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Jun 17, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Paula Tutman, a reporter for NBC affiliate WDIV-TV, Detroit, launched a segment on the station called “Paula’s People and Places” during the May book. Owing to positive feedback, it looks as though she will continue the segment. A 10-year veteran in the market, Ms. Tutman often gets good human interest story ideas from sources. She did a piece on the owner of a local orchid farm, a former truck driver who got an orchid plant as a gift 40 years ago and now has one of the premier greenhouses in the country, with 20,000 varieties of orchids. Ms. Tutman also did a piece on a mentally retarded child who is musically gifted and has played drums with famed jazz flutist Alexander Zonjic.
Ms. Tutman describes the pieces as “life off the beaten path-the stories that if you veer off for a moment and take a look around, you might be surprised at what you see.” She has 35 ideas waiting to become reports, and since the segment began, she has received a steady stream of tips from people on the street and via e-mail. “People love it. They say, `It’s about time we had good news.”’
In her downtime, Ms. Tutman is shopping her first novel, about the TV news business, which she says already has the interest of five major publishers. She is writing her second novel now.
KCAL’s Kincaid adds KCBS duties
Mike Kincaid, senior VP and general sales manager at KCAL-TV, Los Angeles, will add sister station KCBS-TV to his purview. Mr. Kincaid will oversee sales operations for both stations, which will continue to have separate general sales managers, both of whom will report to Mr. Kincaid. In addition, Alan Buckman, KCBS’s station manager/director of sales, has been named VP of sales for the Los Angeles Viacom duopoly. Mr. Buckman will concentrate on television cross-platform sales initiatives and programs for Viacom properties in Los Angeles. Mr. Buckman will report to Richard Sheingold, executive VP of sales for the Viacom Television Station Group.
In other news in the Viacom station group, CBS-owned WBZ-TV, Boston, expands its 10 p.m. newscast on UPN affiliate WSBK-TV to the weekends starting June 15. The half-hour newscast will be anchored by Shelli Lockhart. Her co-anchor will be named later.
WFAA fixed on Dallas traffic
On June 11, Belo-owned ABC affiliate WFAA-TV, Dallas, began airing live video from more than 125 closed-circuit cameras operated by the Texas Department of Transportation on its 5 p.m. newscast. The DOT cameras, permanently linked to WFAA from the DOT’s control center in Dallas, provide high-resolution, full-color images of traffic on the busiest roads and highways in the market. “We know from constant viewer feedback that traffic is a significant concern for commuters in our area,” said David Duitch, WFAA’s VP of news. “Since we air the images live on Channel 8, the impact is immediate.” The camera views will be part of all the station’s newscasts and will be used “whenever the need arises,” Mr. Duitch said.
Higgins heads for Phoenix duopoly
Mark Higgins, the former general manager at what will soon be Fox-owned WOFL-TV, Orlando, Fla., and WOGX-TV, Gainesville, Fla., was on a plane Sunday en route to his first day on the job at Belo’s duopoly in Phoenix. Mr. Higgins will be the general manager at WB affiliate KASW-TV and station manager of independent KTVK-TV. He will report to Skip Cass, who is general manager of KTVK and Belo’s Southwest group head. Mr. Cass oversees the Phoenix stations, the Tucson, Ariz., duopoly, the company’s California newspapers and its interactive division. Belo also has a partnership in Phoenix with Cox that includes the 24-hour AZ Newschannel as well as MAS, the 24 hour Spanish-language news channel.
“This is a good fit, and when you look at the fact that he has been a GM of a Fox, a WB, a UPN affiliate and an independent, it adds tremendous value to the type of operation we run here,” Mr. Cass said of Mr. Higgins, a native of Tucson who is from a family that was one of the city’s original five founding families.
Back in Florida, News Corp. expects this week to officially take over WOFL, WOGX and UPN affiliate WRBW-TV, Orlando, which will give Fox an Orlando duopoly.