good Day New York” anchor Jim Ryan was scheduled to undergo a triple bypass Friday, to be performed by Dr. Wayne Isam, the surgeon who operated on David Letterman. Mr. Ryan will be in the hospital for six days, and rotating guest anchors will be filling in for him on the morning newscast.
Diener to join WHAS June 3
After leaving KNTV, San Jose, Calif., Scott Diener will begin his new job June 3 as news director at ABC affiliate WHAS-TV, Louisville, Ky. “I’m just thrilled about having Scott on board,” said Bob Klingle, general manager at WHAS. “I’ve done my little informal historical survey, and I think he is one of the most-if not the most-experienced news directors to work in the Louisville market.
“We’ve been the No. 1 station for 25 years, we have very dominant newscasts,” Mr. Klingle said. “[Mr. Diener is] going to take us to that next level in terms of focusing us and giving an identity to each newscast.” One of Mr. Diener’s first tasks will be to fill a vacant assistant news director post.
Digging deeper at KCBS
KCBS-TV investigative reporter Joel Grover scooped the Los Angeles Times on May 1 when he landed an exclusive interview in Mexico with Father Fidencio Silva, who allegedly forced altar boys to have sex. The next day eight men-including two police officers-claiming to be victims filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Archdiocese, Father Silva and his order. Mr. Grover tracked down Father Silva, who was quietly relocated to a church in Mexico in 1995 after allegations of sexual abuse. The Los Angeles Times piece, which mentioned Mr. Grover’s report, ran two days after his story.
Mr. Grover is part of the KCBS Special Assignment investigative team, the most impactful franchise the station has. His colleague Randy Paige also did a story earlier in the month following a big Metrolink train crash that killed two and injured many others during the morning commute April 23. Mr. Paige reported on how train conductors commonly operate on very little sleep. As a result, the state introduced legislation May 16 that would put stricter regulations on passenger and freight train conductors and their work schedules. “These are two good examples of the kinds of journalism we’re trying to do. We’re trying to dig deeper and offer the viewers more than just the surface treatment of a story,” said KCBS News Director Princell Hair, who came on board in January.
KCAL officially Viacom’s
Viacom closed on its purchase of independent KCAL-TV, Los Angeles, on May 15, as expected, giving Viacom, which also owns KCBS-TV, a duopoly in the market. That same day, the market was abuzz with talk that KCAL anchor Jerry Dunphy had suffered a serious heart attack. His family released this statement the next day: “It is with great sadness that we announce tonight that our beloved father is hospitalized after suffering an acute heart attack. He is now receiving intensive care. We ask that you join us as we pray for his recovery.”#